Does it work? Is it worth it? I am a freshmen in high school, 5’4" 115 lb,
This is the first time I’ve ever heard that expression!
I’m reminded of an old poem about six blind men who encountered an elephant. The first man took hold of a leg and announced that the elephant was like a tree. The second, grasped the elephant’s trunk and declared that the creature was like a rope. Each person took hold of a different part of the elephant’s anatomy and likened the elephant to a snake or some other creature. The poem ends with the line “Though each was partly in the right, they all were in the wrong.” I thought about this while trying to grasp the concept of “combat pitching”, and I realize that everyone will have his own idea of just what this entails. Is it a system, or a particular approach? Well, let me say something about what I think it is.
Basically, it’s an aspect of strategic pitching.
You’re on the mound, it’s the eighth inning, the bases are loaded with one out, your team is hanging on to a one-run lead, and there’s a very dangerous hitter up there at the plate. It’s a combat situation. That guy at the plate is looking for a pitch he can drive out of the ball park, and you’ve got to stop him. Now how are you going to do that? Well—first consider what kind of pitcher you are; are you a rip-roarin’ fireballer on the order of Bob Feller, Vic Raschi, Bob Gibson or Justin Verlander—or are you a finesse pitcher like Harry Brecheen, Ed Lopat, Greg Maddux or Jamie Moyer? That alone should tell you how to proceed, whether to go after the batter—challenge him—or go in the other direction and outfox him.
Okay. The next step is deciding how you’re going to pitch to this bat-swinging menace—what kind of stuff you’re going to use. It may be a simple matter if you throw in the high 90s to 100 miles an hour; you can just overpower the guy, blow that high cheese right by him. But all too often it’s not that simple. That hitter may be looking for such a pitch in a particular location. He may be a hitter with, it seems, no particular weakness, and that’s when you should call the catcher out to the mound for a conference. Even if you throw at those speeds, the location of the pitch is of paramount importance. So is how the batter is standing at the plate—is he crowding it, or does he hit with his foot in the bucket—pull away from the plate as he swings? Does he have a long swing or a short, compact one? These and other such characteristics will have a bearing on not only how you’ll pitch to him—but also where.
I remember one time I asked Ed Lopat about his approach to pitching to hitters, and I commented “It’s kind of like judo, isn’t it?” He replied, “You could say that. The principle is the same. You take the batter’s power and turn it back against him.” This is an important thing to keep in mind, whether you fire that fast ball in there or throw the hitter off balance by taking even more off your breaking pitches.
So, in a nutshell, there it is—my idea of what constitutes “combat pitching”: pitching in very tough situations where you absolutely have to get the batter out and prevent the opposition from scoring. It takes stuff, control and command, and steel nerves, and when you get it to work you’ll end up winning or rescuing a lot of games. 8) :baseballpitcher:
Zita you are way off base, combat pitcher is a training program.
Zita didn’t know. It’s not a big deal. I do like her analysis - wonder if this is what Ron was thinking when he developed the program
Steve, thanks for backing me up. Of course I wouldn’t know, and what I would like to know is why the person who asked whether it was any good, was it worth it, etc., didn’t specify what it was. None of us here are mind-readers. And you may be right, the guy who developed this program might have been thinking along the same lines I was. Many pitchers have faced these situations—me included. 8)
I like this a lot!
I’d say if Zita didn’t have a clue…she sure hit the nail on the head so to speak. Coach Wolforth asks, “Are you prepared for battle?” His description of the “Combat Pitcher” program is: “Preparing The Next Generation of Baseball Pitcher’s For Battle.” It is like a copyright…he has his own unique methods and drills for arm strength, durability, a mix of science, athletic training and “boot camp” like training. It’s a style more than anything.
I think your commitment is way more important than any program itself. So pick something and get after it.