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Sports Psychology: How To Stop Choking At Pitching

Posted by: Dr. Granat on March 13, 2007

“My kid is a talented pitcher, but he chokes when the pressure is on.”


“ My daughter was pitching great in practice, but she lost it when

the scouts were watching her.”

“Once I give up a few hits, I lose my confidence and I’m done.

My legs get weak. I can’t get any leverage, velocity or control.”

This time of the year I get lots of phone calls from pitchers and from

parents of young pitchers. Much of the pressure to perform well falls on

the pitcher’s shoulders and some hurlers have tough time finding the

strike zone during the heat of the game.

When a pitchers comes to see me, I sometimes have their mechanics

evaluated by one of the top coaches I consult with. If everything seems in

order, then we can start to address the mental aspects of the pitcher’s game.

I like to explore the pitcher’s game plan, pitching philosophy and

his or her understanding of baseball strategy. Surprisingly, some Division

I pitchers and highly recruited players are often weak on these aspects of

the game. If they are, I try to help them develop more effective approaches

to managing the strike count, pitch selection, pitch location and the use

of different speeds.

Pitchers usually contact me when they have been choking during some

games or when they are in some kind of a “psychological funk.”

In order for a pitcher to be in the zone, he or she must know how to

stay relaxed, focused and confident prior to the game and during the game.

They need a consistent plan for getting themselves into the right frame of

mind to deliver the ball they way they need to in order to take control of

the game.

I teach pitchers mental techniques to practice off the mound and on the mound.

Many successful pitchers use our Stay In The Zone program since there are

many chapters which deal with confidence, focus, relaxation and accuracy.

Pitchers seem to derive a great deal of benefit from Chapters 7, 8, 9, 19 and 20.

Here is a link to get your copy of our Stay In The Zone program.

If you are a pitcher, coach of a pitcher or a parent of a competitive pitcher,

you can call Dr. Jay Granat at 888 580-ZONE.

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