I am a right handed pitcher. When the catcher calls an inside pitch on a right handed batter I often struggle to locate the pitch to the desired spot. I think I am often to worried about hitting the batter because the pitches often miss even to the opposite side of the plate. What are drills or even mental exercises to help focus more on the spot the catcher gives and not where the batter is standing.
This might just be me, but I attack the inside corner with the mindset “how close can I throw this to him without actually hitting him?”. Of course, I’m throwing the pitches for strikes, but that mindset helps me have an aggressive attitude towards facing the hitter. I wouldn’t use the mindset “don’t worry about the hitter” because then you’re thinking about not thinking about the hitter. Try to think of inside corner as a competitive challenge, not an area of failure. It’s your box. Nothing better than establishing the inside, because it makes your outside pitches so much more effective- hitters won’t be able to “cheat” and crowd the plate. When you’re throwing a bullpen, get one of your teammates to stand in the box so you can practice throwing inside pitches. If you hit them, so what. You could definitely work on throwing inside through visualization, as well.
Go to a store that sells appliances, like a refrigerator. Ask them for the cardboard box that the refrigerator came in. Take the large cardboard box home and cutout the figure of a batter. Spray paint it black. Prop the cardboard figure up - right or left handed batter, and the pitch to a backstop net or something. Focus on the net or whatever target that you’re using.
You’ll probably nail this cutout a few times so expect to save all sides of the cardboard box so you can make more cutouts.
What’s happing is this, you’re vision is picking up the batter and that vision is in the total picture - including your target. In other words, the batter’s presence is overpowering your concentration. You’ve got to train yourself to focus only on your target - excluding the batter.
This is an issue for a lot of pitchers - more so that most people think.
Thank you both for your input.
One thing I taught my son was to pitch the same mechanics, but learn to use both sides of the rubber to get inside or outside pitches! But a trained hitter may figure out the “tell”, so use your judgement!
Another option is to learn to adjust your “wrist” slightly to change the entry angle. This is much more advanced technique that you should learn more!
As an instructor, I have stood in the batter’s box when I felt a pitcher needed to practice throwing inside. I would get into a batting stance but without a bat. Instead, I’d wear my catchers mitt. If a pitch came too far inside, I’d simply catch it. This way, the pitcher didn’t have to worry about hitting me.
This could be the next step after the cardboard cutout approach Coach B suggested.
back in the dark ages when I was pitching, my coach always told me that if we hit a batter it was the batter’s fault, because he had a choice and he chose to get in the batter’s box.
Set up a screen at the front of the box. Have a batter stand behind it without swinging the bat–obviously. Pick a very small target. For example, don’t try to hit the mitt. Try to hit a small part of the mitt or the catcher’s equipment. There is something to be said for aiming small leading to missing smaller. You can work on the feel of throwing inside against a hitter without the worry of actually hitting him.
If you hit him you hit him it’s not the end of the world. Just have confidence in your command and throw inside. I don’t really have any drills for you, it’s really just a matter of confidence. Push yourself to throw inside during games even if it’s hard at first mentally.