Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Mental Game

Yogi Berra once said "90% of the game is mental, the other half is physical". Now that may not make any sense, but baseball more then any other game, you have to be mentally strong as well as physically.

I am the first to admit, I may not always be the most positive person on the mound at times. While I was in Florida during Extended Spring training I was pitching quite well and that's because I was full of confidence. In my head I knew I was going to get the batter out even before I threw a pitch, and that confidence helped me with pitch execution and ultimately get the hitters out. Lately my mind set has changed and instead of thinking about getting the hitter out, my mind has been telling me "How far is he going to hit this ball" and that negative thinking has turned what look like into a promising start to the season, into trying to figure my season out.

I spend hours and hours doing my routine and mentally preparing for my outings, visualizing what is going to happen and while I do this, it's only positive thoughts going through my head. I see myself getting hitters out having fun and enjoying myself the way baseball should be. In my last 3 starts my pre game routine hasn't gone to plan and I have allowed that to tell me that I am not going to have a good day and in the end I haven't had a good day.

My last start against the Danville Braves went for 2 2/3 innings, and I allowed 7 runs which is the worst start of my professional career. I don't normally show emotion but when I feel like I have let my team down and let myself down, I had to release some anger when I got into the clubhouse. While I was in the clubhouse gathering myself, the Elizabethton Twins GM was in there and told me something that made sense to me, "Tomorrow is another chance" and then our Strength Trainer told me to remember this feeling and make sure I don't feel like this again, to put all that frustration and energy into my workouts in the next few days. I decided then to let go of that bad outing, learn from it and move on and not let this bad outing ruin my season. I turned up to the gym the next day and had a really good workout, and following that was a good workout on the field which turned into a good week getting ready for my start tonight.

Like I have said so many times, there's always tomorrow, and those 3 words give me strength to get up the next day and work harder so I don't feel the way I did in the clubhouse that night after my outing against the Danville Braves. Being so far away from friends and family, it means a lot that I have such a strong network of people here who are willing to help.


  1. Hey Kiddo - you know the problem and you are the only one that can fix it. Well done!!!

  2. Suck it up princess.....just crying again like your Ryde games....

  3. To Anonymous .. re "suck it up...."
    This Blog is not the place for your childish comments.

  4. Excellent description about your mental game. I strongly disagree with your coach. You don't want to remember that feeling. Don't get me wrong, it's not that you want to make believe it does not exist.

    What I mean is that memories are reinforced by the intensity of emotion that you give to any situation. If there is a lot of anger around something you are actually reinforcing that memory subconsciously. There is a lot of energy around the description of the event in your post.

    On the other hand when you have a great day are your emotions as strong, do you hold onto those positive emotions for as long as you dwelled upon these negative ones?

    Choose wisely which memories you want to reinforce. By the way, many of the characteristics which make a great pitcher are teachable.