Anthony Gutierrez is one of our top pitching instructors and played nine years with the Houston Astros. His philosophy on pitching is second to none and he's decided to share the mental aspect from a pitcher's perspective in his own words.
Positive Mode: Step on the baseball field with a positive outlook and attitude everyday. Remember, you are here because you love this game so that should be enough to brighten your day. Moods are contagious, so turn the switch and throw away all your problems and let yourself enjoy the next two or three hours of your life.
Be Competitive: Everyone loves to win, but what does it take for you to win the game or an individual challenge? Every pitch comes from within and every movement on the mound is made in a conscience advance to get an edge over your opponent. Approach every outing as if it will be your last and never look upon it with regrets and what ifs. The killer instinct is the difference between failure and success.
Composed: Take control of the game before it controls you. Every situation will call for a reaction and the reaction can be turning point of the game. Command your emotions to stay calm and use the created intensity as a productive energy to push you towards successfully completing the inning. Physically revealed emotions will determine the events to follow, such as walking the next batter or feeding a pitch down the middle and allowing the inning to explode. Hold your emotions within and keep your facial expressions deceptive.
Knowledge: Educate yourself on the game of baseball in general. The more you know about the game the better player you will become. Look at the history of the game and understand the law of averages of the success of hitters against pitchers and typical outcomes. Baseball is as simple as you make it. Understand that the little things can make the biggest difference of a game or career. Learn the game in a manager’s view and think about what pitch you would call in a particular situation or defense put on. The more you can anticipate, the easier the play put on will be to execute.
Pitch Effectively in the Pinch: This will determine your true pitching skills. Making the big pitch in a key situation consistently will open the path towards a successful pitching career. The greatest pitchers of all time are known to make the big pitch in a turning point of a game. The big pitch will fuel the rest of the team to step up and play for you and make the big play in the field. Establishing confidence in your teammates will in turn gain confidences in yourself. The pinch means there is little room for error, therefore your focus needs to narrow in a preview location of a specific pitch in the given situation to a particular hitter.
Respect for the Game, Players and Umpires: Remember your teammate will only play for you if you play for them. The ability to recognize their skills and accomplishments will only increase the respect level and desire for them to play with or for you. They will acknowledge your skills; don't expect a compliment, earn one. Respect the game and the players who played before you. The game has established a level of respect that is required of all players to maintain. The umpires are human and capable of making mistakes just as easy as you are. Stay off of them and keep them from playing a major roll in games by controlling your own destiny. Take responsibility in your actions and understand that the umpires can only control the out come of a game if you allow them to. Respect yourself and others will do the same.
Establish Self-Motivation: Self-motivation is established within the will and desire to perform. Self-motivation is revealed in practice and work away from the field. The work away from the field includes anything learned or mastered before entering the field. The will to be a better pitcher and physically ahead of others lies within the heart. The heart will reveal the love for the game and in turn field the effort to perform at your highest potential. Peak performance is pre determined by peak preparation, feel the moment emotionally before you attempt to accomplish it.
Self Discipline: This is your career and your team, do your part to make it successful. You expect everyone else to do the their job, so don’t cheat your teammates and not do yours. This is a team effort and everyone has a roll to play and the success of the team lies within the discipline to execute their responsibilities. Learn from your mistakes and command yourself to continuously progress. Don't let the same negative results continue, make the adjustments and turn the page. The key to discipline is to know what to change and what works then to create the ability put the work in and establish command of your skills.
Never Give In: No matter the situation in a game, pre-game, practice or any time you feel it is out of reach DO NOT GIVE UP! I don't care if your brother is up to bat, if he is wearing a different uniform we will get him out anyway we can.
Lead Team to Battle & Victory: We control the game and the rest of the team will depend on us to establish the path. Lead your team by example. A successful game play will fire up your teammates.
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