I need some more accuracy.
For some reason when I pitch to a person I’m very accurate. When I’m using a pitching target I’m not that accurate. Any tips?

There are a couple of things at play here. First when pitching to a human target there is a 3D aspect to the target giving your brain 3 sets of coordinates to shoot for (depth, height and width). This makes it a lot easier for your brain to determine velocity and trajectory to launch the ball. Even though the pitching net is a 3D object - you don’t really get a feel of 3D when you are looking at it from the mound - all you see is a flat target in front of you.

The second thing at play is the size of the target you are shooting for. When you have a human target - not only do you have a 3D representation of a target - you have a nice 12" focal point (the mitt). On most of the standard pitching nets I’ve seen they will either have the cords across them splitting the net into quadrants or nothing at all. So now you have a giant 3’X3’ hole to throw into. Either way your brain will try to make you focus in on the center of the net - say about a 2" target. So with this tiny target in mind - your body will tense up a bit trying to focus the ball into this target with little room for error. Everyone knows that tense muscles are not good for a smooth repeatable delivery.

What might help (short of always throwing to a human target) is to hang a paper plate from the front of the pitching net and shoot for that. That gives you a nice 12" inch target to throw at plus by hanging it you should have a little more of a 3D representation. Now, by using a paper plate for a target it will make it kind of difficult to change where you want your target to be (inside/outside/up/down) without moving the plate, but eventually you should be able to remove the plate altogether.

Disclaimer: Before any of you ask - I have no technical expertise in psychology, physics or kinetics - these are just personal observations. :slight_smile:

Here’s something I used to do when I was a little snip and continued to do well into my playing days. I would get a catcher, and we would go to a playing field that wasn’t being used, and I would take the mound while he set up behind the plate with a catcher’s mitt. we would then play a little game we called “ball and strike”, in which he would position his mitt in various places—high, low, inside, outside, every which way but standing hon his head :lol: —and I would work on getting the ball smack-dab into the pocket of said mitt, actually throwing through the target instead of just at it (and he had to stick a piece of sponge rubber inside the mitt to take up the shock of the pitches). I would do this with all my stuff, at different speeds such as they were (I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of), and because I was a natural sidearmer the crossfire came into play. It was a terrific workout and a lot of fun, and oh, what a satisfying feeling it was to hear that resounding “thwack” as the ball hit the pocket of the catcher’s mitt!
We would go at it for an hour at a time, two or three times a week, and believe me, there’s nothing like it for sharpening one’s control. And yes, from time to time we would have someone stand in the batter’s box so I could really zero in on the strike zone—even get him to swing at a few pitches. You might try that—working with a catcher, just you and him and that mitt to throw to. Inanimate targets just don’t cut it. 8)

It sounds like your aiming the ball instead of just throwing it. I know that sounds simple but when my students have had that problem they seem to tense up and force the ball into the strike zone. It’s hard to control that way. Just relax your shoulders and make sure you throw with your legs and hips (good mechanics).

If you are good and relaxed and your mechanics are sound, control takes care of itself. In other words good mechanics take care of your control problems!

Good luck!

In other words…“The Secret”. This is something I never get tired of talking about, because it a key fundamental that a lot of pitchers seem not to know about—and should.
I learned “The Secret” many moons ago. I would go to the original Yankee Stadium every chance I got, and I watched the pitchers, and I noticed that the Yankees’ Big Three were all doing the same thing; they were driving off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous motion, resulting in a flow of energy all the way to the shoulder and the arm—and they were getting more power into their pitches, even Ed Lopat who was not a fireballer. This took a lot of pressure off said shoulders and arms, so they could all throw harder and faster with less effort. I saw how they were doing this, and I realized that this is the real key to a pitcher’s power, and I made a note of it and started working on it on my own. As I practiced this essential element of good mechanics I found that I was doing the same thing those guys were, and even though I was not particularly fast I too could throw harder with less effort. How not to get a sore arm, or a sore shoulder, or a sore elbow, or a sore anything else.
A very good place to start is with what is now called the “Hershiser” drill, which aims at getting the hips fully involved. The idea is that the hips are the connection between the lower and upper halves of the body, and when this connection is established you’ll get that continuous flow of energy through the whole body, all the way to the shoulder and the arm—whiuch, by the way, will make for a smoother finish, a good follow-through. The drill requires no special equipment, just a fence or a wall.