“The manager said, ‘Even if you have a 135 mph fastball, I’m going to have you throw 100 pitches. You’re going to be responsible for 90 to 100 pitches, and you’re going to go five innings or more.’ ‘ That was the first time I’d ever heard that in baseball.”
Faith created a homegrown ace.
Lim Chan-kyu (LG Twins) pitched LG’s final regular-season game on May 15. A win or loss didn’t matter much as the team had already clinched first place, but it was significant in its own way. After the game, LG received its first regular season championship trophy in 29 years, and LG fans who had waited 29 years to see it filled Jamsil Baseball Stadium. It was a good picture to celebrate the victory. Manager Yoon Kyung-yeop sent out Im Chan-kyu and said, “I could have done it the day before. It’s okay to say that he’s a homegrown ace.”
The faith was rewarded. Lim Chan-kyu pitched five and two-thirds innings of one-run ball to give the team a 5-2 victory. He finished the season with a 14-3 record and a 3.42 ERA. He ranked first in wins among Korean pitchers, third in overall wins, fourth in ERA, and ninth overall. His 139 innings pitched prior to the game increased to 144 and two-thirds innings pitched in regulation. It’s a neat finish for him, who is eligible for free agency after the season. Manager Yoon Kyung-yeop congratulated Lim after the game, saying he pitched like a domestic ace.
Despite Yeom’s praise, Im shook his head, saying, “I never thought of myself as an ace.” “It’s just that my grades came together this year. My teammates helped me, so I can’t say I’ve been an ace, but I’ve had a few good games,” he said. “My biggest thought is that I need to continue this kind of performance for the next two to three years.”
More than his performance this year, Lim was concerned about his struggles last year (6-11, 5.04 ERA). “I wanted to do well, and I regretted that I couldn’t sacrifice for the team last year, so I prepared for the season ‘for the team,’ and the results were better. I think (this experience) will help me prepare for the upcoming season,” he reflected.
Since his childhood, Lim has been labeled as a ‘good mental player’. He has been close to coach Cha Myung-seok since he started coaching him, and he is also comfortable and playful with his teammates. Even when controversies arose, he showed that he was able to deal with them head-on. He was able to find a way out, study it, and explain it to reporters with confidence.
The result of 12 years of “mental research” was to think simply. “It’s always bad to think too much on the mound, whether it’s positive or negative,” Lim said. “So I wanted to think as little as possible and be as simple as possible, but I kept thinking about it,” he said. “These are external factors in a way. If you aim for an outcome that you can’t control, you’re going to get chased, so I prepared a lot to just throw one ball the way I want to throw it.” “I was doing mental exercises for 10 days before I pitched. I did mental exercises on how to (shake off) those thoughts and stay focused on the mound. I’m glad that those things seemed to pay off.”
The power of imagery training is in the details. “I’m very specific with my imagery training,” says Lim. From the color of the grass to the smell of the stadium to the manager of the opposing team. If Doosan is the opponent, I even draw Lee Seung-yeop, the manager. I even imagine the worst case scenario of throwing three balls with the bases loaded. Unlike pitching, imagery training doesn’t hurt your arm. It only takes five to ten minutes. I practice drawing and erasing beforehand,” he laughed.
He was the only LG starter this season to stay on the mound from start to finish without a bad game. However, at the start of the season, he was a long reliever instead of a starter, a situation that worked to his advantage.
“Maybe I’m just saying it helped me because the results were good. But I think my failure last year also laid the foundation for me to finish this year successfully,” he said. “It’s not like my life and death will change if I don’t finish the regulation innings today (Aug. 15).” “When you’re desperate and competitive, you get greedy. When you’re desperate and competitive, you get greedy. So I tried to relax as much as possible, and I was able to relax thanks to the start of the long relief.”토토사이트
It was Yeom’s faith in Im that helped him grow mentally. “May was a big month. The manager said, ‘I’m going to let you throw 100 pitches even if your fastball is 135 km/h. You have to be responsible for 90 to 100 pitches and throw more than five innings,'” he said. “It was the first time I heard that in baseball, and from then on, it became a new baseball. I was able to try something different because I realized that the manager would trust me, and I was able to throw with less effort rather than desperation. That was the key point.”
Although he’s on the verge of starting for KS, Lim doesn’t have a great history of starting in the postseason (PS). But he’s not deterred. “It’s actually the same 18.44 meters (from home plate to the mound). I don’t think it’s really helpful to think differently about KS or the Futures (Second Division) League. I don’t have KS experience, but I try to throw with the same mindset as possible. Even if I don’t relax, my body will react that way. If I tense up mentally, it will be more counterproductive.”
Lim Chan-kyu’s conclusion to Mentalism is the same. “The conclusion is simple. Making up for the past is a goal for the outcome, and I can’t control it. If I don’t fulfill my goal of ‘I need to make up for it’ or ‘I need to make a quality start’ or ‘I need to throw five innings’, I will think about something else on the mound. That’s why I’ve been failing so far. (Now) I think the best result will be if I don’t think about it until the manager tells me to come down.”