Why Ball Players Go to a Safe Throw

How to Overcome the Yips

Josh recently wrote to me about his struggles in the bullpen when catching…

“I have recently struggled in, not only the bullpen, but throws to bases in practice as well as simply playing catch. Yesterday, my only struggle was in the bullpen, no problem during warm up. Do you have any advice as how to improve when I am in the bullpen? I am hoping to at least be able to throw the ball back normally with relative accuracy.”

This is a super common issue for ball players…

But why would catching in the bullpen, not even a game, cause problems for Josh? It’s just warm up, right?

Having trouble throwing in the bullpen, in warm up, and around the bases is all rooted in fear of embarrassment or what others might think.

One bad throw leads to worry about making more bad throws and what teammates and coaches will think or how they might react.

This leads ball players to go to what I call a “safe throw,” which you might think of as a soft lob.

With the lob throw, you have less of a chance to look silly because less chance of embarrassment.

But in many cases the lob starts to become inconsistent due to over control and thinking too much about a bad outcome.

Sound familiar? “Right on Dr. Cohn, but what’s the solution?” you ask.

The main goal when you have the yips is getting back to throwing freely, intuitively, and using your “normal” throw with pace. You don’t want to reinforce the safe throw or lob.

This keeps you stuck in the mindset that you can’t use your normal throw and it’s feels safer to use the lob.

How to Throw More Freely:

First, you have to focus on hitting your target and not avoid a negative result, such as spiking the ball. Keep the images in your mind positive.

Second, let go of the worry about what others will think if you make a bad throw–that’s too much pressure–and often irrational.

Remember that your fear of a bad throw–and what that means to you–drives the over thinking and over control.

Stop focusing on the mechanics of throwing or over controlling your release or arm slot, for example.

And if you want more help with overcoming the lob throw, contact me about one-on-one mental coaching for the yips.

Related Baseball Articles:

Yips Cure

Get Expert Mental Game Coaching for Yips!

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You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!

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