Ok, my monthly plea to everyone to sign up for my Frappr map. There is a link to this on my website and you can also just plug in the URL <www.frappr.com/houseofpitching> . It only takes a minute and it’s really a neat thing. For those new to this newsletter (there are approx 5 new people daily who register) please take a second and sign up. I beg everyone each month to sign up. So far about 1/3 of the subscribers have.
Ok, housecleaning first: Last year, I offered a deal to everyone and I’ll do it again this year. For those that don’t already know, I am sponsored by Akadema <www.akademapro.com> and while everyone’s got their personal preference for gloves/equipment… I am completely in love with Akadema’s stuff. In part of my deal with them, I can offer people that I do clinics and the people who attend equipment/gloves from their website at dramatically reduced prices. Usually, it’s about 1/2 price. It’s simply hard to beat 1/2 price for considering how great I think there stuff is. Anyway, last year I offered all subscribers the opportunity to get anything from Akadmea at my cost (about 1/2) for Christmas. I’ll do the same this year… anyone who wants anything from Akadema, let me know and I’ll put the order in. If I give you until Thanksgiving, that should give me ample time to get everything in, and shipped out to you by Christmas. Of course, that’s assuming items are NOT on backorder. If so, there’s little I can do about that. Without question, their APM 66 is the hottest selling catcher’s mit they have (and it’s my personal choice when doing lessons/clinics). And their fielder and pitcher gloves are outstanding as well. So, the cut off for ordering is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Email me with any questions.
I cannot believe I’m actually writing that above paragraph again, that means the holidays are right around the corner. The Holidays includes New Years, which means 2007 is coming quick. That means the 2007 season is coming quick too. Is it just me or does it seem like the season JUST ended? I simply cannot believe it’s almost time for me to start preparing for the 2007 season already. I like to take as much time off from pitching as possible to give my aging body time to relax. Of course, when doing lessons I actively demonstrate everything as much as possible to make sure everyone gets a visual picture of the words I’m saying. Moreover, at clinics.. I often feel like a circus animal who’s trained to perform because people seem to constantly want to watch me throw pitches. Sometimes I think I throw more pitches at a clinic than I do in a World Championship game! I actually enjoy it and it’s fun to put a smile on young faces. Watching me do it proves that it’s not about muscle and it’s more about how the body is trained to work.
As I touched on in last months letter (which can be found on the archieves), the difficult part of being a pitching coach is battling for time with other sports. Perhaps it’s Murphy’s Law but, it always seems that the most talented and naturally gifted pitchers couldn’t care less about doing it and would rather play basketball or something. Usually, there are 3 types of pitching students: First is the kind I just mentioned who have it all but don’t want it or don’t care. 2nd; the kind that want it desperately, will work and work at it, but simply don’t have it in their DNA and pitching isn’t what the Lord intended for them. And #3, the pitching coaches dream of the pitcher who has it all and works and works at it. EVERY pitching coach has some of all 3 types. Obviously, the goal is to get as many of the third type as possible. But, they are few and far between.
However, there is a 4th kind which can be a hybrid of all 3 or they can be any one of the afore mentioned types. This is the kind which has been polluted in the mind about pitching. From day one, the things they are taught are going to ensure they do not develop into the pitcher they could possibly be. Useless drills, throwing 9 different pitches, changing mechanics from one pitch to the next, etc. are all pollutions of the mind. Another pollution of the mind is that men and women are physically different so, they should pitch differently. Often, this is the justification many use to teach some of the most ridiculous things to young, aspiring pitchers. Simple common sense eliminates much of these things which are taught. But the problem is, so many wrong things are taught that much of it has become mainstream thinking.
Wrist flips are one thing that I’ll never understand. The worst part about a pitcher doing wrist flips during their warm up is, they have no idea what they’re doing them for. It cannot be for “warming up the wrist muscles”… afterall, 99% of pitchers throw overhand before warming up, right? Think about it, the wrist action is the same when throwing overhand and underhand. So, the wrist is already warmed up! The difference here is, during the wrist flip drill.. pitchers generally stand close to the catcher, lock their elbow and use the wrist only. This is insanity to me. Why would they want to teach themselves muscle memory of pitching with a locked elbow? Pitching is not ‘all in the wrist’. If it was, why don’t people throw overhand with a locked elbow?
The long term ramifications of wrist flips can be felt later as a pitcher is learning pitches. Take the riseball for example. A lot of pitchers who attempt riseballs have a ‘bullet’ spin for their rotation. This rotation is often a bi-product of a pitcher who has been taught to overemphasize the wrist. Quite frankly, it’s impossible for someone to get correct riseball rotation with incorrect pitching mechanics, which includes overdoing the wrist and neglecting the elbow snap and, most importantly, the fingers which turn the ball. Ever see a baseball pitcher throw a curve ball with just his wrist? NO. He twists the ball with his fingers. Yet for some reason, ‘turn the door knob’ is a phrase which is commonly taught when someone learns the riseball. These words imply that it’s “all in the wrist”, which is a fallacy.
This is why I keep saying that, the riseball is not the most important pitch to have in the game. But, it’s definitely the most misunderstood! Many of the problems begin when the pitcher simply warms up! The moral of the story here is, don’t just use your wrist. Use elbow, wrist and fingers on ALL pitchers, just like a baseball pitcher does.