Desire is King! A pitcher must have the desire to do well and desire to compete, internal and external. Compete twice; be ready to have courage when throwing and locating the baseball. The mental battle within needs to be maintained. When you are able to maintain the internal competition, the focus shifts to the physical battle with the hitter. The fun part is executing pitches, locating the ball where the barrel misses and controlling the tempo of a baseball game. Pitching a baseball is a special skill, each pitch is different and all pitches have a purpose in a baseball game.
During my days playing at the University of Alabama, coach Jim Wells in his “red book” explained to our teams that the outcome of a baseball game is determined on 7 pitches on each side of the ball. As a young player, when I first heard such a thing, I was lost! Coach Wells was a technician with building mental toughness within all the baseball athletes during my four year run in Tuscaloosa 96′-99′. Our team motto one year was “one pitch at a time”. Our main focus as a group was, “one pitch at a time” meaning: focus on now and pay attention to details. This approach resulted in four years of winning, and winning is fun. So learn how to focus on each pitch.
Baseball players are very superstitious and the mental game is very important. Players at every level need to understand the importance of the mental game. What might have been abnormal years ago, might be considered the proper way players approach practice and implement the mental game. Anyone who has played or has coached the game, somewhere along his journey as a player or coach has seen teammates and players work on mental practices. Baseball teams and coaches are hiring sports psychologist to provide players with coping strategies and exposing them to methods for improving consistently.