Few team sports can be dominated by one position as totally as softball. Pitchers set the pace of the game, and when they’re in the zone, hitters often don’t stand a chance. Consistency around the strike zone is critical if pitchers hope to give their team a chance to win. But what can pitchers do to keep that consistency going, especially when batters start to find a good rhythm against them?
For U.S. Olympic team pitcher Cat Osterman, getting back into the groove is as easy as closing her eyes. “I imagine myself throwing the pitch, seeing the pitch actually break like I really want it to,” the hard-throwing lefty says.
Osterman developed this mental approach while playing at the University of Texas, where she tossed 28 shutouts and seven perfect games (!) while going 38-4.
Osterman typically uses this visualizing technique between starts. However, if things aren’t going her way during a game, she’ll find a quiet spot in the dugout and visualize her perfect pitch.
“It’s not 100 percent going to be that remedy every time,” she says, “but it’s nice because then it kind of reassures me that I do know what I’m doing, and I do know that I can do it.”