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]