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High Performance Pitching: Mental Skills & Drills

High Performance Pitching: Mental Skills & Drills

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with Melyssa Lombardi, Oklahoma University Associate Head Coach/Pitching Coach; 2013 National Champions; has coached five pitchers and three catchers to 15 combined All-American honors; five-time member of the NFCA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year (1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, and 2012)

At the higher levels of the game of softball, mental skills more than the physical skills separate the great players from the good ones. Pitching requires more mental toughness than any other position and the game often rests on the pitcher's shoulder. Melyssa Lombardi offers several strategies and drills to enhance performance when the game is on the line.

Performance skills - Coach Lombardi offers two segments of her pitcher's bullpen sessions: physical skills and performance skills. The performance skill segment is built around utilizing four mental strategies: breathing/routine, narrow focus, staying in the present, and accepting/adjusting. Coach Lombardi explains each strategy, and shows how each one helps calm the pitcher and keeps her focused, therefore helping to maximize performance.

Performance and numbers - Coach Lombardi's pitchers stay focused on performance by using numbers to grade the movement, location, and speed of their pitches. She explains the rating scale, as well as how to use it during practice and drills. This helps pitchers rate themselves on how they are throwing each pitch without worrying about mechanics, which can distract performance. Using these ratings can also help the pitcher and coach identify pitches that are working well, and those that need improvement.

Performance drills - In crucial game situations, the focus will often be on the pitcher, which can put her under a lot of pressure. Coach Lombardi offers four drills designed to help her pitchers understand their strengths and weaknesses, and to work through pressure situations. The more a pitcher practices performing under pressure, the better prepared she will be for the pressures of an actual game.

Conditioning drills - Pitching is a skill that requires the athlete to repeatedly exert near-maximal effort in throwing each pitch. During the course of a game, pitchers will often throw over 100 pitches, making pitching a very intense, cardiovascular activity. Because of this, it is important for pitchers to stay in peak physical condition. Coach Lombardi offers two challenging conditioning drills to build the endurance and strength to make it through a full ball game.

A pitcher who is able to peak under pressure is every coach's dream. Let Coach Lombardi show you the skills to get your pitchers to be at their best when the game is on the line! 71 minutes. 2014.