Pitching Consistency

By Steven Ellis former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

Do you prefer to pitch during the day or at night? It's different for everybody, but most pitchers prefer one or the other.

The reason? Your circadian rhythm. And everybody's got one. Think of it like your body's own biological clock. It tells you when you're tired, hungry, most attentive, etc. It's also the reason some pitchers pitch better during night games while others feel lethargic — or vice-versa.

That's because the body develops a rhythm based on the activities you perform on a consistent daily basis, so that it knows when to wake up in the morning, when to eat meals, when to perform and when to sleep. During the baseball season, for example, your circadian rhythm "records" when extra energy is needed for practices and games — and then makes adjustments throughout other times of the day so that your body can provide maximal energy for those performances where energy is needed most.

The more consistent you can stay on the same daily schedule, the more consistent your performances will be on the pitcher's mound. So it's best to practice at the same time of the day that you play your games.

One gripe that is common amongst many Chicago Cubs Major League pitchers that I'm friends with is that the Cubs' mostly-DAY-game Home schedule and mostly-NIGHT-game Away schedule makes it extremely difficult to stay sharp -- especially when the body is kept guessing from inconsistencies in scheduling. It's also a reason you may feel lethargic when asked to pitch the first game of a weekend double-header beginning at 10 a.m., especially if your other games throughout the week are night games.

Science (and personal experience) has shown that bodies perform best when they're able to stay on the same set schedule daily. And for this reason, superstitions in baseball are born. Some superstitions can actually help baseball players greatly. That's because superstitions are often nothing more than something that enables a player to do the SAME thing, at the SAME time, in the SAME way leading up to a performance. It affects your circadian rhythm. This repetition breeds consistency... and this consistency breeds success.


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