When you get in a game, are you afraid you're going to hit someone?
Your problem is subconscious. The Mind is made up of two parts. The Conscious Mind and the Subconscious Mind. The Conscious Mind allows us to experience awareness while the Subconscious Mind stores every experience we have ever had.
When you engage in an activity like pitching, your Consciousl Mind sends instructions to your Subconscious Mind, "Send me all the information you have stored relating to pitching." The information you access will dictate how well or how poorly you will perform on the mound. Sounds like you have stored what we call "synthesizing events" relating to everytime you hit a batter.
Everytime you access these synthesizing events when you are on the mound it creates stress in your body. When stress is present in the body it causes one or both hemispheres of your brain to weaken or switch off. And, that is what's causing you to lose control and command of your pitches.
There are several ways you can attack this problem:
1. The only way to achieve peak performance on the mound is to remain relaxed during the execution of your pitching motion. Before you throw your pitch, state your goal for the pitch (low and inside for a strike; etc.) then mentally say the word relax; then execute your pitch. Continually remind yourself to relax while on the mound. When you are relaxed, both hemispheres of your brain function at maximum capacity, and the brain controls all physical movement in the body.
2. When you are pitching on the side, imagine there is a batter standing at the plate when you throw your pitches. If you can execute your pitches using your imagination, chances are you will execute your pitches in a real game situation. Remember to remind yourself to remain relaxed even during practice.
3. The night before your game sit down and write out your goal for your start the next day: i.e., My goal is to win the game tomorrow with no walks; 8 strikouts; pitch a complete game; with an ERA of 2 or less; Etc..
There is also an excellent program created specifically for the mental side of pitching called Mind Mastery For Pitching which is available at amazon.com. It contains a DVD and a CD. There is also a book coming out called Mastering The Mental Side Of Pitching.
Ernest Solivan is author of "Mastering The Mental Side Of Pitching," a book in which pitchers learn how to achieve peak performance using Hemispheric Kinesiology. Click here for more info.
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