Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

What to say during mound visits

April 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Coaching, Pitching

One of my more popular posts ever in terms of readership was one titled Best Mound Conversation Ever.  It’s a true story that still makes me laugh when I think about it.  However, if you are the one who is

Often these meetings are more about tempo than mechanics

Often these meetings are more about tempo than mechanics

going to the mound and truly need to get a pitcher on track, reverse psychology isn’t always the best way to go.  Sometimes you’ll need to be a little more informative.  When those times come, here are some tips that might help:

Avoid mechanics.  Talking about mechanics when a pitcher is on the mound during the game is often counterproductive.  For many players, the last thing you want is for them to think too much about their mechanics.  You often see this in hitters who think too much about mechanics in the box and lose focus on the ball.  The same principle can be bad for pitchers as well.  Talks about mechanical changes are usually better off happening after the inning is over.  Little reminders like “get on top of the ball” or “reach out” are ok but longer conversations about mechanics are better suited for after the inning.

Focus on tempo.  A good concept to spend time on with pitchers on the mound relates to tempo.  Often a pitcher’s adrenaline gets the best of him and causes him to rush through his delivery and skip key steps – usually staying back.  Just getting him to take a breather and slow down for a few seconds can do wonders.  Getting back to his proper breathing and tempo can remind his body of the mechanics that have been engrained during practice.

Stay positive.  Nobody wants to do poorly.  The pitcher is probably beating himself up mentally already so usually it is best not to add to those thoughts by being negative yourself.  Try to lift his spirits and tell him something he is doing well – good velocity, late break on his curve, etc.

Stay away from the obvious.  Don’t go out and tell the pitcher to throw strikes.  He already knows that.  He’s not stupid.  He’s not trying to throw balls.

Use a little humor.  Nothing relaxes someone quicker than a little humor.  Break out a good joke and lighten the mood.  Call in the infielders and let them hear it as well.  Remember, the game is supposed to be fun.

Every pitcher is different.  Getting to know what makes each guy tick will greatly increase a coach’s ability to know what to say when he takes a trip to the mound.  There is no one-size-fits-all strategy.  Try them all and make some up for yourself.

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