How to Take Charge of Starting Pitching Jitters
- Pitchers are the Alpha Ballplayer: Confident, Controlling, Strong
The starting pitcher of a team is essential the man in control and responsible for controlling the pace and evolution of how the defensive game of the inning will turn out. Some pitchers are power pitchers and some are contact hitters. The difference between a power pitcher and finesse pitcher is essentially strategy of execution of pitches. A finesse pitcher is more likely to be a more medium velocity pitcher which whose goal is to get more outs from ground balls or fly outs. A power pitcher is more than likely gonna be a pitcher who has more advantages in his game, this pitcher will be taller and have a higher velocity and will try and blow more fastballs past hitters with a goal of more strikeouts than contact outs. The key to pitching though with either strategy is to get 3 outs as quickly as possible so that the game progresses and your offense can score more runs and win the game. The best strategy is to be a finesse pitcher with control and the ability to blow a fastball or change up by a hitter just at the right time to get a swinging strike or ground ball which will be turned into an out. Be mentally strong, physically able and confident when your on the mound and never give in.
- Preparation Makes Perfection
The best way to go about a starting pitching situation is with a game plan. This game plan can be something as simple as letting the catcher call pitches and control the game, or by the pitcher calling his own pitches based on how he’s feeling that day. If at all possible a smart pitcher will do his homework on his opponent and find out all he can about who he is facing and their potential weaknesses. If for instance you are set to play a neighboring school, plan ahead to attend one of the other teams games and see what kind of line up they have and if they are likely to wait on more pitches or go for the first pitch in each at bat. Be prepared to adjust to your opponent with a back up plan as well just in case your initial plan at first fails. You never know when your going to have a bad day with your curveball but if your change up happens to be working that day that could become your new out pitch for the day. Whatever happens be confident and give it your best. You have your team behind you as your ultimate supporter. Don’t let yourself down first, and remember that they will pick you up no matter what.
- Mental Relaxation for Mound Meditation
Most likely as a pitcher you should have a controlled mind set, game plan for success, and action plan for getting effective outs. The more relaxed and loose you are as a pitcher the higher likelihood that you will be relaxed and have a clear mind for challenges throughout the game such as multiple baserunners and different bunt or hit and run situations. Take deep breaths before pitches and remember your defense is there to back you up if the hitter makes contact and that every pitch can set up the next possible pitch for better success.
- The Fighter Within: Conditioned Body=Prepared Mind
A goal for each pitcher should be to stay in the game as long as possible to execute the goal at hand. In the role of a starting pitcher the goal should be at minimum to pitch 15 outs and go out with your team in the lead, hence, qualifying for a quality start and win. The more prepared a starting pitcher is physically through conditioning the higher the percentage of success he has for lasting longer into a game than just 5 innings. Pitching is a very aggressive fluid movement that takes a toll on many muscle groups over and over each pitch. The best way to condition the body to pitch is through a consistent throwing program along with a combination of a good cardiovascular regimen, stretching routine and strength workouts. When a pitcher is physically conditioned and best prepared for the mound he is likely to be a more confident, prepared and relaxed pitcher. The fun of the game is success and being in control of as many situations as possible. Prepare your body and mind to work with you in completing your mound domination as a starting pitcher.
How to Finally WIN!!!
- Winning is just that. Scoring one more run than the other team. It shouldn’t be that difficult.
- Create positive habits where success is more likely
- Practice doing what winners do
- Keep a positive mindset to always get better
- Never settle after a win
- Set individual game goals
More so winning isn’t everything, but it is something. Winning athletic competitions is in our spirit as humans. The strive to succeed is ingrained in all of us, so I felt a guide to winning could be a good start for someone that hasn’t achieved success lately. I like to look at winning as a reward for all the practice and preparation done with the goal of becoming a better baseball player. The above strategies are key assets to making winning more of a likelihood than a challenge. Write these down on a note pad and put them in your baseball bag and remind yourself often that winning is just a result of preparation, practice and hard work. Only those who do the work to win and practice the right way will be the most successful at their position and most valuable player to their team. If you aren’t a winner as a team, you can almost certainly know that you tried your best and have succeeded personally even if as a team it was a losing effort. One last reminder is that as you progress to different teams, some may win and some may lose but to win more often you as an athlete must improve and meet and exceed personal goals. By excelling in personal accomplishments you’ll be attracting yourself to winners and other team’s will look to recruit you to join them and their winning team.
“When we lost I couldn’t sleep at night. When we win I can’t sleep at night. But when you win, you wake up feeling better” -Joe Torre (Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees Manager 1977 – 1984, 1990 to Present)
To make the most of each in game at bat you must be prepared first. As you prepare to step into the batters box watch the pitcher and imagine that he is delivery and pitching to you. Your repetitions and all your preparation have prepared you for your swing in the box. Think positive that the pitcher is going to give you the perfect pitch designed to give you the most optimal contact point. Essentially by thinking that the pitcher is throwing you home run derby pitches rather than trying to strike you out will enable you to control what you do with each pitch in the at bat. Think as if you are in control of what you do with each pitch and it is up to you whether or not to swing. The worst that can happen is failure and you get another opportunity the very next pitch.
Slow the game down, take a deep breath and step into the batters box.
Focus on the pitcher’s throwing should and imagine it being a pitching machine ready to deliver you the perfect most hittable pitch.
As the pitcher goes into his motion. RELAX. Relax and keep your body loose and ready to rotate as a more relaxed body will all for faster speed of swing.
Minimize movement and rotate your hips and back knee toward the pitcher and focus on extending your hands to not only meet the ball but explode through the ball trying to saw the baseball in half with your bat at contact.
As you explode through the bat on contact finish your swing as balanced as possible and keeping your front hip in as you rotate through the pitch extending your hands.
Wherever the ball is hit at contact is irrelevant. You did what you can do and now its time to sprint as hard as you can to first base at maximal effort to avoid getting out.
Success….you slowed the game down. Controlled the situation and maximized the at bat. Learn from the Experience and dominate the next at bat.