What can I do to improve hitting the strike zone and get command of pitches? I am a sophomore in high school and can easily pitch 80 and max out at about 85, but what’s wrong with me is my command. My coaches haven’t been using me for a while now and I’m pretty worried because I don’t want to stop playing after high school. I played varsity ball when the new coaches joined for JV so they never really saw me do well there and have only saw me lose command. Any ideas on workouts/drills to do while in season and offseason? Any help appreciated!
The only way to get command is to work at command. I would start with throwing an entire bullpen to one specific spot. One pitch. One spot. For example, fastball down and away. Throw that pitch 20 times, take a 5 min break and throw that same pitch 20 more times. Chart your variance from the spot. Keep throwing pens like this until your variances decrease enough to consider the pitch mastered.
In addition to the repetitions suggested by CoachPaul, I’d suggest finding a knowledgable instructor who can help ensure you have solid mechanics that lend themselves to an efficient and repeatable delivery.
Command is an extremely complex topic, well outside the scope of this reply. However, when it comes to command, there are two overarching words you need to remember: intent and focus.
Intent refers to your intentions during bullpens, live BP, or games. Intention drives action. If you’re trying to develop command, your intent needs to be: “I will throw this pitch to that spot.” That’s it. In this sense, it often helps (particularly at the beginning) to split up your mound sessions into “command” and “velocity” sessions to avoid interference between the intent to throw hard and the intent to throw with accuracy.
Focus refers to your ability to direct your unwavering attention towards the task at hand (the task often directs your intent). Psychobiological states such as fatigue or anxiety and irrelevant information in the external environment (e.g., everything else that is going on in the game) will always be pulling your attention away from the task at hand, compromising your intent.
Intent and focus are intricately related, and can be improved synergistically and rapidly in non-stressful situations. Once this is mastered, the key to excellent command is developing the ability to maintain intent and focus under pressure.
Hope this helps! I will add some more thoughts on developing command at a later date.