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Pitching Through Adversity… Can You do it?
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Darrell Coulter
Bonne Terre, Mo

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March 31, 2012 – 1:12 pm
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I have getting a ton a questions lately about the mental ability to pitch through adversity.

3 Quick Tips.

  1. Throw every pitch with a purpose.  Having a pitching plan will help you stay focused when things are falling apart around you.
  2. Develop a Pre Pitch Routine.  A soon as you step on the pitching rubber have a routine or mental checklist you go through to prepare yourself to throw the pitch.  With my pitchers I use the acrostic Game FACE  Focused. Aggressive. Committed. Execute.
  3. Post Pitch Reaction.  Be ready to make a play, whether it is to cover 1st, field a bunt or back up a base.  Don’t make things worse on yourself as you are battling through a rough inning.

The ability to battle through rough outings and keep your team in the game might be the greatest strength a pitcher can develop.  

Coaches love the pitcher who never gives in or gives up.

Be a Warrior, NOT a Whiner

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
Mandeville, LA.
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March 31, 2012 – 1:35 pm
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Good stuff Darrell!

I would love to see you post up some inner dialog that would help a pitcher stay focused during a game. Also some inner dialog that would help a pitcher battle his own lack of confidence on the mound.

We know how difficult it is for a pitcher to succeed when his own inner dialog is beating him.

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Brandon

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March 31, 2012 – 3:27 pm
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Brent and Darrell,

Brian Cain wrote a book on the mental game of baseball called toilets, bricks, fish hooks, and pride. My team read the book during the fall and met a few hours each week to discuss the book. I think it has been very beneficial to my team and a big part of our success so far this year. It talks a lot about confidence, adversity, routines, the process and how to deal with failure. The book is an easy read but has some very good information in it. It is definitely worth checking out for anyone struggling with the mental game.

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Darrell Coulter
Bonne Terre, Mo

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March 31, 2012 – 10:45 pm
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Brandon,

That’s awesome.  The fact that your team is that focused on the mental side of pitching is huge.

A lot of what I try to work on is very specific to each pitchers strengths and weaknesses.  Acknowledging fear and doubts and then creating a series of physical and mental routines that address each aspect of what it truly takes to be a mentally strong pitcher.  

It starts with each pitcher’s personal desire to want to truly be great with the Talent that they have been blessed with.

Then add Work Ethic, Intangibles such as Poise, Composure, Mental Toughness.

You put them all together and it helps you to start to understand what kind of preparation and dedication it really takes to be an elite pitcher.

I haven’t personally studied much of Brian’s stuff but I have heard some good things about him.

What have you been doing that seems to be helping your team?

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Brandon

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March 31, 2012 – 11:47 pm
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Our team talks a lot about response, staying positive, and having an attack mentality on the mound. Having an attack mentality on the mound is big for us because we want to pitch to contact and minimize walks. We want to win the freebie war as we call it, which is minimizing walks, hbp, wld pitches, passed balls, stolen bases, errors, and balks and take advantage of all that on offense. Pounding the strike zone and pitching ahead is a big part of that as a pitcher so we are always attacking. We always want to be thinking positive on the mound. We talk a lot about the difference between telling yourself “throw strikes” and ” don’t walk this guy”. Throwing strikes is positive, thinking about walks is negative. It is very difficult to pitch with fear and have any chance to be successful. Resonse is how you handle failure on the field. Do you carry a bad at bat into the field or to the next at bat, or do you learn from it and make an adjustment?

– whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.

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Brandon

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March 31, 2012 – 11:50 pm
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We also spent a lot of time talking about the importance of breathing, and a good routine vs. A bad routine. In pressure situations, so many guys tighten up and forget to breathe. Their breathing gets very erratic making it more difficult to perform.

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Zedoryu
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April 1, 2012 – 1:12 am
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I haven’t been spending alot of time on the mental game, but I was wondering, minimizing walks, hbp, wld pitches, passed balls, stolen bases, errors, and balks and take advantage of all that on offense, all of that are good things, but like you said, In pressure situations, so many guys tighten up and forget to breathe. It’s the same with thinking about “winning the freebie war.” In pressure situations, people will forget to keep positive thoughts, and when you turn “the freebie war” into the negative, it’s you will get walks, you will get wild pitches, you will get bases stolen, etc. Also, I like to call this hoping. I’ve heard this saying from coach Alex Maroko where “you can’t pray during a game.” When people think about “winning the freebie war” they are “hoping” to get all these things. You’ve gotta know that you will inevitably strike the batter out or whatever. Why people dislike the idea of thinking about striking the batter out is because you probably won’t be able to, and when you don’t, especially if they get a hit, it does a great amount of damage. I like to not think about the outcome, but what I can do that leads to it. I like thinking big. Sometimes we have big dreams like going to play major league baseball, hitting your top velocity, or whatever it is, but how many times do you look at the process to get you there? The process is what is important, because that is what “you” can control. The outcome comes by the actions that a person has taken. So, as a pitcher, I look at what I can do at the certain situation to help the outcome. I only think about throwing with correct mechanics. It doesn’t matter what happens after that because you can’t control whether your pitch is a wild pitch, a strike, or a ball. Darrell explains this very clearly.

  • Throw every pitch with a purpose.  Having a pitching plan will help you stay focused when things are falling apart around you.
  • Develop a Pre Pitch Routine.  A soon as you step on the pitching rubber have a routine or mental checklist you go through to prepare yourself to throw the pitch.  With my pitchers I use the acrostic Game FACE  Focused. Aggressive. Committed. Execute.

If you have a pitching plan e.g. what i’m going to throw and where, such as fastball, high inside, You’re preparing yourself to throw that pitch. I also like the pre pitch routine. If you develop a short and concise routine that you can do everytime, pitch after pitch, you’re going to be dominating. The reason why people forget to take a breathe is because they are not doing it after every pitch, they only do it when they are under pressure. So because the pressure overtakes your minds thoughts, you won’t have any time to think, and you will forget to breathe.

Anyway sorry about my rant, and by the way, i’m not saying that they’re bad, in fact it’s a good thing that they’re thinking about the mental game, but you’ve gotta take things to a whole new level which people haven’t grasped to give you that extra edge.

       

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Darrell Coulter
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April 1, 2012 – 9:31 am
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Brandon,

That’s good stuff.  You guys are building a strong foundation for becoming mentally tough.  

Breathing is something few focus on, but many pitchers literally choke on the mound, they quit breathing right.  That is something that I also impress on young pitchers controlled breathing as part of their pre pitch routine. 

Keep it up.

Z,

I hear ya.  

But at the same time the Art of becoming a dominating pitcher is being able integrate all facets of pitching into a 10 to 15 second sequence that takes you from thinking about what pitch to throw to then executing that pitch.

That is why I love pitching.  It takes every aspect of being a great athlete and brings it into play.

Mentally, Physically and Emotionally.

While on the mound you don’t have time for any of these 3 aspects to break down.

Learning how to cope (Respond or React) to being the center of attention on every pitch good or bad plays an important role in how successful you will be as a pitcher. and most of that is Between the Ears

Love the conversation.

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