Most people would agree that no two games are alike.
Same day? Sure.
Same score? Sure.
But the details that make up each game are unique. Different umpires, balls, weather, fans, etc. All these factors bring potential obstacles that a pitcher must deal with.
Great pitchers, and really all great players, don’t make excuses for the difficulties. They adjust and find a way to overcome. I’ve attended some high-level conferences and clinics where great pitching coaches from around the country meet to discuss ideas and learn from each other. One of the hottest topics has been finding ways to teach pitchers to be mentally tough and make adjustments.
As a coach, teaching skills are easy compared to teaching pitchers how to think critically and adjust on their own.
To help your pitcher learn to make adjustments:
Scrimmage situations where the umpire specifically calls a very tight or inconsistent strike zone. Very frustrating, yes, but it taught me how to make adjustments.
Scrimmage situations where the pitchers are put in challenging situations. Things like bases loaded, walk-off, end-of-game situations, starting off behind in the count (even though you didn’t get there on your own), and forcing you to find a way to get out of the jam.
Use the “RBI drill” (my favorite). A runner starts at second base with no outs while facing her offense. They win by getting her in, I win by getting out of the inning.
My experience tells me that the great pitchers know how to adjust to tough situations. Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth!” Great pitchers know how to get back up after they get hit in the mouth.
About the Author: Cat Fritts (Hosfield) was four-year standout at the University of Tennessee, She went 49-22 with a 2.91 ERA in her career for the Vols, earning Southeastern Conference (SEC) Freshman Player of the Week honors in 2009, while also earning SEC Honor Roll accolades following the ’10, ’11 and ’12 seasons at UT. She was named the 2008 National High School Player of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) while at Murfreesboro High School.
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