Have you ever heard of a pitcher with a million-dollar arm but a five-cent head? Or seen a pitcher that has great stuff, but seems to let her emotions get in the way of a win?
Great pitchers never get too high after big wins or too low after tough losses. Her goals are much greater than the outcome of the last game. I’m not saying great pitchers have no emotions on the field, but they’re able to control their stress levels in a way that doesn’t affect the next pitch, batter, or inning.
I love to see a pitcher get pumped up after a big out, take a deep breath, and then throw the next pitch right on target. She was excited, but only for a split-second. Then, she gets back to work with extreme focus and respect for the hitter. I often see pitchers who have success for the first five innings, then hit cruise control. As soon as they lose focus, their pitches leak off the plate and lose movement, causing them to get hit.
It’s just as amazing to see a pitcher regroup, and throw a great strike right after giving up a home run or hitting the number 9 hitter. Great pitchers always focus on the next pitch.
One of the best lessons I ever learned was as a freshman at the University of Tennessee. We were locked in a pitchers’ duel with Washington and their senior pitcher, Danielle Lawrie. After a scoreless five-inning duel, Washington scored two runs in the sixth.
I was devastated, but my pitching coach Marty McDaniel, came up to me in the dugout and said, “I want you to watch Danielle and how she handles the lead in the top of the 7th.”
What I saw amazed me. Danielle was even stronger in the 7th inning than she had been. She was poised, calm and dominant. Needless to say, Washington went on to win that game and the national championship in 2010.
It was a clear cut and personal example of how Great Pitchers are emotional Warriors.
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. Comments? Questions? Suggestions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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