Post-Game Pitching Absolutes
Today, Pro’s Pitch will be diving into the final part of our three-part Pitching Absolutes series, Post-Game Pitching Absolutes. Consistency dictates the success of a pitcher. In order to be consistent, a pitcher must be able to be effective, even when things aren't working in your favor. To establish consistent pitching performance, athletes need to gain and maintain strength, self-command, be able to self evaluate, and show accountability. In part three of Pro’s Pitch three-part series, I will review the following Post-Game Pitching Absolutes.
The first Post-Game Pitching Absolute is recovery. Recovery after a pitching performance is very important. Pitchers should follow an age-appropriate strength, balance, and coordination routine designed by a qualified athletic trainer or strength and conditioning coach. I can outline some physical basics, but ideally, leave it to athletic trainers and strength and conditioning professionals to help design and outline a recovery plan that is specific to your individual needs. In general, some common practices that may be implemented may include:
Use of a Foam Roller
Ultimately, the main goal is for our athletes to maintain a consistent recovery routine. All athletes should have a monitored routine in place to be performed in their Pre- and Post-Game rituals. By maintaining these routines, our athletes can protect themselves from furthering their risk of injury.
Self-evaluation is the next important step in Post-Game Pitching Absolutes. As a pitcher, you should constantly be assessing what you know, what you don’t know, and what you would like to know. Through this practice, you will be able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Identification of strengths and weaknesses will allow a pitcher to capitalize on their strengths and take steps to improve upon their weaknesses. There are three primary mechanisms a pitcher can use to self-evaluate including:
Review the Game Chart
In Post-Game Analysis, you should grade your outing. This forces you to rate yourself and your performance that day. A good place to start is to rate yourself based on the game result and whether you felt you pitched good or bad, as you can see in the chart below. When evaluating yourself, it is important to remember that it is not always about winning, but it is part of the process.
After giving yourself a simple rating, it’s beneficial to self-evaluate additional statistics. In Major League Baseball, my pitchers would grade their pitches and deliveries. Coaches would then take it a step further by grading their work ethic, attitude, and how they get along with their teammates, among other qualitative assessments. These can help coaches and pitchers determine if they have the potential to be a solid pitcher. Below is one example of a chart you and your coaches may use to further evaluate your pitching performance.
Afterwards, discuss honest feedback from your coach. It is important to remember that this feedback is meant to act as constructive criticism to improve your game. You and your coach can compare ratings, which allows you to have discussions and most importantly to learn and grow as a pitcher!
Studying video is an important part of the preparation, as well as self-evaluation. Watching tape can help you to identify and pinpoint specific strengths and weaknesses in your pitching and delivery. Pitchers should match up each pitch with video, as well as use Trackman and Rapsodo technology to provide the analytical data you need. This practice can help you to improve your pitch and continue to develop and grow as a pitcher.
Review the Game Chart
As a pitcher, you should go over the game chart and evaluate how you sequence hitters in the game. This will help you to evaluate what you could have done differently and determine how you can execute better in future outings. It is good practice to keep a log of each hitter you’ve faced, so you have the information lined up the next time you face them.
After completing your self-evaluation, it is equally as important mentally to let go of the outing regardless of whether it was good or bad. Allow room for you to make mistakes and accept that there are some things that you cannot change. Take a breath, get back to the drawing board, and start preparing for your next outing!
The final Post-Game Pitching Absolute is accountability. To be accountable is to accept responsibility for your action. In essence, it involves a degree of willingness to be answerable to the outcomes of our choices, decisions, and actions. A pitcher must accept full responsibility for their own role and how their actions affect the whole team. This is why it is so important to place value on your own work and efforts, in order to increase your skill and confidence, which will drive towards the betterment of the team.
When discussing my previous Triple-A Team with the Philadelphia Phillies, I pointed out that “The easiest thing for guys to do is to make excuses. They’ve got to figure out that they’re accountable for what they do, but at the same time be prepared and know it’s going to be a grind back and forth.” The same level of accountability is expected from pitchers at any level of competition. Work to develop this sense of responsibility now, so you can stop making excuses and start making improvements.
Accountability is equally important off the field as it is on the field. If you hold yourself accountable to high standards, it is easier to hold your teammates to the same standard. By maintaining high standards among teammates, it gives you all the opportunity to increase your skills and confidence in yourself and in your team as a whole. Some ways you can hold your teammates accountable is by checking in with them, asking them about their workouts and progress, and even looking at their presence on social media. Ultimately, you should be driving to be the example for your teammates.
As I wrap up Pro’s Pitch three-part series of my Pitching Absolutes, I would like to invite you to take them into consideration in Pre-Game, In-Game, and Post-Game efforts. Throughout this series, we have learned that preparation, communication, work ethic, execution, self-evaluation, and accountability are key factors in the development of a great pitcher. My hope is that the Pitching Absolutes I have outlined are useful to you and your pitching career. With these points to guide you, I want you to be able to establish important work ethics and values, in order for you to develop and work towards being the best version of yourself on and off the field. Below Pitching Coach PRO has provided a poster that summarizes all of the Pitching Absolutes.