You often hear people say that baseball is 90% mental and I don’t think that statement could be any more true in our game than it is right now. The pressure is always high no matter what position you play but I feel like there is an even greater pressure on the relievers. The expectation for us is always perfection: get every batter you face out and do not give up any runs.
When you pitch as often as relievers do, you have to be prepared for when you have a bad game or if you find yourself caught in a slump. You can’t rebound from a tough game just by going through another workout or bullpen session. All players constantly work on mental toughness and that often goes on away from the eyes of fans.
There are all sorts of mental tools that help execute my job on the mound. Positive muscle memory is an important part of being a consistent, dominant pitcher. Any time that I make a great pitch, I take a mental snapshot of it so that I can relive that moment over and over. Forcing my body to reproduce those pitches. It is also important to visualize what I am going to do before I do it. Before each batter, even if just for a split second, I try to picture what I am going to do before it happens.
Staying focused on my successes and fighting through my slumps mentally has been just as helpful for me as anything I can do physically. The grind and stress of relief pitching can be hard to handle but when you have great teammates and a top notch support staff, you can succeed.