As you step to the mound, only three strikes separate your team from a win. The tying run is leading off on second and the opposing team’s top batter is coming to the plate. The bright lights, the humid weather, all the eyes watching you — it is a tense scenario for even the most grizzled pitchers.
But it shouldn’t be a situation you can’t play through. The mental side of baseball can be almost as challenging as the physical. By having confidence in yourself, you have taken the first step in finding a win.
No matter what batter steps up, you should feel as if it is your plate. You need to believe you can put the ball wherever you want and the opposing batter won’t hit it. Some pitchers like to use mental imagery to build their confidence. Imaging a successful outcome before your pitch can lead to positive results. Others like to use positive self-talk when on the mound. Whether it’s inner dialogue or actually verbal, how you talk to yourself can make a difference.
A pre-pitch routine helps prepare some players’ focus. For some it might be a deep breath, others focus on a single positive thought – it all comes down to what can keep you upbeat and relaxed. And don’t let one bad play stay with you. if you are focused on the bad, there is a higher chance it could happen again.
So when you need to find those final three strikes, don’t sweat it. Stay positive and give the batter your best.