Direction can help in many ways. Plus, it's simple to do

I wrote this in a discussion on both "hitting your spot"and “Location” topics.

"The key to hitting your target is and always will be practice and repetition. You must develop experience and feel for what you are trying to hit. Back in the day when we didn’t have pitching or throwing coaches, we were more in tune with the task at hand. See the rabbit, throw object at rabbit, bring home dead rabbit, eat and procreate. Repeat the cycle when hungry again. We do have an innate ability to hit our target. It was engrained in our being way back when. The things that have gotten in the way of this is the “how to”. Not that working on how we should throw (mechanics) is a bad thing. It’s more important to know when you should and should not focus on the “how to”. Whenever you are on the game mound, it should be about hitting your target. Whenever you are on the bullpen mound, it should be about hitting your target. Designate areas in which you can work on your delivery like the visitor’s bullpen mound or a portable mound, or in the outfield. When on the mound it is business, the game mound is about competing and winning the battle between you and the hitter. The only thought has to be about “making this pitch”. Say it truly was a battle…. if swords were the weapon of choice, what warrior is going to go out there and think “if I fake to his head with this sword and he attempts to block it, I’ll stick him with this dagger in my other hand.”??? All the while, wearing something sharp in his own neck, only to lie in the battle field breathing his last breath, thinking I should have just trusted my approach and gotten after it!!

Mechanics is not the answer. If mechanics were really important for making it to the big leagues…. I would like for everyone to follow this pyramid to the top with me……I have been told that there are 5,000,000 little league baseball players, 500,000, high school players, 50,000 college players, 5,000 minor league players and 750 big league players. Of all the pitchers that make it to the big leagues, (300+) I would ask you, if they are our elite, why isn’t there a stapled approach in everyone of them or in the majority of them? The reason, it is about who can get out of their own way and hit their target more frequently. The difference in the well known grocery clerk Mr. Eyblueninty –Five and someone like John Smoltz is that Smoltz, is a Professional target hitter.

One way you can work on improving your ability to make a pitch is to increase focus and be aware of your weaknesses. This can be done by charting each and every pitch thrown.
Script 40 pitches. Make a chart with 40 separate squares representing the strike zone for each pitch. Title each individual pitch. Work through the script. Place a plus or minus for quality of pitch. (ie…Fastball down and away to a RHH if quality located give a plus where pitch was thrown, if thrown middle in to the hitter give it a minus.) After all the pitches have been thrown, summarize locations. You might find that on that particular day you had a tough time with glove side fastball down and or something else. This is how you get better at locating and understanding your strengths and weaknesses. All quality located pitches may make the glove move but still be a quality pitch. (ie…attempting a fastball down and away but missing middle and down. The quality pitch is that both pitches where down.) Rules that I like to share with my guys are that when going away, miss down and when going in, miss in. Both misses still bring about a quality pitch.

Another way to improve your ability to “make a pitch’ is to understand the simplicity of just throwing the ball to the catcher. If you know how to throw to your catcher right down the middle, then through the process of direction, every pitch is a “boxed” pitch. (right down the middle to your catcher.) Learn that one skill, hit your target through the center of the catcher. After that, change your “self talk” when acquiring signals. Instead of “FB down and away” think more, “fastball, catcher is setting up away.” Then direct yourself and deliver a pitch through the center of you catcher. If the catcher is setting up in, and you hit him in the center where is the location of the pitch? In.

This youtube clip will hopefully show you how do to this.

Hope this helps someone. Appreciate all. [/code]

…awesome. This is an outstanding way of thinking about it that I had never thought of. That way, you don’t try and make the adjustment with your arm or your trunk or anything…just shift that back foot slightly and throw a fastball right to the center of the catcher!! I love it.

I am not the brightest cat, but I have learned that in this coaching gig, it has gotten to a point that alot of things are right in front of you. Like putting your spread hand in front of your face so close that you can see through the fingers. Sometimes you just need to back up to find what your looking for. I want things easy.

K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple Smart - Simplicity is the goal. With simplicity comes understanding. With understanding comes action. With action you can move forward.

By the way, one of my coaching mentors that you may know, just made it to the Big Leagues!! Jerry Weinstein
Congrats Skip!!
http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20111021&content_id=25741236&vkey=news_col&c_id=col

Sounds like something I used to do when I was a little snip and continued 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”, wherein he would position his mitt in various places, high, low, inside, outside, every which way but standing on his head :lol:, and I would focus on getting the ball smack-dab into the pocket of that mitt—actually, throwing through the target rather than just at it. I would do this with all my stuff, at different speeds, and because I was a sidearmer I would use the crossfire as well. It was a terrific workout and a lot of fun, and from time to time we would get someone to stand in one or the other batter’s box so I could really zero in on the strike zone—maybe even get this person to swing at a few pitches.
We would go at this for an hour at a time, two or three times a week, and believe me, I can’t think of a better way to work on location, control, whatever you want to call it. At times my wise and wonderful pitching coach would put on a catcher’s mitt, set up at the requisite 60’6" distance, and catch for me so he could check on what I was doing. (And he wasn’t half bad as a catcher.) 8) :slight_smile: :baseballpitcher:

This is great, I’ll definitely have to try this.

Coach,
Again, thanks for a very informative and insightful post. The information you have posted will undoubtedly help pitchers of all ages. I truly hope that one day my son will have the opportunity to play for such a coach.

Thanks again,
Billy P.

How would I place jpegs onto the post? What am I not doing right, or am I unable to.

I am appreciative of the nice comments and would like feedback on how it pans out for those that will try it.

Here is an information slide I use to convey the same thought process. It is on the topic of guys throwing in the glove side of the rubber. Why would someone eliminate the advantge of hiding the ball better by being on the arm side of the rubber. Left on left match ups are not what they where with LHP’s moving to the 3rd base side of the rubber.

For the charting I mentioned above

I’m confused, you say to stay on arm side of the rubber, then your video says to stay on glove side (first slide) as well does your second to last post. So which is it?

but i like your stuff, i never thought of back foot placement, great stuff

Sorry for the confusion. The slides state the “percieved action” that coaches from high school to the big leagues have pitchers who have a tough time with getting arm side pitches over the plate… The quick fix is to move them as far to their gloveside as possible so their ball can be a strike. By doing this, you take away a distinct advantage of being in a armside match up. (deception or hiding it longer or both)

Both these slides where used in Coaching Clinic talks I did on the “Common Sense to Pitching”. I was addressing something that I didn’t agree with as the video and slide states in being on the arm side of the rubber is an advantage. “If you can’t get much of the plate, because your ball can’t get over there (don’t understand that one) or if you have too much movement?” Stay with the deception/advantage and direct yourself better.

Thanks for asking. Hope this clears it up.
I am an arm-side guy.

Coach,
Had my 15 yo try these sight back foot adjustments while staying slightly on the arm side of the rubber. He threw a 40 pitch bullpen, all fastballs, the first 15 - 20 were adjustments, after that he seemed to start locating his FB as directed.
His take on it following the session was that mechanically he couldn’t feel anything different but the adjustment helped him mentally to hit his spots. He’s also been working on your focalization techniques and getting good results, focusing on one pitch and using, “fastball…, catcher setting up…” . He says it’s helping cause that’s all he has to think about on the rubber and he can get out of his own head.
Has he pefected these techniques, No, but a good start for a work in progress. Thanks again for posting such great info.