Jim Clem: Character traits & 6 pieces of advice for winning pitchers (transcribed)

Originally posted in article Jim Clem: Character Traits & 6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers, published February 26, 2015.

6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers: #1-3. Warm Up, Practice, & Write it Down!

6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers: #4. Positive Thinking

6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers: #5. Routine = breathing + visualizing

6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers: #6. Beware Your Choice in Music

Transcription of interview conducted by Lindsey Wilson, Positive Performance Training


Lindsey: So talk me through, yeah, and maybe give an example of an athlete that you worked with. If I was coming to you again and I was a pitcher and I was very talented, but really didn't know what I was doing, you know, maybe hadn't been coached, what are the routines that we would put in together, pre-game, during game, post-game. You know, what are the things that you teach most athletes, at least, most pitchers?

Jim: Okay. So we'll do an exercise warm-up. We'll start with a warm-up and we work from the toes, from the toes to the head, just stretching and warming up our bodies. I think most people understand the importance of stretching and preparation before you pick up a ball and just start cranking on it, you know? And so, once you get the stretches out of the way, then we'll do once we go into playing catch, our catch is always with a purpose. You know, it's a very short distance and so, you know, we'll start close and we keep working back, but we'll always throw in at a target, whether it's, you know, the chest or the knee or whatever it is. You know, we'll pick out a spot and try to hit it every single time. So that throwing athletes especially pitchers, Lindsey, are unfortunately, you know, they can't practice pitching every day, they just can't do it. Their arms can't take it. But they still need to practice every day if they're going to get better.

Lindsey: Right.

Jim: And so you still have to practice the motion. And so we will practice, you know, we'll have, we'll break the motion down into pieces. And we will practice each piece of the motion. Striding towards home plate and being on balance is one that I like to do with their eyes closed. The visualization of striding towards home, feeling that you're on balance, going then through the entire motion with your eyes closed, that visualization process of knowing what your body is doing without you actually having your eyes open. You'll find how quickly you can lose your balance with your eyes closed. And so it's trusting that once they've learned the motion, that you can now do it with your eyes closed. You can literally do it with your eyes closed. And then once you do it with your eyes closed, you know, I like to put them on a line, whether it's a foul line or we're in a building like a gym floor that has all sorts of lines. I want them on a line someplace, or they're in a dirt area, I'll have them draw a line. And so they put their, if they're right-handed, they get into the, like if you're putting your foot in front of the rubber. And then you'll draw a line out of your toe straight down towards home plate or towards your partner that you're throwing to. And then when you land with your other foot, it should be on that line, your left toe, then, should be hitting that line. And if they're not hitting that line, then you know, that tells them, I mean, that is immediate feedback as to whether they're throwing open or closed and you know, we don't want to become a rotational thrower. You know, that's what we call it's kind of rotating from side to side. We want to be getting over the top and over and through. So bending over and if you don't step on the line, you're going to become rotational and you're not going to really get through the pitch, so to speak, over and through. That's a throwing athlete over the top. But I think it relates very, this all relates to fast pitch, as well. They have their motion and they know exactly where they should be and when they're on time. And they should be able to do that with their eyes closed, too. You know, eventually, I think you can do it, you can throw with your eyes closed. You can do that motion with your eyes closed. You know, you start with your eyes open, then you see the target, and then you start your motion and you close your eyes and you visualize that target all the way through your motion.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. Head never moves, head always stays on target. The head is only going in to the glove, you know, it's going down and through and into the glove. And that head just stays on the line all the way into the target. That's something that you can practice with a ball or without a ball. And I think it helps people learn how to visualize. If you don't know how to visualize, you got to start somewhere. And sometimes, I like them to start with a happy place in your life. I mean, what place always felt good to you? You know, and oftentimes, it's grandma's kitchen, it's a vacation spot with your family. Maybe they had a cabin in the woods that they went to. You know, whatever it is. You know, maybe it's going fishing in his favorite fishing hole. But I try to give them examples of, so that they can, oh, yeah, okay. You know, I love the smell of my mom's spaghetti, you know? And that kind of thing so I can start to visualize and have and then start writing down the details of that visualization, you know, what is that you remember, what really does trigger those cats? You know, what triggers those cats? It's that happy feeling, that tall confidence of knowing what you can expect. That's a big thing and so with pitchers, to be calm in the moment of, you know, that's probably very chaotic, you know, a lot's going on around you. the game's sped up, hitters are in. There are all sorts of noise and there's a lot of things that are just happening while you're trying to concentrate on pitching. And you've got to be able to come back to those dry runs, that routine, of this is, I received the ball so it's this, we spell it out to this degree. The catcher throws the ball back to you, it's how you walk back to the, you know, to the top of the mound. As you do that, as you're walking back, you're breathing while you're doing that. Okay? You step on top of the rubber, you get the next sign, and you breathe again. And that sign is telling you what pitch it is and so you know, the little verbal cue of each pitch and I don't know whether it's the fastball, curveball, the slider or the change-up. There's always a verbal cue, the positive thought before you do it. You know, which they have their own little reminders of what helps them individually that we will have identified.

Lindsey: Is it different—

Jim: A lot of pitchers...

Lindsey: It's different for each pitch?

Jim: Yeah. It can be. But with every pitch, I think typically, what pitchers will do is they'll get, typically they're tentative rather than overly aggressive typically. Especially young pitchers. And so it'll always come back to get over and through, get over and through, or finish the pitch. Whatever makes them, you know, complete the delivery with maximum, you know, effort. Because sometimes they hold back. They just can't let it go, they want to pitch carefully, they want to hit that spot, and by hitting that spot they do it like throwing a dart by being very careful and precise instead of just, you know, allowing the process to hey, trust yourself, you've done this motion a million times. You've thrown to that target in your mind a million times. Trust it, let it go, get over, get through. Breathe and attack. Breathe and attack. And so those little messages are different for each guy 'cause I've got to get to know their personalities a little bit and also what they do or what they don't do so well. And then give them a message to just tell themselves between pitches. It might be as simple as "I'm the best." You know? I'm the best. I'm the absolute best. And you know, just that verbal cue of what it takes to stay confident and trust your routines. Your routine's actually are what take over in compete—they do, they just take over. Whether you like them or not, that's why it's really important to develop a good routine. And so we'll practice those routines every time they throw a flat ground, every time they throw a pitch in the bullpen, that breathing, and those thoughts go and are part of the practice. They just have to be, they're, you know, the visualization, the breathing. That's all part of your practice, it's expected to be practice. And I want them to get so that they can do it without me having to tell them to. But I'll recognize my message, we have a sit-down before every practice, before we ever even take the field to practice before we do our warm-up exercises, I'll meet with all the pitchers in the bullpen. I ask the catchers to come, too, I want our catchers to be a part of that team. The position players are meeting with their position coaches. And so my mess— I have a message, a written message on my practice sheet every day so I can bring a different message each day. But the theme will always be about empowering them. You know, it's always before practice, I want to empower them to get something out of this today. What am I going to take out of this today? Let me tell you what I think would be a really valuable thing for you to work on today. and then it's, you know, here's the message. And I like to say I think, you can stop me at any time—

Lindsey: No, this is fascinating.

Jim: Okay. Well, the power of positive thinking is something that is a big part of my messages, and so I think your greatest coaches are also excellent teachers. And so to be a great teacher, you have to know how to turn on your students. You have to know how to not only to motivate them, but you have to know how to gain their trust, so that the information that you're giving them, they believe it. They say, "Hey, man he's right. I need to try this, I need to do this." So many times, they are afraid to try because again, it comes back to the fear of failure, "I'll look stupid in front of my friends” or “That doesn't work for me. I've tried it, it doesn't work."

Lindsey: Well, I mean, I really love how you talked about, you know, most people hold themselves back. Most of it is under-performing, not over-performing, right? And I think that's really true because the risk of failure of over-pitching or overplaying or over-anything is looking like the guy in Bull Durham who hits the mascot, right? I mean, that's far more embarrassing, right, than something that people can't tell as much unless it's your coach or yourself or your teammates. You know, the public can't necessarily tell if you're underplaying or under-performing, right?

Jim: No, you're right. But I think if you were to show up at a game, Lindsey, with your training, you could tell if a player was performing, especially a pitcher, I think you could tell if they were performing relaxed or stressed. I just know you could, your training, you could walk right in and go, wow, that person's tense. Because you could watch their body language, you could watch how they breathe. You could watch how much time they take between pitches or you know, is their routine the same or is it erratic? I mean, you could walk right in right now and go, I can see why that person's being successful or I can see why that person is struggling. And not know anything about him.

Lindsey: I think other people might be able to some degree. I mean, that's why we watch sports. We can tell when people are kind of one with the game, for lack of a better term, right? But it's still—I think from an athlete's perspective, the risk is more when they are overdoing it. Right? I think that's that fear of failure, and I think that really comes back to what you were talking about with the trust. Like the ability to trust yourself and trust the process and trust your coach to say you know what? That's okay to feel the flow and it's going to land in the right place. You're not going to hit the mascot.

Jim: That's right. And that it's okay to fail. And it's okay, it's—you got to expect that things... I like to prepare teams and individuals for expecting that the worst could happen. What's the worst possible thing that you could imagine happening? And somebody hits a grand slam off of you, a lock-off grand slam. Okay. We're not going to think about that when we're on the mound, but I want you to think about that even in the back of your mind, you know that's a possibility. Because it is, you know? But what we want to get to is not focusing on bad experiences. Not something in our past and not something that we fear could happen to us in the future. What we want to focus on is what went well and why it well and kind of working on focusing for what we are able to do rather than what we aren't able to do. That's the biggest thing, and so yes, to me, fear is a motivator for practice. And getting a routine. That should motivate you to eliminate fear, here's the plan how to do that. And that's every athlete wants to eliminate fear. Especially fear of failure and fear while they're performing. And so if you as a coach can release them of their fear, you've already given them a foundation to be successful. They're going to be the best they can be that day based on their skill set. You know, and their emotional control and all of that. If they just aren't afraid to perform. And it might not mean they're going to win it, it might not mean they're going to be the best, but my whole thing with athletes is hey, I don't want you to be the best, I just want you to e your best. You know? We can't expect that we're going to be the best 'cause we haven't arrived there yet. Bu this is the process to allow you to be your best and who knows? Maybe that will make you the best.

Lindsey: Right.

Jim: But we've got to come back to how can I be the best I can be and I'm going to recognize what that is, you're going to recognize what that is. and only compare yourself to yourself. You know? That’s' the only thing that matters here is what you're getting out of this to allow yourself to be the best that you can be. And you know what? Your best might be better than somebody else who has a lot more talent than you just because your best is allowing you to be in control of the physical, the mental, emotional, and the spiritual parts of you. You are a whole person and some of these other guys that have great talent, they're only one-dimensional. They're only the physical piece. So they're going to go out there and implode on certain days when things aren't going right. You will never implode. You are a trained athlete who will never implode because you have taken the time to develop a plan that's going to allow you to be in control of your emotions and even mental toughness and your spiritual awareness. The physical piece, we know you've done that because there's a plan. Every team has a plan for the physical piece. You're going to get all your work in every day, every player's going to get their work in every day. But what else can we do above and beyond getting our work in that's going to separate us from the pack, and that is the mental toughness, the emotional control, and the spiritual awareness. that's the complete player. That's how you arise above the rest, and that's also how you become the best you can be. So here's the routine: we got to learn how to breathe and visualize. And then that emotional control that we talked about, you know, controlling the cortisols and cats, you have to know that your routine is going to spike cats. It's going to. You're going to have self-talk all the time that's just positive. Positive, positive, positive. "I can do it" or you know, get over and through. To me, it's just getting over and through tells me what to do, it's a positive thing. I'm going to get over and through and because I'm going to get over and through I'm going to hit my target. You know, I'm going to constantly give myself positive messages. Any negative vibe at any time that you're feeling, step off the rubber, step back off the mound, take a breath, go to your happy place, step back up, and start over. Don't make a pitch when you aren't feeling the positive vibe. Don't do it. Train yourself not to allow yourself to pitch unless you got a positive vibe going. You know, it's the same way for me with free-throw shooting. I think that anybody, to me I can teach anybody how to throw strikes. I don't care if they're a pitcher or not, there isn't anybody that I can't teach to throw strikes. And people laugh at that statement, but you know, in high school, as a high school coach, you're getting all these kids that come in your program, many of which have never pitched before. But as freshmen, I make them all go through the pitching exercises and drills and so my plus is, everybody's a pitcher until proven otherwise. And so all 25 of those kids are going to learn how to pitch. And so we do the dry runs and so what I want them to gain is an appreciation for pitching. Lindsey: Yeah. Jim: So that when they're in a position they can get behind that pitcher and not get down on it when he's not throwing strikes or they're starting to hit a little bit. They can understand how hard that task is and they can get behind him and give him positive vibes and feedback and kind of pick that person up. 'Cause they're only going to go as far as your pitching takes you. That's the bottom line. I don't care, people can talk 'til they're blue in the face, Lindsey, about fielding and hitting and all these other things. But I guarantee you, if you don't pitch well, you are not going to win games. I mean, it's that simple. So every player—so why not teach every player on your team what that is about? and maybe, you know, maybe they won't continue on as pitchers, but seven or eight of those guys we make sure that they continue on as pitchers so we're never short of pitching if we have lineups we got to play five games in a week, we've always got people who can do it, we're not relying on the same two or three guys. You know, and I just think that your depth of knowledge as a team is so much greater, because they're all going to get the hitting training, doesn't matter what position, we're all going to do it. they're all going to get ground balls and fly balls if they're a position player, they're all going to get it. But so why not teach them all how to pitch? Just like you would fielding and hitting. So that they can understand what that is.

Lindsey: Yeah, I like that.

Jim: Yeah, it's just—and so pretty soon, you got all these kids on a team that think they know something about pitching and they start talking pitching and they start talking about the importance because they sit in on my pitcher's talk. And they learn the routine and so they understand why is he taking so long with this particular pitch and they'll understand, oh, no big deal, he's just getting his positive thoughts going again.

Lindsey: Right.

Jim: He's getting that breathing down, he's getting that relaxation down. They can learn from that so that when they, before that pitch, I tell them, that's your chance, you got to expect the next ball's going to get hit to you. You need to be relaxed so that you can make that play and you can make the great play, not just the average play. You got to be relaxed, you know, so you go to that happy place in your mind that allows you to make that play to make that throw. Imagine yourself throwing the guy out at home plate. You know, this ball's coming to you and you're going to make that play. You're ready for it. And so we can all relax and go there between pitches. And it's the same way with hitting. I sent you a couple of pictures of my son while they were doing their breathing during competition.

Lindsey: Yeah, I have a couple of those, I think.

Jim: Yeah, they're there, I know you're busy and probably don't have time to look at—

Lindsey: No, I have them.

Jim: Oh, okay. Well, with Zack, those were actual at-bats when he was stepping out and doing his breathing between pitches. And Zack was, I think most people would tell you that he was the, you know, he hit—his career he was a 320 hitter and with power. So he had an average and power. Really hard to do because that's one of those things you either swing hard or you don't and I think that the breathing part, he carried over allowed himself to be successful as a hitter. Jake, on the other hand, the breathing part allowed him to be successful as a pitcher. And what are you looking at, how are you stepping off the back of the rubber, you know, I like for the pitcher to actually look at the on deck hitter as he's coming up to bat. Because I want the on-deck hitter to get a message that I'm not afraid of you. And I can't wait for you to step in there so that I can attack you with my best stuff. And so when you see Jake looking over at the dugout standing off, he's looking at that hitter coming up, that's what he's sending that message, I can't wait for you to get in there.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, and so when he's standing on the mount getting that pitch so that the other picture I sent you, it's the calmness on his face, the calmness on his body language, the breath that he had just taken, and is now ready to start his motion. You can see the calmness, you know, just in how he's standing there. So I sent you as a hitter and as a pitcher how the breathing piecee can be incorporated into a game and you have to recognize as a player how important that is. It has to be part of your routine, you can't just say, oh, gosh, this is a big moment, I need to stop and breathe. No, I mean, you've already made the moment bigger than you should've. You know?

Lindsey: Right.

Jim: Right?

Lindsey: Yeah, well, and I think that the—well, they're practicing ahead of time, right? I mean, I think that's the thing that—we work with athletes a lot on is everybody wants the magic something. When this happens, what do I do and it's—there's really no magic to it, right? But it becomes, those tools become sort of magical if you practiced them ahead of time but not wait until you really need them.

Jim: That's exactly right, and that's why you practice them every practice. You know? Every time you're pitching, so we'll stay with pitching, I guess, but I think it's just the same for hitters and fielders. You know, before the coach is about to hit you a ground ball, you take your breath and you relax and so that your quick twitch muscles are going to react for you. It's the same way with a hitter. I mean, you breathe and you relax and your quick twitch muscles are going to react for you and your brain is clear and you can react faster. Pitching is the same way and so with staying with pitching that's practicing those things daily, and then it's routine, you know? No situation is too big because it's just what we do every time. I love to use the example of like, of teaching like I coach basketball, too. And I know that, you know, free-throw shooting typically is a different motion of shooting for most players than it is when they're shooting a jump shot from the floor. Most people don't jump-don't jump shot their free throws which I find kind of interesting, right? why we don't use the same—why don't we shot the same way? Well, for whatever reason, we don't. We use more of a set shot kind of motion when we shot free throws. Because I guess it's just more of a control, right? I mean, it's an interesting one to me that we don't shoot the same way from the floor that we do on the free throw line.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jim: But what I think is important for free-throw shooting, again, it comes down to me, like pitching, you know, you know what? There's no time limit here, the clock's not running. I can step back, I can breathe, I can do my routine. You know, it's three bounces, it's pick up the hoop. Follow through and it's up and in, you know? Whatever your verbals are. But the breathing, the visualization, I think everybody could be a tremendous free throw shooter if they just knew how to do that. Both my kids were tremendous free-throw shooters. And it was just one of those things that they'd learned how to breathe. They learned how to relax. They learned how to do that whole thing. And so we treated free-throw shooting like, you know, before a pitch or before anything you do in baseball, we treated free throw shooting just like that. And I think it's, you know, I think there's no reason. It just killed me when I see a free-throw shooter step up to the line and rush it. You know? And they don't pick up the hoop until they've already let the ball out of their hand and it's like, really? You know? why did you rush that? I mean, there was no reason to rush it. But they didn't have a routine, you know? they didn't know how to breathe, they didn't know how to visualize. You know, it's like they're afraid to even be out there, you know, with all eyes on them. They just got to step back, relax, visualize, and you know, bingo, down it goes, you know?

Lindsey: Yeah, well, every sport has their moments, right? And there's so much commonalities across the sports, it doesn't matter if you're hitting or shooting or kicking, whatever, those moments, those, like you said, people make them bigger than they are, though. But that key is really practicing that ahead of time. So fascinating stuff, coach, I just think everything you're saying is not only applicable to pitching and baseball and softball, but like you said, every sport, really. And I think the way that I would love to finish this up is you know, just what advice would you give, let's stay with the pitching or softball/baseball and maybe pitching in particular because like you said, it really does all come down to pitching. I mean, all this softball and baseball coaches I talk to, that's the focus, right? So what advice would you give with them?

Jim: Okay. I would say it's important to develop a routine. And then you got to be able to repeat your delivery. You need to have a positive mindset and a belief system in place that will allow you to be all that you can be. I think, you know, in kind of your core values, really, Lindsey, I think, that come into question when you start putting in a routine and belief system together. you know, and I really think that spiritual piece, the kind of like, spiritual to me isn't necessarily religion. I think sometimes people think that and they think of it as being religious all of a sudden and they don't know quite, they haven't explored life enough to really know if they are religious, and if they are, how are they, and what type and what kind, and what do I [inaudible 1:05:30]. But I think spiritual comes back to this. I mean, the core values. There's, you know, just what kind of character traits do you possess? What kind of character traits do you wish you possessed? You know, how do you want to be remembered? You know? What qualities do you look for in a friend and you know, what qualities, you know, would you want your teammates to possess? what character traits do you think are the most important to develop? I think that list of questions is a really good exercise for a team. And then once you kind of exercise what kind of character traits do you possess, you know, ask them to pair off with a teammate that you're close to or you trust, and ask them, you know, have them write down what character traits that you possess and I think you'll find that oftentimes, they view you differently that you view yourself. And the things that they'll view you as really good information to give you because you can see how you're affecting people. and then you can also see that you know what? They see me as you know, whatever, as you know, whatever a good friend is, you know, I'm calm or I'm, you know, I'm kind, I'm whatever, I mean, all these things. and you maybe never thought of yourself that way, but it's important to know how you're affecting people because in a team setting, there can't be any negative vibes. And so the negative vibes, you have to know how you're affecting not only yourself, but others. And we need to know that as a coach that we kind of set the tone, but the players will be the ones who carry it out and so they have to be on the same page, too. And so I think that in the end, it's really important to know whenever there's a put-down said, that it's nipped in the bud, whether a teammate hears it and the coach didn't or the coach hears it, or even if it's a negative thing to yourself, like you know, all of a sudden, you're not hitting very well and you're just kind of, "I suck." You know? It's like, seriously? Is that the message we want to send ourselves before we take the next swing?

Lindsey: Right.

Jim: And then you know? It's like, okay, stop. I'll stop everything when I hear something like that. I'll stop an entire practice, I'll stop everything that's going on when I hear a negative thing said that I think can impact not only you but the people around you, because now all of a sudden other people are wasting energy trying to bring you up. You know? We can't afford to go there. We already need to be way ahead of that, and we're going to say, no, I can do it. No, I'll try this. You know, next time I'm going to do even better. Whatever, it's just over and over or I can do it, I can do it, I can do it. And so I think that's really important and I think that the power of positive thinking is what gives you emotional control and helps you be in the positive spirit or a positive spirit and you're [inaudible 1:09:05] out on the field. If you have positive thoughts, use positive words, and that's why as a coach, you should get a thesaurus or whatever it is you need to find all the different words that you can use to help describe a moment. One word, you know, is amazing catalyst for the mind to start thinking the positive things that you want them to think. Good coaches are good teachers and good teachers have language commands that will motivate their students or athletes to think however it is they want whatever way they want them to think.

Lindsey: Oh, I see, so use different words if you're trying to get them to relax, you want them to say, learn calm and relax and...

Jim: Yes. That's exactly, yup. And then in that process, promote kindness and generosity. You know, that you're feeling these—you have this special feeling for your team, um, that allows you, we're all going to exude this positive energy towards each other because that will set us free. We aren't worried about what our teammates are thinking about us. You know? That's a huge one and we're going to play as a team and we're going to get through, you know, anything, we'll get through anything. So that when the tough moments are there in the ball game, you don't wilt and melt and you know, and just go and the game gets away from you. Rather, you relish in the moment together and the excitement than you're having of being on the cusp of something great and it's, you know, I think pitchers are no different than any other athlete, but the problem is that there's in baseball, so much rides on your pitchers that you know, I think every, you know, that's why they have a pitching coach. those pitchers need a lot of attention every day, practicing the little things that will allow them to be successful. And it needs to be monitored, you know, you need to be there, you need—I watched every flat ground and every bullpen that's been thrown. You know? I'm there for every one of them. I think it's important that they know that you know what they're doing and I think it's important that they get the feedback that they need on a daily basis so that they can continue to progress however it is that you're, whatever it is that you're working on that way. I think coaches need to understand that coaching pitchers is not as hard as people make it to be. You know, there's a motion, there's a proper motion, and you know, your knowledge is power, it's true, that saying is very true. And so the more knowledge you can acquire, the better, but it comes down to having a trained eye as a pitching coach. People that work with pitchers or hitters or fielders, you need a trained eye. you don't always have time to go look at videotape.

Lindsey: Right.

Jim: And so you've got to have that trained eye so that during the course of a practice or a game, you can say, oh, no, hey, you need to do this or here's what you're doing, you need to work on this. And so yes, knowledge is important, but then understanding the commands that will give them mental toughness and emotional control and spiritual awareness, those commands, the command of the English language or whatever language you're speaking, your words will become your thoughts, and so you need to really make sure that you choose your words carefully and have a vocabulary that you know works. Don't randomly pick words out of the sky, you know, that you've never used before, and expect it to be successful as a coach, you need to know what words work. And stay on that. Keep adding words to your vocabulary so you can reach the in another way so the message isn't the same all the time. But you know, but definitely know what it is you want to say so that you're opening up their mind to being able to stay positive all the time. I don't know, it's not as hard as people make it, but for some reason, we focus on failure rather than focusing on, you know, the ability to succeed and that's the mental training piece that, that's why people like you are needed, because people don't know how to make a routine, they don't know how, what words to choose. And they don't know what thoughts to put in their head to combat the negative ones that creep in there.

Lindsey: Right. Well, I have to say your pitchers are lucky to have you there to help them through this process. I can only imagine how much you've taught them and all of them at every level and I'm sure you've impacted them far off the field, so that's pretty cool.

Jim: Well, thank you. You know, I always think that we've always pitched well wherever I've been. And the pitchers are the ones who need to take credit for that 'cause they're the ones throwing the pitches. But the training that you provide or I provide it will help them not only make good pitches, but it's going to help them succeed in life, how to deal with that adversity that comes up. Every single day that you face. You know, it's the truth.

Lindsey: Absolutely.

Jim: Yeah, I mean it's who you become, I mean, your words, you know, they'll decide what you think, I mean, that's just so true and you know? It even comes down to this, Lindsey, I will make sure that there is no negative music on the background going on any place that I'm a part of. You know? I don't like, it's just I think of it needs to be upbeat, it needs to be positive, and I think music is such a big thing because it's on all the time. You know? And so yeah, okay. It might make you feel good, but what message is that really sending, you know?

Lindsey: I agree.

Jim: Yeah, it's just the beat that's making you feel good, the message is horrific. You know? Let's find something better, we're better than that. And most young people go, are you kidding me? You're going to tell me what music I got to listen to? But guess what, I'm in charge of what's coming over the loudspeakers, so you know, when you're on my time, this is what you're listening to.

Lindsey: It's good to try that line.

Jim: Yeah, right. Right? And so but it's the same thing, you know, I just think it's you are what you think, you are what you eat, you are what you say. Pretty soon, all that stuff matters.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jim: Training. And so you know, I don't think that that's he only thing that causes you to be successful but I think success comes easier when you put yourself, you know, kind of standing for the right things, doing the right things.

Lindsey: Absolutely. And then you can feel good whether it works out, you succeed or you fail, you still have your character to stand behind, right?

Jim: Absolutely. Your integrity is still in place.

Lindsey: Yeah. Well, coach, I can—

Jim: Time to go.

Lindsey: No, there's a lot of other things I hope that you'll come back and talk to us, there's like, I've been taking notes and there's quite a few things that I feel like we could do a whole cold talk on, so I'll keep those notes and hopefully we can connect about that but I really, you know, like I said earlier, when we were talking just in our prep, our mission here is to take mental training to the athletes that need it and it's always such a pleasure to connect with people that have that same passion and have been living that and really impacting athletes on the ground level and it's such an honor to get your insight and I think this is going to really help some coaches implement some skills with their pitchers, so appreciate your time very much.

Jim: I'm happy to do it. One other thing, just you asked on that outline I see here, what are the changes that you've seen in the last 20 years or so, and I think most coaches will tell you that it's dealing with parents.

Lindsey: Right.

Jim: And so my thoughts on that are very simply, you know, you need to know that you're not just coaching the athletes. You know? You need to know that you're coaching the parent now, too. And so you need to have meetings for those parents and you need to have guidelines with what they can and can't do and Mike Matheny is a manager for the St. Louis Cardinals. He wrote a letter to parents, he was coaching a youth team, and that letter is on the internet and it is sensational.

Lindsey: Really? I'll have to look at that.

Jim: You might well look that up. But you got to have more meetings and guidelines and probably softer social functions that you didn't have before. You know, those kinds of things. You got to control your parents, too, I mean, they're, you got to have everybody working together and that's hard to do if you don't work at it.

Lindsey: Yeah. Right. At really every level now. So, well, thanks again, Coach. Really appreciate your time. Okay, have a great day.

Jim: You take care, stay in touch.

Lindsey: Okay, take care. Bye.


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