Lets get the public service messages out of the way now, before I get to this month’s topic. First, if you haven’t done so already.. please visit my website and put your team/pitcher onto my Frappr Map. This will be invaluable for me when it comes to obtaining sponsorship. When I can show them the broad audience that follows this site, I’m sure it’ll be much easier to convince companies to advertise here and/or sponsor the business entirely.
Second, I do get a lot of emails from people asking if I’m ever going to be in their area for camps, clinics, or seminars. Generally, I put my events on the website so you can see where I’ll be on any given weekend. There are times I do not post them, such as for a private event for a club, league, team, or organization. As you can see by the front page, I have upcoming dates in Kansas City, upper Michigan, Texas, and a few other places. Again, these are the ones that I list which are open.
Well, I’ve created a monster. The Pitching Coach Mafia is out in full force. They’re taking over the internet, all over websites and message boards. So, it appears the PCM is no longer content with just trying to teach the pitchers, they’re now out to corrupt the minds of innocent parents, grandparents, guardians, etc. It’s really quite amazing.
Now, for those that don’t know, the PCM is a name I invented for the people who know absolutely nothing about pitching yet proclaim to be experts. Or, even worse, they know nothing, act like they know everything, then will try to say they are just “learning”. It’s unreal. They will take the best, most accomplished pitchers in the world and disect them into ways that are unimaginable. I get the same laugh out of the +25 handicap golf announcers who try to analyze Tiger Woods. Are you kidding me?
The PCM is everywhere. Every city seems to have their own branch of this crime family. Keep in mind, I think the PCM is a criminal organization and should be locked up under the RICO laws. That’s how the FBI gets all the mob families, this one should be no different in my opinion. There is one guy who has a website and he actually will block your computer’s IP address and prohibit you from going onto his forum just by mentioning my name. When his site came out, I registered so I could read the content. Never once did I post anything. But, other people did.. and mentioned my name. They were banned. Or, the PCM’s version of giving them cement shoes. Yes, the guy who runs this website is a pitching instructor. I’ve seen some of the things he teaches and am simply amazed. Why don’t more people take a look at how the most successful pitchers in the world are doing and just use that as their model? What this guy teaches is night and day, completely different from what the best pitchers do worldwide. It’s unbelieveable to me. But, I guess if people used the common sense thing… there’d be no PCM. I’m not sure what rank this guy is in the family, but having banned people for mentioning someone like me probably gave him a promotion. From Soldier to Capo or something like that. Now once in a while, there will be a member of the family defect. In my opinion, this is their version of a rat. Someone defects from the family and actually wants to learn how to pitch from those that do it, done it, and can speak about it in a variety of ways. After that, they have to go into their version of the witness protection program (this is where they still read the websites but under a new screen name/identity).
Like the devil himself, the PCM will try to convince you they don’t exist. They might flash numbers at you that they helped “X” number of girls get college careers, etc. This is the exact reason I will never post on my website where pitchers go to school or how many. I absolutely do not want anyone to think I am the reason a pitcher went to college and I don’t want to imply that I’m taking credit for it. Pitchers get to their top level for one reason only: Hard work. And as my Softball Magazine collegue Ken Krause once said to me, he views coaching kids like being a fishing guide. He can lead them to the water, show them where to put their bait.. but he can’t put the fish on the hook for them. They do that on their own. Many of these pitchers who are victims of the PCM have achieved success DESPITE of these people, not BECAUSE of them. I can only wonder how good they could’ve been in a different set of circumstances.
Overall, pitching has to be kept simple. It’s not easy to do but, it’s made a lot harder when people overcomplicate it. This is what the PCM doesn’t get. They can’t understand why some pitchers are effortless and others are not. “KISS” Keep it simple stupid. The basic rule of thumb is this: It’s a mechanical problem if the ball is inside or outside. It’s a timing problem if the ball is missing high or low. And again, that’s a rule of thumb! Because many in the PCM will teach pitchers to arch their backs and release the ball below their knees, etc. for the riseball. This would be a case of mechanics needing fixed and probably doesn’t relate to the basic rule of thumb I just mentioned. However, that brings up another “rule of thumb”… if your pitching coach doesn’t focus on ball rotation and spin to make it move, then you’re being taught forced movement instead of a breaking pitch. It’d be like Roger Clemens throwing an outside pitch to a right handed batter and claiming it’s a curve ball. No, it’s not. The same way a high pitch is not a rise and a low pitch is not a drop.
Practice what you will be doing in a game, not some of the ridiculous drills that are out there. Those will effect your timing and mechanics! Practice spinning the ball and get used to how your fingers turn the seams. This is what creates movement, not aiming high or low.
And, beware of the PCM! They’re out there! And for many, their only qualification for being a pitching coach is: they stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.