Feb. 4, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
In the latest installment of Senior Spotlight, starting pitcher Ben Nelson talks about what advice has helped him most through his career, as well as his trusted game day routine. The native of Winter Springs, Fla., enters this season ninth on Navy's all-time strikeout list and tied for 10th in games started.
What is the key to your consistency as a pitcher?
"I would say it's the program the coaches have set for us, including the lifting and offseason conditioning. Coach Mau always gives us workouts do to when we're away. Staying on track with the workout programs has really helped me stay consistent."
What is the best advice you have received during your baseball career?
"The biggest thing that has stuck with me, especially when I'm on the mound, is positive visualization. It's part of what Coach Mau has taught us. I would say that has been the biggest one for me. The key is not to let any negative thoughts into your mind. When something goes wrong, you can't let it compound and bring you down. You have to look forward and remain positive."
Do you remember a specific instance where that advice really helped you?
"It really helped me during my sophomore year. I was struggling at bit and I went back and read Coach Mau's `ABCs of Pitching' and it helped me out a lot more toward the end of the season and we ended up winning the conference championship."
What are the keys to balancing the academic, military and athletic responsibilities at the Naval Academy?
"Just keep grinding. Jump in with both feet into everything you do."
Talk about your goals for this season.
"We want to get back to the Patriot League championship and hopefully NCAA regionals. Individually, I want to keep sharpening my game."
What is your typical game day routine when you pitch?
"After eating breakfast, I head out to the field and listen to music. I have a set playlist on my iPod that I always listen to. Then I'll go outside and start warming up and stretching before going through my bullpen routine. I've been doing it for three years now, so it's pretty ingrained."
Do you have a favorite road trip?
"I really like going to Army. Whenever and wherever we play them, you can feel it in the air that there is something different. The only other series I can equate it to was the NCAA regionals in 2011 at Virginia. You could really feel the baseball atmosphere."
Talk about your service selection and what you'll be doing after graduation.
"My service selection is Naval Flight Officer, so I'll be going to Pensacola, Fla., for flight school. I'm going to try and TAD (temporary assigned duty) here at the Naval Academy for a bit after graduation, then go to flight school in September."