One of the most difficult things to do is to keep your focus on the process, not the results. We are a result-orientated society. That is to say if we don’t get the results we want right away, we believe we have failed. After all, no one wants to put work into something only to not achieve the desired results. But that’s baseball, and more importantly, that’s pitching. We can really only learn from mistakes. Missed location that a hitter drills over the fence; mechanics flying all over the place which hurts our consistency in the zone; throwing the wrong pitch in a particular count or to a hitter; those are just some examples.
The process can be relative to so many things, it’s simply a matter of applying it to one thing or another. I’ll try to explain. Everyone wants to be successful on the mound and throw with velocity while having great off-speed pitches. But those things don’t just happen. If you sit on the couch for a year and then go pitch only to not achieve success, can you really be upset? You haven’t worked on anything relative to pitching so how can you be bummed out by the result, right?
The secret is this: the process continues until the day your career is over. If you have a handful of good outings and are completely satisfied with the results, you may feel you have nothing to work on. But there is ALWAYS something to perfect. You can work on the process of your mindset, holding runners, location, strength and conditioning, velocity, thought process, etc. If you threw perfect games each and every outing, then I have nothing to tell you. You are simply the perfect pitcher. But we all know to throw a perfect game each and every time you take the mound is simply not realistic. You can always find at least 1-2 things you can get better at.
If you’re trying to perfect your mechanics, don’t worry about the result of where the ball ended up after a couple pitches. Why? Because you’re working on something to make yourself better. Let’s break it down and say you’re working on getting your arm in a good slot consistently. If you throw 10 pitches and didn’t throw one strike, who cares!? How does your arm feel when you throw a ball from a good arm slot. If it feels great, then stick with it. Do not get discouraged because you didn’t achieve the results you wanted right away. Keep with it and continue throwing the ball. Your body will make the adjustment if you dedicate your mind and body to what you’re trying to do. That is just a very small part of the process.
The “process” mindset lets you accept your failures and find out what you need to do better. It tries to let you focus on the big picture rather than the small picture. Of course, we would like to have the results we so desire each and every time we take the mound, but the truth is that’s not always the case. Understand that in order to achieve the desired results, you have to put the work and time in.
Find one or two things to really work on. Work on those things each day with the goal that 6 months from now, it will be perfected. After those six months, continue to work on those things while adding another couple things to get better. And continue to repeat that process for the rest of your career. At the end of the day, at least you can say that you did everything within your control to make yourself a better overall pitcher.
So remember, focus on the process and not the results.