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Lighting the Fire - more consistently

Jul 16, 2013
3,124
83
Pennsylvania
DD is a pitcher. Not great, but pretty good. However, sometimes she knocks me off my bucket, if you know what I mean. We recently played against a team that we played several times throughout the summer. Always good competitive games. DD was pitching against their #1. At one point their #1 came up to bat and I saw a look in DD's eyes. One of complete focus and confidence. I have seen it before, but only rarely. The at-bat ended in a strike out. Unfortunately, this focus seems to come and go. I wish I knew how to bring it out more often. Any advice?
 
Dec 7, 2011
2,368
38
FIRST and foremost - they are young girls - they WILL have ups and downs.

Stay away from judging any given game or even weekend.

Look at the month-long trends of where she is going.

Build her self confidence but don't sugar coat either. I swear by the philosophy of "framing" the constructive advice you can give with acknowledgements of what they do good and moments they did those things well.

Then in the end it gets heavily affected by the "nature" side of the nature/nuture argument. Some people are just not competitive by nature.
 
Jun 21, 2012
74
0
This is a multi-pronged process.

First, you need data. Compile a five games worth of stats. These are the ones to focus on. Average number of walks in a game, Average number of first pitch strikes( remember, fouls balls and hits count as first pitch strikes ), Average number of Balls thrown, Average number of pitches per Inning. These are all control points your pitcher can focus on.

Now, before each game, have her set a goal to make any of the above categories better. Only one per game. It is important that she only focus on one per game.

Throughout the game, remind her of her goal. In an inning, say "Work toward your goal." Also, work hard on her demeanor in the circle. Remind her that batters gain strength from seeing a pitcher who is not intense. She needs to take the fight out of the batter by going at her hard and intense. I always tell my players, "Everything we do on the field is on purpose! You throw the ball in the dirt, you better look like you did that on purpose!"

Lastly, remind the pitcher that she is in the circle (per inning) for as long as she wants. This means, the harder she comes at the batters, the quicker she can hit again. If she just goes through the motions, she will be on the field longer than needed.

Hope these ideas help. Pitchers are a rare breed that sometimes need to be coddled, and other times, need a stern matter-of-fact approach. Read her demeanor and choose the best course.
 

sportpsych_consultant

performance consultant
Dec 19, 2015
5
0
Orange County, CA
I love this topic because in my practice so many people forget the word "consistency". They think I only have to preform really well for this one time, this one moment. But no! consistency is what makes a good performer a great one. That moment you described is what many people in sport psychology would call being in the "zone". So many athletes feel that once and are chasing it and they do not know how to get it again. There are a lot of technical things I do with my athletes to create consistency but I think that you should talk to her about that moment and get the thoughts and ideas she experienced in that moment and find a way to get her to remind herself of it when she is up to pitch.
 

4 girl's dad

Finding my way
Apr 5, 2013
1,852
48
In the stands...
I love this topic because in my practice so many people forget the word "consistency". They think I only have to preform really well for this one time, this one moment. But no! consistency is what makes a good performer a great one. That moment you described is what many people in sport psychology would call being in the "zone". So many athletes feel that once and are chasing it and they do not know how to get it again. There are a lot of technical things I do with my athletes to create consistency but I think that you should talk to her about that moment and get the thoughts and ideas she experienced in that moment and find a way to get her to remind herself of it when she is up to pitch.
I def agree with this post. When I was a drag racer in a past lifetime, it was all about consistantcy. The car had to be perfect, but, so did the driver. Reaction times were measured by .0001 of a second and the goal was to be consistent to the .010 of a second. It was all about being "in the zone". But it was for only a min or two at a time. Trying to stay in the zone for a complete game is part of the challenge.
 
Jan 7, 2016
2
0
What you have right now is we used to call a "gamer" on your hands. They thrive on direct competition. She felt a competition with that particular player. What we have found out that is unlike the theories the old days is players can change. They don't have to stay that way. The key is to get her to see that competitiveness doesn't always have to be with an opponent but with mastery. Mastering your skill then using it to dominate your opponent. Have a catch phrase with her to help remind her to stay competitive. There are tons of them that she can use. Matter of fact use it with just her. She will feel like it is hers and own it. Girls love that type of individual attention and tend to thrive on it. A good catch phrase might be "Stay in the Moment." Also be careful with praise. Praise technique and mastery of skill, not results. Use ways to measure her on her technique and skill. Stay away from results praising. I know it is hard but it works. When we praise results we are walking into a mine field. If you are successful and not doing something correctly then it will confuse the athlete plus give them a false sense of what will make them be at their best. If they win and play bad don't praise it. If they lose and do it well praise it. "I liked the location of your snap today." "Your follow thru was right on." Get them to focus on what is going to get them to their highest level of ability. It can be tough when you don't win because of pressure that outside influences will put on us but it will pay off in the long run.
 
Apr 1, 2016
10
1
I love that look!! My daughter pitches and is pretty good ball player overall. I get excited when I see that blank look and her holding her mouth funny!! When her and the our catcher both get in that zone it's fun to watch!
 
Jul 16, 2013
3,124
83
Pennsylvania
What you have right now is we used to call a "gamer" on your hands. They thrive on direct competition. She felt a competition with that particular player. What we have found out that is unlike the theories the old days is players can change. They don't have to stay that way. The key is to get her to see that competitiveness doesn't always have to be with an opponent but with mastery. Mastering your skill then using it to dominate your opponent. Have a catch phrase with her to help remind her to stay competitive. There are tons of them that she can use. Matter of fact use it with just her. She will feel like it is hers and own it. Girls love that type of individual attention and tend to thrive on it. A good catch phrase might be "Stay in the Moment." Also be careful with praise. Praise technique and mastery of skill, not results. Use ways to measure her on her technique and skill. Stay away from results praising. I know it is hard but it works. When we praise results we are walking into a mine field. If you are successful and not doing something correctly then it will confuse the athlete plus give them a false sense of what will make them be at their best. If they win and play bad don't praise it. If they lose and do it well praise it. "I liked the location of your snap today." "Your follow thru was right on." Get them to focus on what is going to get them to their highest level of ability. It can be tough when you don't win because of pressure that outside influences will put on us but it will pay off in the long run.
Wow! I forgot I even started this one over 4 years ago. Anyway, thank you to the people that offered replies. At the time of this post, DD was 13 years old (close to her 14th birthday) and wasn't yet in high school. Now she is 18 and a senior in high school. I isolated a phrase in the above post because this is something she actually developed on her own. Her high school career has been filled with drama, injuries, bullying, and other negative experiences. During her sophomore year, she wrote a single word on a piece of paper and has carried it with her in every game since. That word is "overcome". It has been a motivator for her to work through and beyond all of the negativity and to do what she can to help the team and be successful. Entering her senior year, I offered to buy her a custom glove (fantasy football winnings in action...). She had "overcome" embroidered on the inside of the glove. I am very proud of the woman DD is becoming, and something as simple as this has played a part in that.
 

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