Baseball is mental game says Jordan Milbrath
“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical!” said Yogi Berra, considered one of the best catchers in major league baseball history.
If you understand Yogi’s wisdom, you can see that the mental side of this game has a lot to do with performance success. What you focus on and think about before and during the game can make or break your performance, said Jordan Milbrath, speaking to the Springfield Rotary Club recently while visiting family and friends in his hometown before heading for spring training at Goodyear, Arizona.
“Baseball is a very mental game — that’s what I have come to learn,” said Milbrath who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2013. You have to learn how to become mentally tough to effectively handle big game pressure, quickly bounce back from errors and tough breaks, the ability to focus on what’s important and block out everything else, said Milbrath, who has played two full seasons with the Lake County Captains minor league baseball team affiliated with the Cleveland Indians. “To make it through a 150-game season, one has to show up and have the correct mindset every day,” he said. You play your best baseball when you’re trusting yourself.
Milbrath, 6’6” 215-pound right-handed pitcher, throws a fastball, change up, slider and curve ball. “This year I felt I needed to add in a cutter,” he said. In baseball, a cutter, or cut fastball, is a type of fastball which breaks slightly toward the pitcher’s glove side as it reaches home plate. “This pitch is somewhere between a slider and a fastball, as it is usually thrown faster than a slider but with more motion than a typical fastball,” he explained.
He is working diligent on throwing the fastball. “I had a rough start last year,” Milbrath admitted. He started the season hurling his fastball averaging 93 mph, and ended the year with a speed of 95 mph. “Ninety-five to 100 is where you want to be,” he said. “I have good pitches. I’m trying to improve them,” he noted. “There’s always room for improvement.” He spends lots of time in the video room studying the pitches in slow motion.
“I never knew what Yogi Berra’s quote meant until I got in pro baseball,” Milbrath said. There’s the physical side, too. “I love baseball. It takes every level of pursuit of getting better every day,” he said. “It takes discipline to do that. To get better I need to put in the work and only I know what I need to do to get better. I get advice from coaches and that’s great, but I’m the only one who can implement it.” So while he’s home for a month, visiting his parents, David and Lori Milbrath, and family, he continues to train and work out physically. He’s been spending quite a bit of time at Sioux Falls, S.D., pitching and working out. A 2010 graduate of Springfield High School, Milbrath earned his degree in business administration from Augustana College, Sioux Falls. “This whole area is home to me now,” he said. In Sioux Falls he works out at Sanford Field House, that is about the size of a football field, where he lifts weights and pitches. Some days he works out with the Augustana baseball team, and sometimes he throws with a friend, a professional player with an independent team. “I do a bunch of training every day,” he said. “This is a critical time of the year for me, to make sure I’m ready.”
Milbrath looks forward to spring training in Goodyear, Arizona. “When spring comes around there’s about 300 players. For more from Jordan Milbrath see this week's Springfield Advance-Press.