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Sports Psychology, Pitching Tips: Nervous On The Mound? Why Your Kid Can't Pitch In Big Games

Posted by: Dr. Granat on June 5, 2007

“My son is great in practice, but chokes during competition.”
“My daughter can throw that softball a ton in the backyard, but when she pitches
in front of her coaches, she loses it.”
“My son has Division I potential, but he can’t take the pressure of big games.
It’s killing him and it is frustrating his mom and me.”
Every week, I get calls from parents of kids who have strong arms, good
mechanics, top coaches and great stuff-in practice. Their parents call me because
their children are not pitching to their potential in game conditions. What causes this? And what can be done to help these pitchers?
Now some coaches and parents are not ready to hear this, but they need to
listen to this idea, since it is likely that it applies to their children……
A lot of youngsters pitch poorly when the pressure is on, because they, on
some level, believe that they will be viewed as worthless or feel unloved by peers, parents, and coaches unless they perform well. In short, their self-esteem is too wrapped
up in their athletic performance. Losing a game can be tough, but believing that
no one will love you if you fail to perform is a very hard feeling for a young pitcher
to manage. In fact, many adults struggle with self-esteem and self-confident
issues related to their own self-esteem and how others feel about them.
Athletes who have this kind of fear get distracted on the mound. They can’t
track of the count. They lose their self-confidence. Their legs feel weak and they
abandon their pitching strengths and their pitching strategy.
When I counsel pitchers, I teach them how to stay relaxed, confident and focused
on the mound. I teach them mental exercises to practice off the field and on the field.
I show them how to tune out distractions and how to to plan out their pitching
strategy when they compete. Many young pitchers have relied on their athleticism
when they were younger. However, as they get older and compete at a higher level,
they need help with the cerebral and strategic aspects of pitching.
I also work with them on handling rejection, criticism and others opinions about
them in a more positive and productive manner.
In many instances, once the pitcher learns the appropriate psychological skills
and lets go of his or her need to please others, he or she can pitch to his potential
and achieve his or her athletic goals.
Sport psychology techniques that are useful for pitchers can be found in
How To Get In The Zone And Stay In The Zone With Sport Psychology And
Self-Hypnosis. Chapters 20, 19, 7, 5 and 4 are favorites among pitchers.
Here is the link to get this program.
If you have any questions about your son or daughter, you can call me directly
at 888-580-ZONE. Or Visit my site or E-mail me at

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