Just what does it take to pitch at a professional level? What can you do to prepare yourself to dominate your competition now so you can make it to a “higher level” in this great game?
Here are a few tips that will help you on your journey to becoming a great pitcher:
Baseball Knowledge: Get every bit of knowledge you can about pitching. Learn about mechanics, effective off- speed pitching, strategic pitching, situational pitching, pitching specific workouts, both in and off season throwing programs, nutrition, the mental game etc.
Interview professional pitchers that have played or are playing now and ask them what it takes to play at that level. You’ll get a variety of answers, but sift through them and find out what you’d like to focus on.
Make a plan and stick to it: Plan your day before it plans you! The most successful people in the world have direction. They wake up with a purpose every day. They know what they are going to accomplish and why they want to accomplish it.
My friend Jim Brogan played professional Basketball against greats like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Not many people believed that he could play at that level. I asked him what his journey looked like on the way to the NBA. He told me that it was very challenging but that he NEVER GIVES UP; HE”S RESILIANT! He shot 500 shots before difficult team practices and 500 shots after practice from inside and outside the paint. He stayed consistent taking 1000 shots a day for years. That’s the kind of plan it takes to win!
Think about this: 1000 shots a day for a month is 30,000, a year is 365,000, 5 years is 1,825,000 and 10 years is 3,650,000. Who’s going to get the ball when there’s 1 second left on the clock? Exactly!
Know your plan and be persistent.
Work Ethic: This is the key to your pitching success. You can have all of the knowledge you need, but until you apply it, it means nothing! You must be willing to put your time, energy and effort into your craft. There will be days you may feel like slacking off on your workouts, skill work or whatever it may be. Don’t! If you want it bad enough you will fight through the challenges and make it work.
You better believe there are going to be times when your friends want to push you to do something else when you haven’t put in your practice time for the day. You have to have the discipline to stick to your plan no matter what. Are there going to be some lonely training days? Of course there will be. Expect that. People that work hard to play at a higher level experience that. You’ve got to make a plan and stick to it no matter what obstacles are thrown at you. Be prepared for those obstacles and hurdles becoming bigger and greater the higher you make it.
Nutrition: Most youth pitchers don’t think twice about what they are putting into their bodies and how that affects their overall performance on the mound. The old saying “you are what you eat” is very true. Get an education on what to eat before and after games. Learn what foods are going to give you the fuel you need for longevity in the game (and your life).
The food you eat now really does impact your performance, good or bad. If you eat poorly, you may feel you’re getting away with it because you may not be putting on any weight; it may not show up yet. However, your energy levels will suffer greatly. Eat Clean!
Is there more to this list than these 4 things? Yes! There are many factors that are going to help you on your journey to a professional level. The reality of the situation is that many athletes don’t make it; that doesn’t mean you won’t or you can’t. If you have the desire to play at that level; go for it! Don’t let the naysayers bring you down.
I mention these 4 great habits because regardless of what happens in your professional career you will have habits and skills that will last a lifetime. Get into great habits early enough and you will accomplish great things and inspire others along their way to success and happiness.
Here are some outstanding tools that will help you along the way to a better career as a pitcher. As a bonus, I discounted all of them for you and your baseball friends.
Make it a great day,