Pitching coaches are a multi-level group, all marking time based on their environment. A glimpse in time for this population is briefly covered in a post that I made on this forum under Just for Coaches. On that forum I submitted a read titled “Types of Coaches and Types of Coaches Part Two”.
In addition to that, pitching coaches normally bring a certain element of history with them thateither becomes a base for instruction .. or is a rock solid mindset regardless of what’s happening in the world around them. Again, like I said above, it all depends on the environment that their in.
When I was coaching at a highly aggressive tempo, I used my experience to suggest rather than coach. Very little tweaking was necessary because of the talent level that I was dealing with. And it was my experience that gave me that intuition – to leave well enough alone. My duties were more
oriented towards the rotation as a staff rather than each individual pitcher. And this rotation’s contribution to the head coach’s game plan more than who’s available today, tomorrow, etc. Pitch selection as a total tool … so many fastballs, so many change-ups, so many junk guys, and so on. My job was to insure a tool box that our club could use to command our defensive posture.
On the other hand, in order to get to that level… I paid my dues by learning a lot more from my charges then I’m sure they learned from me. I made a ton of mistakes, turned upside-down more game plays than I care to count, and so it goes. I did all of this at a very unflattering level of competition and I would admit I didn’t do justice to a lot of the pitchers at that level. But, in hindsight I will say that we were all at that level for a reason – ability. (or the lack there of.)
As far as technique and what’s “hot” on the training circuit today --- well, that’s up for grabs, depending on whom you talk to. I’ve learned over the years that endorsements and claims means squat if they don’t have real world application. Take Steve Ellis and his TuffCuff. In my professional opinion, you don’t get any more real world then that. You can use that NOW. It works.. NOW. It has real, sensible knowledge .. NOW. It’s all in one place..NOW. On the other hand, I’ve had a lot of youngsters who
have returned from some pretty famous training camps- former MLB pro’s – renowned coaching experts,and they could have all save a lot of time and money… because there was little or no evidence of mprovement. Why? Because youth has its limitations. Size, weight, tolerance levels, and most importantly – the playing environment. A kid whose six foot, three hundred pounds and who’s on a perpetual diet of pop, Twinkies and practices once a week just isn’t going to cut it – I don’t care how much his parents spend. And a kid that has to pitch and play off a field that resembles a bombing range, with a mound made of sand and dirt with a rubber that sticks out the ground about eight inches is in for a real disappointment – I don’t care who trains him. Also, kids that play with a club at the 14U level that doesn’t allow them to fail just as much as they succeed – has a very narrow commitment to the youth coaching role. ( just my opinion)
The bottom line here is, pitching is a craft, an art form, just as much as say… painting, pottery making and dance. You’ve got to learn young, with a certain amount of talent going into the process – as much as experiencing the process itself. Does this mean that everybody can be trained to be a NCAA Division one player – no. However, somewhere between 10U baseball and high school JV, a certain learning curve can be satisfied--- without a pitching coach. The place were you live and the surrounding resources has a lot to do with your education here – baseball wise. If you’re not fortunate enough to be one of the “haves” in this regard.. well then your one of the “have not”. You do the best you can.
Can finding a pitching coach improve your lot. No. why? Because this coach will be dealing with the same scale-of-economy that you’re dealing with. So be reasonable and realistic when asking for a pitching coach. Their expensive, time consuming and as productive as you are --- not the other way around.
If you have the talent to warrant a further “look see” by those in the game – regardless of the level of competition that you’re at – you’ll be spotted and approached. I know this is hard to believe but it’s true.
I’ve found many--- and I do mean many, of my pitchers at all levels by driving by a park, or watching some kid toss a ball with his dad or buddies, and slammed on the brakes and then politely introduced myself. If you’ve got talent, even raw talent – you’ll be spotted. Pitching coach or not.