Mental Aspects

Baseball pitcher intense, focused on the game he is pitching

To play baseball successfully, to pitch in a baseball game successfully, a player, a pitcher, has to be both intense and relaxed at the same time. He has to know what to expect from himself and learn and know the game situation and what the hitter and the game situation requires.

We Teach The Major League Baseball Pitching Form
Our Pitchers Learn To:

                             Prevent Arm Injury
                                     Increase Velocity
                                            Throw Consistent Strikes
                                                   Change Speeds
                                                          Handle Mental Aspects


Here are a few things to keep in mind

As a pitcher, you have a job to do that requires 100 percent of your mental energy and 100 percent of your physical energy. You have a game to play. You must put everything else out of your mind.

  • Pitching is not a job for the physically timid or the mentally lazy. 
  • You must maintain constant concentration on the task at hand.
  • The essence of a pitcher's challenge is the constant one-on-one confrontation between the pitcher and the hitter. All real pitchers thrive on it, live for it.
  • How you handle the baseball determines how well you do, how much you succeed. You must develop the feel for it that an artist has for his paintbrush.
  • A pitcher who can make his ball move and control its destination, has the potential to master the art of pitching. However, such mastery comes only through infinite patience and constant practice.

The Art Of Pitching, Tom Seaver, HOF

"That which you do not know, the doing will quickly teach you."
                                                                                ---Lao Tzu


1. Balance
       2. Direction
              3. Deception/Launch
                     4. Weight Transfer


As a pitcher, balance is a your ability to stabilize your center of gravity. You have to position your body to direct all your energy straight toward home plate.

There's no angular movement, nothing to throw you off course.

Ideal balance is the same for every pitcher. The balance point occurs when you lift your leg to its maximum height and your hands are aligned at your center of gravity--between your chin and your belly button. Ideally, your hand and glove are just above your lift knee at this stage. Your head is directly over your pivot foot.

You want your posture as tall as possible. The taller you are in the balance position, the more angle downward in the trajectory of the ball you'll have at release point--and the harder it will be for the hitter to see your pitch.


Once you achieve optimal balance, begin a controlled fall toward home plate, your front foot leading the way. Your hands will break naturally; turn your thumbs under, toward the ground, to force your elbows up into launching position. Your entire front side--glove, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and foot--should be perfectly directional and on line with home plate. There's no rotation of the torso yet, no violent movements to displace ideal direction.

Think of the body as a gate that moves together as a single unit--no part of the gate should fly open as you advance toward home plate. If you open up too early--hip rotating out toward first or third base-you will place undue stress on your throwing arm while limiting the efficiency and power of your delivery.


These two components work in tandem. Your throwing and front side elbows will both attain shoulder height at the launch phase. Let your forearms and hands form a 90 degree angle (in relation to upper arm), to maximize arm strength and leverage. Your forearm, wrist, and glove on your front side, if they are properly aligned, will impede the hitter's view of your pitching arm in its launch position--this is the deception element of the equation. Your front arm will delay the hitter's picking up your release point. (This is a common trait of pitchers considered "sneaky-fast." Mariano Rivera is a good example of this.)


This intangible of mechanics accomplished in a few distinct stages. Once your throwing elbow leads the throwing arm forward, your strong side replaces the directional side as weight is transferred to the landing leg. Your shoulders pass each other in opposite directions. Your head stays directly over the bent knee of your landing leg--again, to maximize leverage.

Here is what happens at the release point: Your throwing arm--and wrist--snaps straight to full extension, then the palm rotates the thumb down and out, away from the body, as the ball leaves the fingertips. At this precise moment all acceleration ends and deceleration begins. Weight transfer is completed as your head and upper body are pulled past the knee of your landing leg. This final coup de grace allows the forces of deceleration to be transferred from the arm, through the upper torso, into the lower back and finally to the legs, rather than compelling the shoulder to bear the brunt of resistance.

Be Careful:

As a pitcher, you land on your front leg with six times your body weight. (A 200 pound pitcher generates 1,200 pounds of force when the landing leg strikes. Multiply your weight times six to see how much force you create when your front leg hits the ground).

A mechanically efficient hurler--one who understands the four essentials of pitching--translates that energy up through the entire upper body. If, however, you rush your delivery, spin out of direction or fail to transfer your weight properly, then you are likely a candidate for stiffness and soreness in the rear deltoid (shoulder), area.

The other common injuries tied to mechanical inefficiency are a tender elbow or strained front deltoid muscle. These elements are often the result of drifting toward home plate while lifting the leg (before it reaches its apex), or rotating toward third or first base during the controlled fall. When you don't rotate your hips properly or when you fly open, your arm and shoulder have to make up for the mistakes of the body. Pitching is tough enough without adding to the stress. 
Information Compiled from book: Nolan Ryan's Pitcher's Bible. 
"That which you do not know, the doing will quickly teach you."
                                                                           --- Lao Tzu


The pitcher's mound is your office. It is the place you conduct your business on. When you get to the mound and smooth the dirt, you are setting up shop. Your shop.

The mound is the center of the diamond. It is the hill. It is the highest point on the baseball field. This is your domain. This is the starting point for all game action.

Your job is to get air rights over home plate. Your job is to take ownership of the strike zone.

The strike zone—mid-torso to knees over the plate—is not a sharply defined box; it's more like a balloon—changing space under constant revision during any single game. It can be expanded or compressed by all sorts of variables, most obviously the size and stance of the batter.

Sometimes a strike zone is simply as big as the batter, or umpire, make it. And sometimes the pitcher is able to "sell" a pitch to both of them by putting the ball securely in the zone in the early innings, and gradually pushing it beyond the fringe.

Once you prove to the umpire and the hitter you can throw strikes, you can start expanding the strike zone a little because they are used to seeing strikes.
"That which you do not know, the doing will quickly teach you."
                                                                                 -- Lao Tzu


The pitcher's mound is where you do your business. It is your place. You are in charge. The game waits for you, it begins when you throw a pitch.

So, step up to the mound, clear away any deficiencies, real or imagined. Make the mound your home. The game depends on you, when and at what tempo you throw your pitches. What pitches you use during the game.

You are the gun-slinger on the hill. Look that way.

Look Strong. Look Imposing. Make the hitter see you are the man. Because you are the man.

Relaxed baseball pitcher looking in for the sign from his catcher and ready to throw his pitch

Bring your full confidence to the mound, and even confidence you did not know you had. Make yourself have that confidence. Remember this: the hitter see’s what you show him. Make him see how confident you are and that he is going to have a tough day at the plate on this day.
There is nothing like a pitcher's mound in any other sport. It is the only elevated spot in sports, and you are on it. You are it. It is where the game begins and ends. It is the starting point for all that happens in the game.
Be comfortable. Get comfortable. Do all you can to make yourself comfortable. Remember this, the game is to your advantage. Even the best hitters make outs seven out of every ten times up. The numbers favor you. Remember that. Make it part of your thinking process. The game is favored toward you.

When you throw your pitch, get a scowl going. The hitter will see it. Make sure he see's it.
Instense baseball pitcher leading with the hip to home plate and the batter

And do use your fielders. Let them be part of the game. Throw pitches that will get ground balls and pop flies. The fewer effective pitches you throw, the longer you will stay in the game.
Baseball player in the field relaxed and ready to field any ball hit in his direction

The strike zone is seventeen inches across. You own the inside and outside part of the plate. The middle belongs to the hitter. Stay away. Own your strike zone. Know what it is and take advantage of it.
Baseball home plate

The strike zone is also the hitter's middle torso, to the lower part of his knee, as defined by the umpire.
baseball umpire, catcher and hitter executing the game of baseball 

It is so important that you be sure to pay attention to what the umpire is calling that day. When you are in the dugout, learn and understand what strike zone the umpire is calling.
Make his strike zone your strike zone.
Once you define what the umpire's strike zone is, expand it. If you hit the corners early in the game and then expand, usually the umpire will give you those outer edges. You will have the umpire call your game. This will be to your advantage. Take advantage.
"That which you do not know, the doing will quickly teach you."
                                                                                 -- Lao Tzu


1. Keep your head over your pivot foot throughout the entire delivery.
2. Don't start any forward momentum toward home plate until your lift leg reaches its apex.
3. Lift—don't kick—your leg up to its maximum height.
4. Maintain your hands at the center of gravity—from belly button to upper chest level.
5. Maintain the same upper body posture you achieve in the balance phase of the delivery.
6. Always adhere to "tall and fall" (taking a controlled fall toward home plate in the tall posture you achieved at balance), instead of "dip and drive" (pushing off the rubber as you reach your balance, dipping down, and then releasing the baseball).
7. As you begin to move toward home plate, make sure your entire front side—foot, hip, elbow, knee, and glove—is aligned with home plate. This is what is known as a closed, compact delivery. Hips must stay directional (toward home plate), until the landing leg hits; all hip rotation takes place after this point.
8. Land with your front side directional but your landing foot "closed off" -- a right hander's left big toe should point slightly toward the third-base side of home plate; a left hander's right big toe should point slightly toward the first-base side of home plate -- blocking off your forward movement. This transfers your forward momentum up through the body and into the arm at your release point, and ultimately ensures a less stressful deceleration of the arm. 
Points of Emphasis: 
Movement toward home plate starts once the leg lift reaches its apex. Head stays in line with the front knee in the launch position, eyes are on the target. 
Stay as closed as long as possible. In a closed delivery the hitter has less time to see the ball. By standing tall on the mound, it is difficult for the hitter to pick up the release point. Pitchers who stand tall and explode to the plate, never have problems with weight transfer. 

Information Compiled from book: Nolan Ryan's Pitcher’s Bible.
"That which you do not know, the doing will quickly teach you."
                                                                          ---Lao Tzu


"Establishing good balance and body position is an essential ingredient of good pitching. It allows the pitcher to be less reliant on timing, a quality not constant enough to be reliable." ---Randy Vorhees, Ref: Coaching the Little League Pitcher, Intro, p.x

Every good pitcher, every successful pitcher, has good timing and control. All the parts of the delivery are fully synchronized

All falling apart and then coming back together. It is all synchronized by good timing. Perfect timing. Or you may see an elegant pitcher and when you see that you’ll know what good timing is. Dwight Gooden is an excellent example of perfect timing.

There’s the perfect moment when you’ve stored all the energy for the pitch you are about to throw. You feel it. You know it. You come back, hold in your energy. The way you do that is to tighten like a spring. You coil back until you’ve gathered all your energy and then you spin and release it.
Proper hip rotation is so important that when used to its maximum effort, you are pitching with your highest velocity and control.


Whenever I hear people say, "Just have fun", I wonder if those people that say that actually have thought about what that means to a ball player on the field. It does not mean to just have fun, in the fun sense. Every ball player on every field feels a certain amount of pressure to get the job done in the moment. One of those jobs is to block out sordid remarks such as "Just have fun." Or, "Just play catch." Or "Bend your back." What the heck does that mean? Course, those people that say such things mean well. Although in the next breath, when a hitter swings at a high pitch out of the strike zone, that once encouraging person is now consternatiously telling the hitter, ordering the hitter, "Don't swing at those high pitches." Right. Like the hitter did not know that.

The important bit is for a player to be relaxed as possible, to be ready to pounce when the game situation demands it, to keep his mind quiet, to be a ease, to stay balanced and in the optimal position in both mind and body to explode to the ball, or to relax under, say, a fly ball or pop up.

Just have fun?

As a pitcher you are your own coach when you are on the mound. There might be 50,000 people in the stands, or no one, with one bench yelling encouragement while the other, discouragement, or not. 

Whatever the case, you are alone, you are by yourself, with a job that must be done. It is up to you to get it done.

You must know what adjustments to make if you suddenly find yourself in a situation where the ball is not doing what you want it to do the way you want it to do it. This is an extremely important part of your job, of pitching. You must learn your game and know it well. At the same time, you must maintain a calm inner being. You must be relaxed.
Learning the art of pitching takes lots of time, study, and infinite patience to be an effective pitcher. If there is a perfect way to do something, it can be learned. Learn the perfect way to pitch, and then practice diligently. Learning how to maintain a calm inner being, being completely relaxed, is easier than you think.

Scroll down for more information on both these pitching aspects.

"If you want to be the best, you must do what the best do."
                                                                                                                     ---Skip Murray

"That which you do not know, the doing will quickly teach you."
                                                                               ---Lao Tzu

Baseball players, as is the case with all athletes, perform at their highest level when they are relaxed. When the mind is clear the body is body to move freely and easily. When the body is moving freely, the athlete is able to perform at the highest level.
The question is, how does the athlete get to the point where he or she is constantly and consistently competing at that highest level? In other words, how does the athlete get to the point where his or her mind and body are completely clear and performing at peak level? Keep on reading, here is your answer.

One highly effective method is to use subliminal messaging software. This conditions your subconscious mind to work with your body at its optimum level. The technique is simple, you simply watch the proper subliminal message program as recommended, and your subconscious mind automatically learns to do the right things at the right time. It is as easy as that.

Winning Athlete Subliminal Message Software

So now, mind and body are working together, and that, my friends, 
is a winning combination.

Delivery - The Baseball Pitcher E-book by Skip Murray

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