This idea ties into the “process”. In this case, it is important to be honest with yourself. I was working with a young pitcher who was simply not being honest. He’d say he had 6 strikeouts in three innings, his control was pretty good, and he didn’t really get hit. Each and every week I would hear something similar to that and I started getting suspicious. I finally checked out his stats and to my surprise, he had walked almost as many people as there are in California. I mean, it was bad. And to top that off, he had hit more batters than he struck out. Point being, how are you going to find something to work on if you’re not being honest with what’s really going on?
Here’s the idea behind the Work On/Build On mindset. First, be honest with yourself. Critique your performance. What did you do really well? Was anything just awful? What could you have done better?
Let’s say your curveball was fantastic. Great! Don’t just stop throwing it that much, build on that success of a pitch. Remember the grip in your hand, the spin of the ball, the feeling during its release. Those are things to build off of to make that curveball even sharper.
Now let’s say you did a poor job with the location of your fastball. You kept missing up in the zone and couldn’t throw it inside or outside to save your life. Ok great, now we have identified an issue with inconsistent location. Really get to work on that. Your focus should be on figuring out how to locate a good fastball so you should get to work on finding if there is a mechanical flaw or simply a lack of focus. Either way, put the majority of your time into resolving the issue.
In those two cases above, I would spend more time working on my fastball location and less time on my curveball. The reason is because I have a great feel for my curveball and don’t need to put hours into each day. I would throw a handful to work on the spin and keep my feel of the pitch so I can build on my success. I would hammer away on locating my fastball. Whether it be due to mechanics or mentality or lack of confidence, I am going to work on that more than other things until I get to the point where I feel comfortable. In other words, I’ll keep working on that until I start to have some success that I can build off of.
Work On/Build ON. It’s very similar to focusing on the process. And as with the process, there is always something we can continue to work on and build on.