Finding a pitching coach (Illinois and in general)

Can anybody tell me a good pitching coach in Illinois for instruction?

Also what do you look for in a good private instructor?

Thanks in advance!

You might find an NPA certified instructor][u]here[/u

Look for an instructor who adapts to the pitcher instead of handing out “cookie cutter” instruction, who can explain the “why” behind his instruction, and who communicates well.

I really like the NPA style, although I’m farther north than most of those coaches on the NPA website.

I agree with the ‘cookie cutter’ comments, as a former player and current coach myself, I enjoy working with the kids that ask the ‘why’ questions. It tells me they understand it and are willing to make the adjustments.

Besides here is anybody using online video analysis sites to help players make changes?

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again—when looking for a pitching coach, look for one who will adapt to a pitcher’s particular style and work with it. Nothing is worse than the so-called “cookie cutter” coach whose prime tenet is “my way or the highway”, who tries to make a pitcher do such-and-such in a so-and-so way and will not accept any deviation from this—if you encounter one of those, RUN, don’t walk!
I was lucky. As a result of my wanting to know about a particular pitch—the slider—I found someone who was one of the finest anyone could ever hope to work with. Ed Lopat was a member of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation in the late 40s to the mid-50s, and his basic premise was that every pitcher has a natural motion, so what he would do was work with said pitcher and show him/her how to make the most of what s/he had and could do. He started out with me by showing me how to throw the slider, and as I was familiarizing myself with the pitch (and the easier wrist action involved) he was watching me and making mental notes about various aspects of my pitching. In fact, he was forming a jumping-off point from which he could work with me, and work with me he did—he helped me become a better pitcher than I had been before. When you find someone like that, a pitching coach who will take what you’ve got and show you how to make the most of it, who is willing to experiment to find what’s going to work for you—“Once you have found him, never let him go”, to paraphrase the song. There are some like that around—seek, and you shall find. 8)

i think it would be great if they had a place on this site that we might be able to write about our pitching instructors i know about the npa but my instructor is not an npa guy and he is great

Well, why don’t you start here? Tell us about your pitching coach, his basic precepts, how he works with you, stuff like that. It certainly would make for interesting reading, and I think a lot of us would want to know. You know, there are all kinds of pitching coaches, good, bad, indifferent, and everything in between.
A few years ago I did a presentation for a regional SABR meeting in Cleveland, Ohio—about pitching coaches—and I divided it into several sections: the ones who could both pitch and coach; the ones who could coach but couldn’t pitch; the ones who could pitch but who were lousy coaches; the ones who couldn’t do either (and, unfortunately, there are a lot of them around); and the oddballs. It was like a trip to the zoo, and it was very well received by my fellow SABR members.
So go ahead and tell us about yours. :slight_smile: 8)

Zito Carno

my pitching coach works fundamentals every lesson, he works on how to get to a balanced post and how to finish in a athletic position at the end of every pitch. he works on each part of my body including head and glove where they should be during certain parts of the delivery, if i have changed something he goes back to where i do have it and works from there. he doesn’t really change much every lesson but improves little things. 2 times a year he puts me on the gun just to see where i am at but doesn’t really make a big deal about it. once a year we do a whole bullpen and he charts my pitches for accuracy(really tough and a little frustrating) during the lesson he doesn’t just deal with the pitching but the mental stuff too, what to throw and when, when to get the hitter off the plate when to bust him outside and when a you might need to bean a batter (yep i said it). he really pounds into my head and my dads how many pitches i should throw in a weekend right now 80-90. i like feeling that i am getting good at all the basic techniques. he also has a plan how i am going to make my high school team and even pitch in college. i don’t know if it matters but he pitched in college and in the minor league in the 70’s

his basic concepts are, throw strikes, move the batters eyes up down in out fast and slow, get outs with the fastball, throw fastballs 75% of the time, use the change up to set up the fastball, don’t throw curve balls till you are much older if at all (he teaches me a knuckle curve that is thrown with the arm action of a fastball but i can get it to break off the table).

(chuckle chuckle) Just a little note: my first name ends with an “a”.
That’s a real plus—the fact that your pitching coach has had professioinal experience; he’s been there and done that, and he’s able to pass it on to you. As Yogi Berra once said about Bill Dickey, “he’s learning me all his experience”—and incidentally, that’s not altogether a “Yogi-ism”—this usage was very common in Shakespeare’s day.
I remember how Ed Lopat would often tell me stories from his own experiences on the mound to illustrate a point. One such was a spy story, and a fascinating one it was. In June of 1950 the Yankees were to play in Cleveland—I wish I could have seen that game!—and although it was a beautiful day it was hot and very humid, and the air conditioning in the hotel was on the fritz, so he decided that if he were going to suffer he might as well do it outside. He went out for a walk, and as he neared the old Municipal Stadium—the “Mistake by the lake”—he suddenly stopped because he heard the unmistakeable sounds of batting practice coming from inside the park.
Batting practice! At four in the afternoon! In those days the night games usually started at 8 PM, so the batting practice would begin at about six—but four in the afternoon? He immediately suspected that the Tribe was up to something, so he sneaked into the ballpark, took up a position in the upper deck where no one could see him, and played “I spy”. He watched for about twenty minutes as second-line Indians pitcher Sam Zoldak pitched a special batting practice to the entire team; he was imitating Lopat as best as he could, throwing slow breaking stuff, and the batters were practicing hitting it. THey were standing flatfooted in the batter’s box, choking up on the bat, and hitting to the opposite field. For crying out loud, they were practicing for Lopat and his snake-jazz! He watched, and then with a sardonic smile as if to say “oh yeah?” he left the stadium as invisibly as he had entered and returned to the hotel.
That night…
Before the game started, Lopat pulled Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra aside, told them what he had seen, and then said conspiratorially “I think we’ll have some fun tonight.” The game started, and the Indians came to bat drooling and licking their chops as the prospect of the goodies awaiting them. What they got was a very different Ed Lopat—nothing but fast balls and hard sliders, not even so much as a curveball, and they ended up returning to the dugout foaming at the mouth! When finally in the fifth inning they decided the heck with it and returned to their free-swinging ways, he immediately switched back to his control pitching. He shut them out on six scattered singles, one walk, five strikeouts, and the Yanks knocked Bob Lemon out of the box in the fifth inning en route to a 7-0 victory.
The next morning Lopat went to the ballpark early, and he saw manager Al Lopez and one of his coaches standing around dissecting the previous night’s disastrous defeat. He walked up to them and said casually, “Look, you guys—next time you want to hold batting practice, do it early in the morning so I don’t see it.” They called him a bleeping s.o.b.—but in admiration.
And thus he introduced me to strategic pitching. We talked about that a lot; he told me many things about sizing up the hitters, determining their strengths and weaknesses, how to pitch to them. He knew I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of; when he asked me about that my response was “WHAT fast ball?” He told me not to worry about it, that we would work with what I had, and immediately my estimation of him jumped some 600 percent, because he was telling me that he would take me in hand, work with me and help me become a better pitcher than I had been. And he did. 8) :slight_smile:

I’m sorry Zita Carno, i had so much stuff going through my mind about what my pitching coach does with me. Sorry again.