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The Mental Toughness...

May 7, 2008
Hey ya'll...

I would love to hear some discussion on mental toughness and peak performance. It's referred to a lot on the Web, but I have never come across any applications or practical tips to aid in the pressure on a pitcher.

My daughter is tough to begin with, but if the momentum changes (errors on the field, back to back walks, if the catcher is allowing pass balls or dropping them), she can be hard on herself despite our supportive looks or words.

I have been searching for resources to help her in this area. We can say all the right things, but it doesn't help. I believe it is the crowd's expectation of her and her expectation of herself. It seems once the spiral begins she loses that confidence. I would appreciate as much feedback as I can get...

May 9, 2008
Hey Ang,
From my experience, when a pitcher starts to get upset or frusturated I go out to the mound give her a little pep talk/ confidence boost, maybe switch up the infield, but it's ulitimatly her decision how she will react to the circumstances of the game. She has to choose her attitude, not the coach, not the other players, and not the parents. So stay positive and when she is down try to pick her up and remind her it's a game and to relax and throw the ball. Have her communicating with the infield and catcher to boost eachothers confidence.
May 9, 2008
I would recommend going to www.winningstate.com it's a website put together by a champion power lifter. He has sports specific confidence routines including softball available in book or recorded form that will give players the mental edge they need for optimum game performance. Also I'd visit your local library/book store/online and see if they have a copy of any of sports psychologist H.A. Dorfman's books "The Mental Game of Baseball", The Mental ABC's of Pitching, The Mental Keys to Hitting, and "Coaching the Mental Game".

May 9, 2008
Hartford, CT
mental toughness

I have one kid who doesn't get frustrated.
Coaches have commented that she's the kid they would want in a tie game bases loaded game.
She works on getting better but doesn't beat herself up

I have one who is fine on the mound, but when she is done she is very hard on herself...gets frustrated when we practice .....
she's only 9 and just started...pitched two innings this season and only walked one each inning....
She just has really high expectations.

It does come down to them after we encourage as best we can.
a pitcher is definitely one of those kids/positions who needs a specific attitude
some of it will come with maturity....some will overcome frustration by getting better so they don't have to deal with that feeling......

We are finding that looking up stats of really goood players helps....most batters don't get to base more than 3-4 times in 10 .... that's a really good batter ....
May 7, 2008
I have a different idea about the mental aspect of a sport. People get upset, worried and has no idea to calm down and relax. Think about what causes that. Things arent going well. When you are doing well, you have no problem. To me, it goes back to the mechanics of whatever you are doing. Most softball pitchers don't really concentrate on the wrist action of what they are doing. When this happens, you start having problems, and with that, comes stress. It's good to tell the pitcher to relax, but usually that doesn't solve the problem. This happened in the final 16 and under ASA National Championship game. The pitcher had pitched most of the games and got into trouble in some of the games, but worked her way out.
She was intervied by the paper after the championship game. The reporter said to her- You got into trouble in a few games, but you worked your way out, how did you manage that? Her answer was, when I got into trouble, I just thought, what would Ernie tell me to do here?
You will have much less stress if your mechanics are good. The pitchers are also going to have to accect the fact that they will not be their mest at every game. No one ever has been.
A favorite thing to tell my pitchers is, when a dame is over, stop and think, is there anything I could have done better in the game? If the answer is, I did the very best I could have done, then you have nothing to feel bad about. If the answer is, I guess I could have done something different or better, then you have to work harder at your nex practice.


May 7, 2008
I really appreciate the feedback and welcome more.

My son works through the adversity better. Robin has been hit with hard line drives three times. Twice it knocked her game face off. The third time, it hit her in the thigh by a strong hitter using a composite bat. It was the only time in six years I went onto the field. I made eye contact with her, told her to breathe in through her nose and out of her mouth. All the coaches were huddled around her. She pushed everyone aside and filled with moxie asked, "Where's the ball?!" She finished out the game with a win. The next night she came in from the yard and asked my husband go outside and throw balls at her. He helped her with a drill (maybe from Ernie) of throwing a ball at her shortly after her release.

Ernie's input of regrouping (especially the release) will help since she watches his videos. She is a natural born leader, and we encourage her by saying she can't take responsibility for the errors of others, but she may be able to influence the momentum with a winning attitude.

I appreciate ya'll...



Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
My daughter had a loss of confidence because she messed up a play in a big game. We had a friend who was a relief pitcher in "the Show" and has a large WS championship ring to prove it.

He told her, "I've been where you are, except I messed up in front of millions. What I learned is this: When you are out on the mound, there are only two things that exist in the world--the ball and the catcher's mitt. Nothing else matters."


Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
I have just started watching the Mental Game of Baseball. (DVD) I will let you know how it is. There is a similar one out called In the Zone.

By the way, I had a dad go off on his DD at a lesson, last night. He yelled that she was really "p*ssing him off". She is 11. Just try to pitch with that pressure hanging over you.

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