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Zambrano’s Mental Game

By bullpenbrian at 02.25.2009 1 comment.

I think we tend to forget this is Carlos Zambrano’s ninth season with the Chicago Cubs.

And in five of the past six seasons he’s thrown for more than 200 innings.

It’s been great to have that work horse on the staff, but obviously, that also means a lot of ware and tear on the ol’ throwing shoulder.

So reading reports that the Cubs will take a cautious approach with Z during spring camp doesn’t come as a surprise.

In fact, we better get use to this being the norm for the soon to be 28-year-old.

It appears his previous work loads took its tool last June when Carlos made his first ever trip to the DL, a (10-3) first half record followed by a (4-3) post All Star break record.

Still, I don’t fault Z too much for the drop in production; after all, you can’t win against natural forces.

However, couple the  shoulder ailment with a decline in pitch velocity and it’s clear that Zambrano better sharpen his mental game sooner than later.

Thus, the biggest challenge facing Zambrano isn’t his physical well being, but rather his mental approach to pitching.

A pitcher’s faulty mind is worse than his faulty shoulder…and anyone paying attention knows Zambrano has some faults upstairs to improve on.

I believe there are still plenty of bullets left in Z’s right arm…but mastering his mental game will determine how deadly those bullets are from this season forward.

That’s my concern with Z, not the shoulder.

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1 Comment

  1. Patrick says:

    Brian:

    You couldn’t be more correct if you were Z’s shoulder speaking. The mental game is a huge part of every athlete’s performance — whether they know it or not. True peak performance can only be achieved once an athlete has learned how negative thoughts and emotions can hinder their game, if left unchecked. I’d love to help, but, to do so, Z would have to have the will to understand the principles involved in living in the moment.

    Perhaps when the student is ready…the teacher will appear.

    Be well, Patrick

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