There is very little emotion in bullpen work during practice compared to game situations, mostly because competition has not been involved up to this point. Emotions can play a big part in the outcome of a game and can be a huge key to success. Learning to control negative emotions and knowing when to show positive emotion is the first step.
There is a fine line between showing positive emotion like a fist pump after a big strikeout to end the inning and showing the other team up, like doing a little jig on the mound after the first out of the game. Positive emotion in the right circumstances can fire up the team and build momentum in the game. Showing the opponent up can actually light a fire underneath them and build momentum in the opposite direction.
When things go bad on the mound, and believe me, things will go bad for as long as your in the game, you have to be able to keep negative emotions from showing in body language as much as possible. There is rarely a good time to "show" negative emotion and these include kicking the dirt, slumping shoulders, rolling eyes, raising arms, etc. These actions tell everyone in the park that you are loosing control. It gives your team less confidence in you and the opponent more confidence in themselves.
When things are going well on the mound it will not be as challenging to control emotions as it is when things are not going your way. But choose your spots wisely when it comes to screaming out a big "LETS GO", pumping fists, pulling the chainsaw cord, or giving Tiger's Woods patented upper cut. More times than not you want to act like you've been there and done that before when possible. If you don't show the positive emotional body language often, when you do, it will fire your team up even more!
Recognize when game emotions run high so you understand when you need to defend against letting negative emotions show in body language. We've listed a few examples of high emotional situations below:
- A tournament game
- Close score, late in a game
- Big rivalry games
- Bad calls by umpires
- Top ranked opponent
- Big crowd
Use the Lokator Bullpen App to create competition among friends and teammates and work on controlling emotions internally and externally in practice. Don't get too high or too low while competing and try to stay even keeled whether you are performing the way you would like or not. Emotions do not show up in the scorebook but they can definitely help determine the outcome of the game.