Getting Psyched - Baseball Imagery for Pitchers


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Want to be the best you can be? You've got to think it to win it! Contact John Ellsworth, Master Mental Game Coach and Sports Psychology Consultant.

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Getting Psyched - Baseball Imagery for Pitchers

  1. 1. John Ellsworth, MA • Protex Sports ( Getting Psyched Imagery Relaxation and Pitching ProgramCopyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC Page 1
  2. 2. Frame of ReferenceFind a quiet space and lay down in a horizontal position. Take a few moments to get adjusted toyour position. Notice any discomforts and adjust to a comfortable space. “This is your personalrelaxation & imagery tape” For the next few minutes, you will focus all your attention onrelaxing your body, quieting your mind, and becoming present with the “here & now”.This is your private time, so whatever has gone on prior to the next few minutes and whateverwill go on during these next few minutes while you relax and become one with the here & nowdoes not concern you. You have the remainder of the day to deal with these issues. All thatmatters is the present moment, since this is the only time you are in complete control.Take all thoughts, good and bad, put them in a small box, and park this small box on a shelf forthe time being. By taking this step, you are now free to channel your energy into the presentmoment. This is a unique opportunity to for you to nourish the mind & body.Now that you have placed all of your thoughts in “park” mode & are completely focused in thehere & now, you have made a clean break from conscious thought & prepared to be one withthe present & in the “right frame of mind”.You know that entering the right frame of mind at the beginning of each practice orcompetition, You alert my mind that you are “now focused” & will not be disturbed You arenow in the “training”, or “competitive” mindset with an undivided mind. You have reserved thistime for concentrated physical & mental awareness.Copyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC Page 2
  3. 3. Exaggerated BreathingYou are now aware of your breathing and attentive to your breath. It is easy for you to followits pace and observe it with complete attention & without distraction. Place the palms of yourhands on your abdomen.Take 5 exaggerated deep breaths’ by bringing each inhale deep into your abdomen ordiaphragm area. Take a slow, complete breath into your abdomen below your lungs, with aslow count to 6. (Count 1, 2, 3…) Slowly & smoothly exhale to the count of 12 and with slowlyrepeat your auto- suggestion “entry” word (focus, prepare, energize). Feel your body becomingmore and more relaxed on each exhale. Inhale to the count of 6 & exhale to the count of 12while repeating the “entry” word. Feel the tension drain from your body as you exhale. Inhale& exhale (#3). Focus on releasing tension with each exhale while slowly repeating your entryword.With each exhale your body increases it’s awareness and becomes less tense and more relaxed.Inhale & exhale (#4). Feel gravity at work as you sink deeper into your relaxed & present placewhen the air completely exits from your abdomen. On the 5th exhale you can bring yourattention to your breath as it returns to its normal pace & rhythm. By bringing your attentionto your breath and simply observing it you will have reached relaxed state of body & mind.In this relaxed state of body and mind your tension has been released & you are prepared tobegin a process of practice or competitive readiness.Copyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC Page 3
  4. 4. Begin Positive AffirmationsImagine a blackboard in front of you. On the black board, write these 3 positive affirmations &repeat each one three times as you write: 1. “I am a focused & confident pitcher” (repeat three times) 2. “I am in control of my pitches and what I choose to focus on” (repeat three times) 3. “I am confident & trust in my ability to hit the target given to me” (repeat three times)Five Mental Keys to Great PitchingRemember the top five mental keys to great pitching during your pregame warm up. The first isconfidence. You must believe that the batter has no chance against you and you have the abilityto control all of your pitches. Second, remind yourself to focus on one pitch at a time. The lastpitch is history, only the current pitch matters. Third, trust in your pitching ability. It’s gametime and this is the time to free it up and react to the pitch you see or feel in your mind.Fourth, let go of last pitch. Do not dwell on or analyze the last pitch. Only the next pitchmatters. Lastly, commit to the pitch. See and feel the pitch. Take the sign, rehearse the pitch inyour mind and be confident that this is the correct pitch to throw. No second-guessing now.Plan it, see or feel it, and commit to it!Copyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC Page 4
  5. 5. Begin Mastery Imagery ScriptYou are on the field going through your warm up exercises. You take a jog starting @ first basearound home plate, down the third base line to the foul pole, turn right & follow the warningtrack all the way to the first base foul pole. When you reach the first base foul pole, you turn &look at the 325 ft. marker & touch both hands to the marker. You take a deep relaxing breath,exhale and smell the grass, and see the colors of the field. Next, you go through your warm-upstretching and arm flexibility exercises identified specifically for pitchers. You are ready, andprepared to go to the bull pen.The coach gives you the game ball. You look at it closely. You begin feeling a sense of joy, &pleasure as you feel excited knowing you are about to start the game against a worthyopponent/team. You feel confident and ready to get into the game.You are in the bullpen & start your warm-up in preparation for the 1st inning. You begin bywarming up your arm with short toss, and then long toss behind the mound. You are now onthe mound and begin by working on feeling the ball and throwing for comfort to the catcher.Your arm feels great! You are not concerned about the quality of your throws in warm up. Yousee and or feel the ball spin and notice how slow it seems to travel direct to the catcher’sglove. Your focus is keen. You love to pitch & cannot wait until you have the opportunity tothrow the first pitch for the first strike of the game. You enjoy the challenge of competition andpitching. You feel confident with your fastball, slider, change, and curve ball and trust you willthrow strikes, and get outs. You make a commitment to see, feel, & just throw a strikewherever the target happens to be. Keep your thoughts simple. Simplicity is critical too goodpitching in games.You begin your bullpen pitching routine by first working on the fastball & lane locationsuccessfully. When you reach 7 of 10 pitches in the zone, you then move to your change-up.The “POP of your fastball gets you fired up. When you reach 7 of 10 pitches in the lane ofchoice, you then move to the slider. Wow, your competitive juices are starting to flow. Uponsuccessfully finishing your slider in the zone, you then move to your curve ball. You arepsyched, this pitch is dropping off the table. You are pleasantly surprised at the effortless feel,and tremendous spin & movement of your curveball. Wow, you say to yourself, hitters willhave a huge challenge hitting this pitch! You throw one more fastball, change, slider, & curvedirectly in the lane of choice & finish confident with trust in your ability to throw strikes andget outs. You love to pitch. You love to throw strikes. You love to be in the game. You love tocompete.Imagine that the first inning has started and you are on the mound. You are standing on themound slightly behind the rubber. Experience yourself looking straight down at your feet. Yourtoes are two inches directly behind and almost touching the rubber as you notice a bright whiteCopyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC Page 5
  6. 6. reflection flashing back at you. Simultaneously you see the whiteness of the ball & feel its seamsat your fingertips. A tunnel shaped like a funnel appears between you and the catcher. Youknow this is the path each pitch follows. You have trust this path.This line signifies one of three lanes or zones guiding you to success with each pitch. You stepon the rubber, lift your head, see or feel the catcher & only the catcher, take the sign & repeatto yourself “strike”. You commit to the target and type of pitch to be thrown, which happensto be lane or zone 2. You repeat a focus word, “strike” to yourself three times. You feelrelaxed, confident, and committed to lane or zone 2. You enjoy the challenge of pitching, andthe feeling that comes when the ball hits the target. You take your wind-up with a sense oftrust, calm, commitment, and aggressiveness and deliver the first pitch, a fastball, down thetunnel reserved for lane or zone 2. “STRIKE” You do not hear/feel the umpire call strike, butknow it is a strike because there is no other place the ball can go.The tunnel is your path to lane or zone 2 and success. You do not see or hear the hitter, onlythe glove because the glove is all that matters. You do not see or hear the umpire, because thecatcher’s glove is the only thing that matters. With a sense of trust, commitment, and focus youtake your wind-up in preparation to deliver your second pitch. You deliver your second pitch, aslider, down the tunnel reserved for lane or zone 1. The batter swings and misses. “STRIKE”2.Once again you take the sign, commit to the lane or zone 3, and with complete trust deliveryour third pitch, a curve ball, that sails with unbelievable spin directly down lane or zone 3 fora swing & miss, STRIKE 3. You know this is the beginning of a great day. You are confident, in atrusting mindset, and see or feel the “flow” of the game going in the right direction.As the game progresses, you trust in your ability to see or feel the each pitch and the successthat comes as each pitch follows its intended lane or zone. You are focused because you are inthe process of reacting and trusting with freedom what you see or feel in your mind. You arenot concerned with the outcome. You feel calm, committed, and focused each and every timeyou deliver a pitch. Each time you deliver a pitch with consistent tempo you can see or feel theball hit the center of the catcher’s glove. When this happens you rejoice with confidence andself-satisfaction. You know the hitters will have an impossible time today connecting with yourpitches.Copyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC Page 6