Do you have a pre-pitch or at-bat routine? Some ball players have a routine, but don’t use it consistently. Others don’t have a routine at all. Without a consistent routine at the plate or on the mound, you’re more likely to lose focus or become distracted.
A pre-pitch or at-bat routine is designed to help you:
- Focus on what’s important
- Prepare consistently for the pitch or at-bat
- Feel confident before execution
- Trust your swing or throwing action
Phillies pitcher, Roy Halladay, recently threw a perfect game to beat the Marlins 1-0. Before his perfect game, Halladay was coming off a poor start this season. He had given up seven runs to the Red Sox in 5 and 2/3 innings. How was Halladay was able to turn his poor start around to throw a perfect game? He attributes part of his success to having a pre-pitch routine.
“I think you pitch the same regardless, even whether you give up a hit or not. I think you try not to be concerned with the score, one way or the other. You’re just trying to make pitches. That’s your only job. So, whether you’re giving up hits or it’s 5-0, 0-0, you’re just trying to make pitches,” said Halladay.
A common mistake that ball players make is to think too much about the score. Batters are often over concerned with their performance at the plate; they pressure themselves to make up for an 0-4 performance in the last outing. Pitchers might be thinking about how many runs they have given up or the current score of the inning. By having a routine, you are less likely to think results and more likely to focus on the process and your execution, one pitch at a time. A routine occupies your mind with what’s important, such as what you need to do to execute successfully.
If you notice you’re starting to think about the score, take a moment to regroup. Step out of the batter’s box , clear your mind, and refocus on execution. Find a thought to help you regroup. You might tell yourself to “Stop,” and remind yourself that that’s not important. Then, tell yourself what to focus on for this pitch only. You can focus on your plan for the pitch or seeing a good pitch, for example. Remember to keep things simple. You should only focus on one thought at a time.
Your mental game of baseball tip is to use a routine and stick to it. If you find yourself wavering from your routine or are distracted, take a moment to regroup and restart your routine.