The most competitive position out there is a right handed pitcher. There are about 7-9 righties on every team in the majors as well at least that many in each level beginning in rookie ball on up the ladder. If you are a righty you may be wondering how you can stand out of the crowd; that enormous and competitive crowd. Well, you have to do just about everything right to make it to the show as a righty. You have to throw at least in the low 90’s consistently with awesome movement and change of speed with at least three different pitches. Wicked movement is a must as well.
As we’ve written about last week, there is a lot more to pitching that sheer talent and velocity though. You have to be mentally tough.
What is being mentally tough? Having the ability to stay calm under “pressure situations.” The bases are juiced; are you showing the batter you are nervous by your actions on the mound? Are your shoulders relaxed? Are you thinking about what you don’t want to have happen? Are you confident enough in your abilities that you want the ball in your hands in a sticky situation? How do you deal with failure? Do you remain confident and shrug off the last 450 foot homer that was crushed off you? Do you dwell in the past? The best pitchers learn from their mistakes and move on focusing on the task at hand. They don’t live in the past even if their past was great.
Great pitchers are teachable and are great students of the game. They are constantly asking great players questions about how they go about their routine. They are not know-it-alls and are eager to learn anything. They can keeping an open mind for anything that will give them the edge. Success leaves clues. Go out and find mentors that know how to teach the game and start asking more questions.
Great pitchers also care what goes in their bodies. They play close attention to what they eat and avoid illegal drugs at all costs. One of my good friends Jim Brogan, played professional basketball for years. He played against some of the greats like Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. He says that when he got drafted to the NBA his diet wasn’t the greatest. He looked like he was in fantastic shape, but it wasn’t until he started eating healthy when he realized how much better he could perform. If you want the extra edge care about nutrition and ditch the soda and pizza.
Are you conditioned to pitch? Do you know what workouts are going to take you to the next level? Are you easily distracted and tell yourself you will start your workouts again on Monday and keep procrastinating until another week has gone by? Great pitchers rarely miss a workout. They schedule a time everyday and are consistent with that time. If you want to be great; you will do the same. Create a schedule when you will always be available for those workouts and you will not be distracted.
The competition is fierce right now and it’s just going to become more competitive as baseball spreads to other parts of the planet. Are you up for the challenge?