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Attitude is Everything!

Pitching is a combination of attitude, confidence and presence with a little bit of talent.

Does your pitcher run to the mound with her head held high or does she carry herself looking doubtful? The mental aspect plays a huge role in pitching and in success. If a pitcher walks to the mound timid and unsure of herself, her teammates will sense that fear and uncertainty, and as for your opponents, there is nothing more exciting than seeing a pitcher intimidated versus intimidating.

Attitude is a feature that your pitcher must possess. An attitude can be good or bad. On the mound, you have to have an attitude of, "I'll Shove This Ball Down Your Throat!"
Yet, an attitude that is likable by your teammates and coaches. An attitude that gets the job done but remains classy and respectable. Remember your attitude is contagious. Is it worth catching by your teammates or younger kids who look up to you as a role model?

Confidence is another important quality a great pitcher must have. As a coach do you want to hand the ball to a player who says, "I think I can" or "Iíll try." Or do you want to hand the ball to your player and hear, "Yes, coach, I can" or "Yes I will do my best." Of course, you want your pitcher to be the, "I know I can" type of athlete ready to bulldoze any obstacle in her way. You want her to relay that message visibly so the entire team can feed off of that confidence. You want the other team to feel beaten before they set foot in the box.

If you step on the field with lack of confidence, it spreads like a wildfire. "I think I can" turns into "I hope I can," which turns Into "I hope they donít hit this," "I hope I can hit my spots." Before you know it, your pitcher has lost speed and accuracy and then the game.

Confidence can make or break a pitcher. As a coach, you have to pump up your pitcher, keep her confident in some aspect of her game. For example, if her drop ball is flat, you can always work on a hard fast ball at the knees. Pitchers must always work and practice ways to better themselves. The minute a pitcher is satisfied or comfortable with her performance is the moment when your opponent is training and excelling.

A good catcher can help build confidence in a pitcher by taking charge and controlling the zone. With that added confidence a great catcher can take a mediocre pitcher to another level. Even though there is a fine line between confidence and conceited, these two should never be compared.

Presence is a combination of heart, desire and intensity. As a player, is your presence felt by your teammates? Are you the one that your coaches and teammates would want on the mound with bases loaded, no outs, bottom of seventh? When you step foot on the field, is it known that you will give 100 percent of every pitch, every batter and every inning, leaving the field physically and mentally exhausted? When you lose a game, do you leave the field with an awful taste in your mouth? When your team wins a game, do you feel like your mission has been accomplished?

The mental game is as important to practice as the physical game. You must have the proper balance and combination to be successful. Being able to maintain self control and composure on the mound is so critical. A pitcher who shows all emotions will appear to be easy to rattle. You must learn to act the same whether someone hits a home run or a base hit. You must be able to find your mistake, adjust and put it behind you. If you keep that anger inside usually it leads to throwing harder and losing accuracy. When you remain tense and mad your body tightens up and you lose control.

How much of pitching is mental verses physical? As you can see, I believe the mental game is just as important, if not more important, than the physical game. We use situations in our pitching practice to work on all of these aspects. Here are some examples on how to improve the mental game in your workouts.

1.Visualization

You need to see each pitch before it is thrown. You may have to start out one step at a time, but eventually you need to see the whole pitching motion and the ball going through the glove with the batter swinging and missing. Sometimes if you do not finish the visualization, the ball never reaches its destination.

2. Breathing

Taking a breath before you throw the next pitch helps to erase the past and relax the shoulders.

3. Focal points

Having a fixed point on or off the field that you can go to to release tension and negative feelings. It is a point that you can look to that will maintain consistency throughout the game.

4. Routine

Routine is a pattern that you do subconsciously, something that is comfortable and natural and not forced. It helps to maintain your pace your breathing and your composure.

5. Situations

A coach will act as an umpire and make bad calls trying to rattle the pitcher. By doing this they will already have practiced the unexpected or expected bad calls. This helps them to let go of things that are not in their control. Give the pitcher a ball that has poor seams or is not their chosen ball and demand they succeed. Remember, you will perform how you practice. Always give your best whether you have 70 percent or 100 percent to give. Never Be Satisfied!
DREAM IT! BELIEVE IT! ACHIEVE IT!