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overcoming nerves

May 17, 2008
Hello everyone,
I have pitched a couple of softball games and I have noticed that during the first inning, I am very nervous, which effects my pitching. When I pitch the second inning, I have settled down and pitch a good inning. My question is, what do you do with nerves in the first inning? Thanks
May 7, 2008
May I recommend books by the best sports psychologist in the business...Dr. Bob Rotella. He writes specifically about golf, but NO game in the world requires the ability to overcome nerves quickly. The book "The 15th Club" is excellent.

May 7, 2008

I don't know your age, but self assurance comes with maturity. You may also want to examine your warm up routine. Marc recently posted something about clearing your head in between pitches as a batter. You may want to check that out as well. Big 'Ol Daddy has me interested in this book, "The 15th Club."

Keep smiling,

May 9, 2008

Hi Lori,

All good competitors get nervous before a competition. Your heart beats faster, your adrenaline flows, you get excited by your thoughts of facing a challenging opponent. When this happens the best thing to do is to breath deeply and get more oxygen into your system. It lessens the effects of adrenaline. Having a pregame routine helps as well. Preparing the same way every game gives you confidence and confidence helps you perform at your peak level.

You might want to visit the website WinningSTATE-Confidence Books they have materials there that will help you mentally and physically prepare for the challenge of competition. You'll be able to think and act in such a way as to overcome your jitters and any feelings of anxiety that may inhibit your athletic performance.

You may also want to check out a book by H.A. Dorfman called the "Mental ABC's of Pitching" he works with professional pitchers and has some great insights that will help you.

Good Luck,

Jun 10, 2008
Music is also a good way to control nerves or anxiety. Think of a song that when you hear calms you down even when you are not so nervous or anxious. Then when you start to feel yourself moving in that direction play that song in your head, hum a few bars, or even lip sync a little to it if you have to. Music is very powerful in setting moods and this exercise can be done at any time. Either during pre-game, warm-up, during the inning you are feeling it, later in the game when you get in a jam, etc. It is quick and is something you can do between pitches, while you and the batter are getting signs.
May 7, 2008
I know a coach of another sport who encourages his team to journal their pregame thoughts to review after the game and watch for patterns, opponent specifics, etc.

Yoda's idea of the music is a great idea, even if you sung in quietly while on the mound. We tried something like it during backyard practice with my dd, but she found that it could throw the rhythm of the pitch off. I don't know if she ever tried it after that. Still a great idea that might work for some.

Jun 17, 2008
Fond du Lac, WI
Well kiddo as a pitcher I know there is no real cure for nerves. It just happens. The more games you pitch in the more you will learn to control your feelings. You just have to keep working on ways that help you prepare. Visualization is a great way to help. Before the game visualize the first inning, the ball leaving your fingers, hitting the catchers glove and the return throw. It sounds corny but it really helped me when I got into a mental state as I called them. Keep a positive attitude and that will help too.


May 7, 2008
It's the batters

When you warm up before the game with your catcher, what is so very different between that and pitching in the game????

You have a batter in the box during the game and you don't while warming up.

After you loosen up and stretch, have an assistant coach or a volunteer parent stand in where the batters box would be. Bat in hand but no swinging . Have them move around and be a little distracting (to get you a little better focused).

Get THAT part of the first inning jitters out of the way before the game starts.

Once you get in the game, stare at your catcher's mask and NEVER make eye contact with the batter. They want and NEED you to do that for their own confidence. Don't do it, don't give them that psychological edge. Don't make eye contact and let them think they are not even worth looking at in your opinion. It really messes with their heads.

You are the pitcher and you are in control of everything. have some fun with the batters.
Jun 20, 2008
Lori, IMO if you give 100% in all of your practices, and push yourself there, you will soon learn to relax and trust what you practice, game time is time to relax and have fun, you get to show out and show everyone how hard you work...Remember "I bust mine in practice so I can kick yours at game time!"
May 7, 2008
Morris County, NJ
DD goes thru the same set of nerves.....her pitching coach has told her over and over that being nervous is good, because you care about the outcome.

We focus on one batter at a time, throwing 3 strikes to each hitter and getting one out at at time...don't get ahead of yourself..this seems to work so far in both Rec and travel play.

Good Luck.

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