Control Your Mind
Portland Pitching Newsletter - 6/15/2013
For my birthday last Saturday, I was lucky enough to be gifted a ticket to the Mariners vs. Yankees game in Seattle. Northwest born and raised, it’s odd that I would want the Yankees to be leading going into the ninth, but with Mariano Rivera on the other side and it being his last go around this season, I was hoping for a chance to see him pitch. One of the things that has made Rivera the best closer of all time is the ice in his veins; his ability to remain calm and focused even under the most intense, pressure situations. Getting to see him pitch in person for the first (and probably last) time, got me thinking about what makes him great.
A common theme that impresses me about Major League players in general, is their ability to focus on the next pitch. Dwelling on a mistake, whether it be an error, a poorly executed pitch, or whatever, can do nothing to help change that outcome. All you can control is your mental approach to the next opportunity you will be given.
I remember throughout my career being the fiery, competitive guy: one who got frustrated when things did not go my way. No one would ever doubt my desire to win but, looking back, being more “in control” and slowing the game down could have helped me. Intensity is great, but no one questions Mariano’s intensity or desire to win despite his calm demeanor. That is something we can learn from as players. Quiet confidence and extreme focus on the outcomes we can control are two invaluable traits I believe most successful players have.
Next time you watch a game, pay attention to the demeanors of the players on the field. Outside of the occasional questioning of the umpire, most players maintain stoicism when things are not going their way. They have learned how to handle their emotions and channel their thinking to be positive. Mariano Rivera is a great example of someone who has figured out how to not let pressure or failure affect him, and he has had immense success because of it.
Keep your concentration on the task at hand and forget about what happened the pitch or play before (whether in practice or a game). It’s over. The only thing you can do now is focus on the execution of whatever comes next. Your mind is a great asset, do your best to train it to work for you, not against you!
The Ultimate in Pitcher Development
The Portland Pitching Bullpen gives you access to exclusive information, discounts, and much more. Join for FREE today.