Bob Tewksbury was always drawn to the self-help section of bookstores, searching for that edge he would need as a pitcher who lasted 13 major league seasons.

Retired since 1998, Tewksbury, a 57-year-old Concord, New Hampshire native, is now trying to help others find that edge. He currently works as the mental skills coach for the San Francisco Giants after serving as the Boston Red Sox sports psychology coach for 11 years.

He’s co-written a book (with Scott Miller of Bleacher Report), entitled “Ninety Percent Mental,” that takes the reader inside his career, how his mental attitude helped him succeed – he had a career record of 110-102 for six teams – and how he’s helped other players achieve their goals.

His wife, Laura, said it was a six-year journey to finish the book. Bob Tewksbury said it was written with one thought in mind: “To make people aware of how important the mental aspect of the game is. And to have the players who volunteered (to be mentioned in the book) show how even the good players use mental skills to improve their performance … and to let people know this isn’t a secret, this is how it works.”

Tewksbury was in Portland on Monday evening for a discussion of his book at the law offices of Preti Flaherty. He spoke to about two dozen people for an hour about his career, the book and many of the players he worked with over the years. Some, such as former Portland Sea Dogs Jon Lester and Anthony Rizzo, are featured in the book. He worked with Rizzo in the minors and Lester in 2013, when the left-hander became the ace of the World Series champion Red Sox.

He was invited to speak by Harold Pachios, a founding partner of the firm. Pachios and his family have had a long relationship with Tewksbury, going back to when Pachios’ son, Chris, attended St. Paul’s School in Concord. Chris would catch Tewksbury when he worked out at the school’s indoor facility in the winter.

“I’m sure Chris’ hands hurt sometimes, but he never complained,” said Harold Pachios. “And Bob would give him all kinds of stuff. He’s a great guy. ”

After he retired, Tewksbury earned a master’s degree in psychology at Boston University and went on to join the Red Sox, one of the first teams to embrace the idea of having a sports psychologist on staff.

Now, said Tewksbury, 27 of the 30 MLB clubs have a similar position, as well as several NFL teams. “It’s just grown immensely,” said Tewksbury. “I never thought the field would grow this high, this far.”

Tewksbury treated the gathering to some stories of his career, such as his first major league start, a 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers (with Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor in the lineup) on April 11, 1986 at Yankee Stadium. Tewksbury went 71/3 innings and, when he was relieved, was prodded by his teammates to tip his cap to the crowd as he walked off to a standing ovation. “I was fined $25 for every one of those tips,” he said.

Over the years, Tewksbury has worked with a golfer trying to make the pro tour, a hockey goalie, the Tufts University men’s ice hockey team and the Boston College men’s basketball team. He currently has several young athletes as clients in California.

“I really want to try to help the younger kids understand the mental aspects of performance, and then still work with elite athletes,” he said.

His message to them all is the same: prepare, visualize your success, focus on your plan and to have a plan when things go wrong.

The elite athletes, he said, have a plan. Others need prodding. But he added it’s important that they recognize they need the help.

“You have to be open to do this,” said Tewksbury. “I’m not going to force it. I’ve had people in the organizations ask me, ‘Hey, have you talked to this guy?’ What works best is when they come to me.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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