What a busy winter it has been. And I’m already starting to book my schedule for fall/winter. The clinic I did with Howard Kabata and Steve Englishbey was fantastic and I’m getting a lot or requests for those now. Currently, we’re tentatively booked for those in Dayton Ohio and Houston Tx this fall. I love doing clinics because it affords me an opportunity to work with a lot of people and ‘preach to the masses’. Part of what makes my clinics unique from the average “pitching clinic” is that I will demonstrate things first hand and show what, how, and why I do the things I do. Then I’ll show what happens if I don’t do those things! While it’s great to work with actual pitchers, I also spend as much (if not more) time work with and teaching the coaches/parents on how to troubleshoot problems and make corrections. SOOOOOO much of this is simple commons sense that many have just
tried to over complicate. I didn’t reinvent the wheel here or anything, I simplytook out the junk that has crept it’s way into pitching and what is being taught. Having me demonstrate it first hand makes all the difference in the world. Drop me a note if you’d like to organize something in your area this fall/winter and keep checking my site to see if I’m going to be in your area! With all the subscribers to this newsletter, I’m bound to run into someone who reads the junk I write!
Holy cow! I didn’t realize until it was into April that I forgot to send a article
for March. Actually, I didn’t forget.. I just didn’t get around to it. I won’t
ruin my apology with an excuse but, I’ll try to make 2 newsletters this month.
Afterall, I just know there are 100’s of you sitting on the edge of your seat each
day waiting with bait less breath hoping for an email from me. (Yes, that’s
The High School season is in full swing now (pardon the pun) and pitching lessons
thin out somewhat. Here in the Northeast USA, it’s impossible to schedule lessons
with high schoolers because they almost like doctors who are on call, waiting for
someone to need that emergency heart surgery. Except here, the players are on call
waiting for the snow to get off the field so games can be played.
All the off season work the pitchers have done comes into play now. Those who
worked the hardest for the winter months will be chomping at the bit to get out
there and throw. As someone who develops as close of a bond as possible with the
kids I work with, I feel like an anxious father who just hopes their kid does their
best to remember all they’ve been taught. But, a sad truth is that, pitching during
the winter is only a part of the equation for becoming successful. While more and
more indoor training facilities are popping up here in the North, it’s just not
possible to simulate a game or game situations while pitching during practices.
Even in major league baseball, when pitchers ‘practice’ many times it’s in what is
called a “simulated game”. Because there is just no other way to train properly.
We can work on ball rotations for pitches, overall mechanics, situational
pitching, strategy, troubleshooting, and a host of things but, we cannot train for
the intangibles of games without actually playing in them.
Some pitchers, when pitching indoors develop a crow hop or another mechanical issue
which they may not have done if they were able to pitch outside, on a real field. I
am pretty liberal with pitching students who start to “crow hop” a little indoors.
There is a positive and negative to be taken from that. The negative is, obviously,
it’s illegal under the rules and should be corrected. But the positive is, she’s
understanding that her power is coming from the waist down. In trying to use her
legs and pitching indoors, there isn’t a pitching rubber to push from so, she
develops the habit of hopping to compensate. A pitcher who does this indoors does
not automatically develop a crow hop when she toes the rubber in a real game. So,
I’m somewhat relaxed on my ‘enforcement’ of it. Naturally, we have to be careful
that muscle memory doesn’t set in and the crow hop becomes a part of her
motion. But, I want her muscle memory to be trained to EXPLODE with the legs since
this is where the power comes from. While I personally believe it should be allowed
and pitchers should do everything in their power to get back the pitching advantage
that has been stolen by Catalyst bats and Polycore balls and everything that comes
along with the technology of today’s game the bottom line is, it’s illegal under the
current rules. But,
So, what’s the best thing to work on in non-game situations and pitching indoors?
Or, for that matter.. even pitching outdoors and just practicing! Well, the answer
is pretty simple when common sense is applied. Pitchers who have been pitching for
a while GENERALLY speaking are probably working on 1 of 2 things: Speed or
movement. Both are big factors for any successful pitcher. However the most
important element is probably #3 on everyone’s radar when it SHOULD be #1.
Location, location, location.
Good hitters are not put off by speed. Most welcome it. And movement is only good
if it can be controlled. What good is a riseball if you cannot keep it marginal
around the strike zone? But, location on the other hand is the deadly weapon that
hitters fear. In baseball, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are deadly because they can
pinpoint the ball wherever they want, without tremendous speed or movement. Truly
great pitchers, softball or baseball, can win games without their best stuff and
without blazing speed or that extra “pop” on the ball by being able to put it
wherever they want to.
An analogy can be made with this in regards to hitting. Is it better to be a power
hitter or a hitter with a high average? Well, what about option #3… someone with
ultra fast speed? Power hitters don’t always hit homeruns. People with high
averages can run into slumps or can be shut down by a good pitcher. But, speed
comes to the ballpark EVERYDAY. A person with speed creates havoc for defense, even
on ground balls or when walked. A pitcher who can thread a needle with the ball
creates the same type havoc for even the most accomplished hitters.
Great hitters are trying to read pitchers or can sometimes guess what pitch is
coming while adjusting to the speed. But, if you have the ability to throw the ball
to that hitter’s weakness and make them hit your pitch, then the odds are in your
favor that you’ll get them out. Remember, this is a game of percentages. The
percentages go to your favor considerably when you can spot the ball at will.
I can’t think of any Hall of Fame pitcher, baseball or softball, who didn’t have
pinpoint control. And I’m not sure of any future hall of famer’s who don’t have it
either. Just like in real estate, location is the golden rule.