How Mental Training Can Improve Pitching Performance

Hey guys, Dan Blewett here. So we’re gonna talk about mental training today
and I want to specifically talk about the belly breath, and what that can do for you
as a young pitcher. So before we get started I want to strongly
encourage you: hit the red subscribe button and subscribe to my channel; I put out tons
of pitching videos, mental training stuff; it’s only gonna get better so make sure you hit that subscribe
button and get notified whenever I put out a new video. So today – the belly breath – this was something
that was important to me in my career. I got really roughed up, and if you listen
to my Podcast, Dear Baseball Gods, tune into episode 13; you’ll hear about how I got absolutely
humiliated by a coach, following a couple of bad outings, and what I did to turn my
career around from that. And one of the things I did was I learned
to meditate, and one of the things I learned in meditation was the power of the belly breath. So the belly breath is the way that little babies
breathe it’s basically – their stomach goes out and in like a bellows – you know, those things that blow
air into a fireplace. So most of us now as adults breathe from our
shoulders. And without me getting into the functionality
of breathing – because I honestly don’t care that much about the functionality of breathing
– and I really dont care about you know, like the health benefits of a belly breath – but
what I’ll tell you is that when you meditate, the ideal thing is to count your breaths as
you push your belly in, and push your belly out. So I was counting my breaths as I sat there
meditating on my career, trying to improve my outcomes and visualize myself pitching
well, I would sit there and I would go (breathes in, then out) one….two… And as I sat there and as
I got better at meditating, and I sat there belly-breathing for 20-30 minutes at a time,
every day for a couple years, I’d sit there in this incredibly relaxed state; I’d melt
into the floor, I’d start to fall asleep sometimes when I was tired, but I, when I got my feet
wet in meditating I got very very relaxed in this very very calm place where I was in
control of everything. Over time I learned to visualize and I basically
played myself as a video game on the mound and watched myself in my head go out and dominate
everybody. And as I did that I would sit there breathing
from my belly. And what this does is when you go back out
on the field and you find yourself in trouble – whether it’s bases loaded and no one out
in the second inning; a couple of runs are already in – “Oh Crap! If I give up another hit that’s five runs
for the day and I’m gonna get yanked and my day is over. Or, you know, uh, big run on third base, big
hitter up it’s 2-0 and you have to throw him a change up. Can you relax enough to stay calm and execute
that changeup? When we all feel that pressure – “God, I’ve
got to locate this pitch perfectly” – the pressure is what gets in the way of us making
quality pitches and executing. So, the role of the belly breath was to bring
me back – was the basically, imagine a helicopter comes down and grabs me – extracts me from
the battlefield and takes me out of there. The belly breath was my way of extracting
myself from that pressure situation. So as I’m out here – bases loaded, best hitter is up, no one out, 2-0 count and I’m screwed, I’m gonna throw him a 2-0 curveball
and if I miss I’m 3-0 and I’m gonna have to throw a fastball and he’s gonna hit a tank. Before my pitch, I come set (breathes in,
and breathes out) Belly Breath. And I would just feel – it would just take
me back to that tranquil place, like, my place where I’m in my head dominating and this guy
is a chump, and I’m calm and I’m relaxed and I can execute under pressure. So I would come set, take that belly breath
and I’d feel, I’d feel the calmness and the confidence wash over me, and then it was time
to execute that pitch and let that guy at the plate know that he’s NOTHING; he’s nothing
compared to me. Right? That’s what meditation, that’s what the power
of visualization does and the belly breath was a tool for me to get that in the game. So even if you don’t start a meditation practice
– and I highly suggest that you do – start taking a belly breath when you’re out there
on the mound. It’s your way to let yourself know (breathes
in, breathes out) “this is my time, I’m going to calm down, and I’m going to get my confidence
and execute.” Alright? Little mental tip that I wanted to share today
that you can take out on the mound – or take into the batter’s box – I think anywhere really
in your life you can use it to get your confidence back when you feel it slipping away.

3 thoughts on “How Mental Training Can Improve Pitching Performance

  • September 16, 2018 at 6:24 am

    Good stuff man

  • October 2, 2018 at 2:56 am

    Thanks bro for this

  • February 18, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    very happy we found your channel,  kids coming up through Daddy Baseball leagues and small travel teams the coaches never talked about the mental aspects or protecting the arms , excellent job great videos


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