Some of you may think I am crazy when you read this, but I have a successful pitching staff because my pitchers employ "mental imaging" to rehearse situations on the mound.
Here are some tips to help your pithcers boost their confidence and improve their mental focus during the game.
What is Mental Imaging?
Mental imaging is getting a picture in your mind of what the task at hand is. Psychologically, a person will tend to be more successful if they can get a mental image of what they need to do in their head.
So what I have my pitchers do is play catch with their partners. They get the idea of how far apart they are and play catch to warm up.
Then I have them close their eyes. Before they throw, they get that picture of where they are throwing and how they are throwing. Then they throw.
More often than not their first throw is off...bad. This is more than likely due to the fact that they think they can't. Can't never did anything.
Once they get serious and think about what they are doing, they play catch better then they did with their eyes open. Most of them are surprised and gain some confidence.
Call to the Pen
When this is done we go to the pen and do the exact same thing...at full speed. Here is where we break down the motion into the four steps. The pitcher goes through this same process each pitch:
- He looks at the catcher's glove and closes his eyes.
- He gets the mental image of where he wants the pitch, what the pitch is going to do, and even as far as seeing a batter swing through it. He also sees his perfect motion delivering the perfect pitch.
- He then goes through the 4-step motion I've recounted in a previous pitching tip--counting out loud or to himself every step. (Step one is the rocker, step two is the foot in front of the rubber, step three is the post position and step four is the explosion of the hips and release of the baseball.)
He opens his eyes and sees the pitch hit the spot he saw in his head.
The confidence that results from this mental imaging is addicting and priceless. He now has the ability to gather that information in a game and use it when he has to.... with confidence.