Guardians pitcher Zach Plesac discusses mental preparation for upcoming season
Zach Plesac is looking to have an improved 2022 season, as the pitcher spent this offseason focusing heavily on the mental aspects of his game.
As early as the 1938 baseball season, professional organizations began to address the mental components of baseball. In particular, professor Coleman Griffith from the University of Illinois and his assistant Jack Sterett consulted with the Chicago Cubs on the mental aspects of baseball during that 1938 baseball season.
Fast forward to 2022 and almost all MLB organizations have mental performance coaches to teach players the mental aspects of baseball. For instance, the Guardians franchise has two mental performance coaches in Brian Miles and Martin Rasumoff.
Popular mental skills that performance coaches suggest players try as part of their training is to set goals, and to practice breathing techniques and meditation. At a recent press conference, Guardians pitcher Zach Plesac discussed various outcome goals he has set for the 2022 season. Specifically, Plesac has three main goals he wants to accomplish. First, he wants to win a Gold Glove. In addition, he also wants to make the All-Star team and pitch in all of his scheduled starts.
To accomplish these goals, Plesac described the things he has focused on during the offseason.
Mechanically, Plesac said he has focused on the process of working on keeping his posture upright during the pitching motion. He mentioned that focusing on this mechanical cue helps keep his pitches traveling on a downward angle rather than being flat.
Plesac also discussed how he has incorporated mental practice into his offseason training. He explained how he spent time during the offseason learning meditation and breathing techniques to improve his ability to stay calm and relaxed.
Pleasac believes that if he practices meditation away from the field, he will be able to pitch more relaxed. He also thought that learning to breathe by exhaling more fully can help keep him stay more relaxed while pitching.
To learn more about the importance of using breathing techniques to stay relaxed, you may be interested in listening to former Cleveland MLB players Jim Thome and Sean Casey discuss this very topic as well.