Well I’ve worked on mechanics all throughout high school with local scouts as well as former players. The whole time since I was playing competitive ball at the age of 16 (not Little League), I’ve been pitching and have been very successful at it. Im a LHP and in high school i was throwing 85-87 hitting corners and throwing inside. After high school, I went to a MLB tryout and threw the best out of all the players there, but the scout talked to me and said that they’d want me to be throwing consistently 87-91. Anyways I lost all control and have been throwing behind batters, hitting batters, and other stuff. Sometimes I feel like I lose the feel for the ball and when I try to throw softer even like a BP fastball, I end up babying it and the ball is lucky to even stay in the circle cutout. But after 3 years of college (D1, JUCO, D2) , I have tried different arm angles and at first they helped and no matter what armslot im using I throw great in bullpens but once I get into the game I lose control again. I naturally throw over the top or a high 3/4 when playing catch or in the outfield but when im in a game I feel like It’d be more comfortable to throw from the lower arm angle again. Which I also feel would keep my head still better and increase control. The only problem I had with throwing low 3/4 was that I had so much arm side run on the ball I couldn’t throw it inside or I’d hit the guy. I’m in my summer season right now so if anyone has any suggestions…thanks!
Hmmm… That’s a lot to absorb. Let’s see…
You did well in high school but some scouts said you need more velocity. It would be logical to guess that you tried to increase your velocity but, in the process, you messed up something else.
Trying to throw softer messes you up. That’s expected because you slow down and change your timing and end up throwing differently than how you’ve practiced.
You’ve tried different arm slots and that doesn’t seem to help. This would seem to imply you should go back to the slot you used in high school. On the other hand, you say you’re successful with any slot during practice but not during games. That would imply a mental issue.
Throwing from a low arm slot makes it difficult to throw inside due to the amount of tail you have. I’m not sure I’d consider this a problem. It’s more just a matter of figuring out how to use it to your advantage.
Ok, my take on all of this is that there are multiple issues involved. I can only guess but it sounds like between the scouts telling you that you need more velocity and your telling yourself that you can’t throw inside, you’ve messed some of your mechanics and you’ve lost your confidence. The mechanics can certainly be fixed. If you can, go back and work with those scouts/players you worked with in high school since it sounds like they got you throwing well. Or, post up video here and let us take a look. Once you’ve got your mechanics in order and fairly repeatable, that should make it easier to figure out the adjustment to make for throwing inside even with a lot of tail. Getting all of this in order will help with the confidence though that will take some time to get back as it depends on you preparing well enough that you truly feel well-prepared. It also depends on having some success. But those successes can happen in practice or in the bullpen.
I always tell my pitchers to not think about where they want their ball to end up, but rather focus on where you start the pitch and let the ball do the work.
I needed to drop down more after a few shoulder operations and developed a nice tail on my fastball, so all I did was move my target about 3 more inches over the plate and let the ball do its thing. Once I knew how much tail I would consistently get, I could gauge where I needed to start the pitch.
Kind of like putting on a green with a big break, you pick a spot on the green to hit before the break and just let the ball do all the magic.
This may not have anything to do with the mental aspects of pitching, but rather with a very important technical aspect. You don’t say anything about what kind of pitcher you are or what stuff you have, but if you’re a sinkerball pitcher there’s something you need to know. One time Chien-Ming Wang was pitching for the Yankees against the Kansas City Royals and was having a little trouble with that long stride of his. Jorge Posada went out to the mound and told Wang to shorten his stride somewhat, because the mound at Kauffman Stadium is lower and flatter than at any other ballpark and for a sinkerballer that can be disastrous. Wang took Posada’s advice, shortened his stride, and pitched seven fine innings and got the win. So—you should check with your catcher; he’s sure to know something that will help. 8)