Getting back into the swing of things


Okay, I have been pitching for 4 or 5 years now, and I have a variety of pitches. For my age group atleast. I’m 15, and I’m going to be a sophomore in high school this next school year. The year before, in 8th grade, I was an all-conference player and I led my team to state with my pitching. I’m an exceptional batter as well, but that’s besides the point. I throw a 4-Seam, 2-Seam, 12-6 Curve, Slider, and I’m starting to form a Circle Change-Up. My fastballs have great movement, and my cruves rarely hang. The Change-up is still in the works, but I seem to throw it in the dirt a lot… I’ve never been clocked-in, to see how fast I throw; however, I’ve had multiple long-time umpires tell me that on a good day I threw in the high 80’s.

My problem RIGHT NOW is that I cannot get back into pitching. I missed an entire year of pitching because I had a problem called Ulnar Neuritis. I actually just pitched last night for the first time in a year. I didn’t pitch last fall, during the winter, or this spring. Over the winter, I went in and out to the specialists and therapy 3 times a week. I couldn’t work out in the off-season, and with my arm hurting AND my coach being who he is, I didn’t pitch any my freshman year. Right now my arm is fine. It’s just that I can’t stay in the game long enough because I haven’t been able to work on pitching a whole lot this past year.

Last night, I pitched 3 innings. I shut the other team out in the first and second innings. The score was stuck at 0-0, being our first game of the summer season. The lead-off batter in the third came up and I gave up the first hit of the game as he sent one right back up the middle on a 1-2 count. Then from there on out, they got 4 more hits, I walked 5 batters, and I hit some leftie. Like I said, in the first two innings, I had been doing fine. My pitches had great movement, and my curve wasn’t hanging. I had felt confident until they got those first few hits, then I just lost it. Being someone who has been out for so long, what can I do to regain my strength and confidence when I step on the hill?


Way back when, there was one pitcher who was in a situation similar to yours. He would start out fine, but he just couldn’t go deep into games for whatever reason. Then the manager got the idea of using him to protect leads late in the game—seventh, eighth, ninth innings—and that solved the problem for both of them. The pitcher became a very effective late-inning reliever and lasted for a good number of years, and that took a lot of pressure off the manager.
You might talk to your manager or coach and ask if you can be used in this way. You have a good arsenal of pitches and the control to go with them—it’s just a matter of your not being able to pitch a nine-inning game. I’ve seen this happen any number of times, and pitchers in such a situation often become closers and good ones at that. 8) :baseballpitcher:


This is very possible. I’m not going to dispute the fact that I do see most closers go out and throw extremely hard. It may not be for long, but they get the job done late in the game! One of the most memorable for me was Isringhausen from the Cardinals. I’ve considered it a few times. I know I can throw a complete game, though. I’ve done it multiple times. I want to get back to being able to throw hard through atleast 6 or 7 innings.

Last night when I pitched, I started fine, then got shook. I was off, and when I tried to correct by taking it up a notch, I still got knocked around a little. I lost my confidence, then just stopped aiming and I eventually got tired.

Is there any sort of work out I could do during the season? I know it’s been a long-time rule to not lift weights during the season. It makes you sore and will take you down. Also, what kind of mentality do I need when I get knocked around a little? I have a game this coming sunday. Coach already told me I was starting pitching. I’d rather not fall apart if they jump out on me early.


Two words: Mariano Rivera.
This greatest of closers (and on occasion he will pitch two or three innings if he has to) has a secret which has stood him in good stead for years. Before he even starts to warm up he takes a couple of minutes to get himself into a mindset he calls “the eye of the tiger”—a quiet but very intense focus in which nothing exists for him except getting the batters out. Then he warms up, throwing easily at first and then putting more and more stuff on his pitches. He goes out to the mound, taking this mindset with him, and proceeds to make the batters look very, very stupid.
I learned to do this quite some years back—my old pitching coach, an active major league pitcher who also doubled as an extra pitching coach for his team, taught me this intense concentration technique, and I made very good use of it, especially since I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of and had to rely on an arsenal of snake-jazz.
Okay, that’s the confidence part of it. Now for the rest of it—one thing I would suggest is that when you do a bullpen session (I used to do one a week between starts), throw all your pitches to see how they’re working, and if you find that one of them is misbehaving, especially when you’re warming up prior to the start of a game, leave it alone for the time being. Go with your other stuff. Also, take a look at your arm slot—are you comfortable with it? If not, you might want to make a change there—perhaps drop down somewhat, which would take a lot of pressure off your arm and shoulder. I was a natural sidearmer, and my coach never attempted to change it; he firmly believed that every pitcher has a natural motion, and what he did with me was show me how to take full advantage of that delivery. You might even get together with a good pitching coach and have him help you with a few things.
And if, after several tries, you still can’t pitch more than a few innings, try the other way—pitch in relief in the late innings and see what happens. 8)


You’ve answered your own question. Your conditioning has lapsed and you just don’t have the steam to get to the end of the track. You’ve probably heard plenty that what you accomplish in-season is directly proportional to what you do in the off-season, right?

I think as you go through the year you will find your ability to go longer increasing as you do more work, but it may not fully come back until you’ve had an off-season of conditioning to really get back to where you were.


[quote=“oc2viking”]You’ve probably heard plenty that what you accomplish in-season is directly proportional to what you do in the off-season, right?

I think as you go through the year you will find your ability to go longer increasing as you do more work, but it may not fully come back until you’ve had an off-season of conditioning to really get back to where you were.[/quote]
I never thought of that. Hopefully you’re right! Thanks for the comments. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I believe I’m ready to go out and throw 6 or 7 strong innings this sunday! Even if I’m not… Like you said, I will work to it by next season.