Pitch Categories

For high school and beyond, serious competitors should have a pitch inventory, or repertoire, that has two categories of pitch types. The first type being those of your highest confidence – otherwise called your Game Pitch(s) and those that are WIP otherwise called Work In Progress pitch(s).

Every pitcher, amateur and pro, has these two categories of pitches. And this remains constant throughout his/her career. No exceptions. Sometimes changes are necessary in the Game Pitch(s) due to age, injury, rehabilitation, and other factors. That’s why the Work In Progress pitch selection is so important. Why? Because when one or more Game Pitch(s) are no longer working to fill that demand – a decision must be made by the pitcher and his/her pitching coach of what to select from the Work In Progress selection that best fits that player’s current situation.

What to look for in your Game Pitch(s).

(1) First pitch, usually called your bread – n – butter pitch, I would suggest be a Fastball With Location. This is also called your “go to” pitch. The reason for calling this pitch your “go to” pitch is because first of all it’s the key stone – or foundation, for all your other pitches and second of all it’s your strongest suit. However, what really strengthens your appearance every time your deliver this pitch is not only its blistering velocity, but its accuracy. In other words, when you want that pitch to hit the corners … it dose just that… it hits the corners.
This quality – accuracy, is something that you usually work on constantly.

Also, during your training period of honing in on your Game Pitch(s) quality, it’s also an important time to see where your greatest accuracy is – high inside or low outside, etc.

(2) Second pitch in the Game Pitch(s) category for you is your Off-Speed or sometimes called a Change-Up.

With this pitch, concentrating on HOW this pitch performed AFTER you’ve just delivered a Fastball and at what location is the main thing to take note of. I can grantee you that your Off-Speed or Change-Up when delivered after a Fastball down and away, will have a totally different feel, flight, and performance at the plate then say … a fastball that was just delivered down and inside. Your body’s memory of certain muscle functions injects a certain amount of “memory feel” here. By the way, if you ever noticed a Major League Pitcher that really takes his time after delivering a blistering Fastball to … say the inside or outside… then follows up with an Off-Speed or Change-Up … that’s probably why.

Finally, if you have a definite gift – athletically, and you practice on the stuff that really works for you … scouts and recruiters alike look for young prospects that USE WHAT THEY HAVE. So, hone your skills with the stuff that works and reason for yourself why-when-and how come … then use that method to work on your WORK-IN-PROGRESS stuff.

Coach B.

Wow thanks alot Coach!! That is alot of info that i think will help… So do u think that i should just work alot with the 2 pitches i feel really comfortable with? Or kinda work on the ones that im not really with?

Let’s refine the first category – highest quality pitch(s)… your “go-to-pitch(s)”. These pitches or pitch… as the case may be, is sitting in your holster, ready to be drawn out because you can be sure of what it… they, will do. It or they, are dependable, give you the greatest feeling of confidence, settles you down when things aren’t going so well… with witness that you’ve still got it! You get the idea.

Now this doesn’t mean that this category of pitch(s) won’t get hit. Of course it’ll get hit. But the thing is… did it… they, do what you wanted. If your pitch in this category is a fastball down and in, off the right corner… well… did it do that regardless if it was hit or not?

That’s what Game Quality, Go to Pitch, your Bread –n –Butter pitch(s) are suppose to be. Now, if you have only one pitch that truly satisfies this criteria then so be it. But remember, it doesn’t have to be 98 miles per hour, nor does it have to have outstanding movement. IT DOES – TO YOU, be the pitch that you feel, gives you the greatest satisfaction that your accomplishing something worth while.

If your second pitch in this category is so – so, compared to the first, but that second pitch seems to fit the bill … in your mind, then so be it. After all, what your trying to do is build a pitch inventory that you can take with you to the park …that no only you can depend upon, but your coaches can plan on, your head coach can organize a game plan around, your catcher knows what’s in the mix and what’s not, and a lot of other stuff.

So, develop as best you can a pitch that forms your foundation… what’s your best stuff by prioritizing the jewel in your selection… then grade the rest of your ability that you’d feel confident bringing to a game.

The lesser of such, should be the pitch(s) that need work… but not right away. Remember, your top quality pitch(s) will require constant work and toning so they… and you … keep their edge. Kind of like a set of sharp knives. When you use a really sharp knife you know it! But, when they get dull…. you really know it!!! Out comes the sharpening stone and you go to work.

I had a guy who had the most amazing slider I’d ever seen. It was like a remote controlled model airplane. And his facial expressions upon release, seemed like he was controlling it by shear will. I’d see him on the field constantly practicing with it. And he was so articulate with it, he used this pitch as his foundation pitch… which all other of this pitches seemed to get some kind of signature off of.

Also remember, you Game Quality pitch(s) will not necessarily perform 100 % every day. Sometimes this pitch or pitches can have varying success rates. Sometimes it’s because you’re not feeling that well, the surface that your working off of just doesn’t help you, and sometimes … it’s just one of those days when nothing goes right! :bothered:

Coach B.

Hey here is a question Coach… It seems like eveyone in higher ball has like a slider or some pitch like that… All i got is a 2/4 Fast Ball Curve and Circle change… Do i need to learn a few more pitches if i want to be the best i can be?? If so what would be a good choice of a new pitch?

Before I answer that … let’s say that I assumed the pitching coach’s spot for your club do to a recent change in that job and I find myself going over your profile file and I see that you have a 2/4 Fast Ball Curve and Circle change.

So, after reviewing the scouting input of the club that we’ll be playing against, it’s apparent that a 2/4 Fastball curve and a circle change-up will be just the ticket against the majority of their lineup.

I call you into my office and introduce myself… then I ask you this:

“Willownumba2, I need a guy to start next week … Tuesday to be exact, and I see here in your profile folder that you’v got a 2/4 fastball curve and a circle change-up. Ok son, be honest we me here … I’m new and depending on your honesty… I … we… don’t have a lot of time to test things out here. On a scale from one(1) to ten(10) how good is your fastball curve… and how good is your circle change-up?”

If you admit to any thing less than 90% dependability … your gone. Your gone… I mean gone like home… don’t come back. I’ll have a bus ticket waiting for you once the front office get’s my review and report.

On the other hand, if your admit to 90% dependability… your my man son. You’ll start next Tuesday… so get some rest. I then go to the head coach … GM… and give them my advice based on your advice.

“OK Coach B”, they tell me. “Looks like we’re in some pretty good shape for next Tuesday.”

Tuesday’s game is here. You arrive at the locker room, check in with the trainer… take a nice hot soak, limber up, go over the line up one more time with me of what’s the best approach with each batter… based on your stuff … 90% dependability from you. You suit up… do your bullpen duty then take the mound.

Now for your answer:

was I stretching my neck out for you?
is your stuff 90% dependable … in your opinion?
I need you for at least five (5) quality innings of your 90% ability.
do I have a job after that game.

Coach B.

OK… Thanks! I think this will help me in my season to come!

Basically, my response to your questions is this:
A lot of players who just want to pitch for the sake of saying they can…try and assemble too many pitches ( four seam, two seam, slider, curve, knuckle, split finger, change-up, forkball, palm ball, screwball) with very little dependability with any of them.

Oh sure, the list is impressive… but not something that registers that one word that every pitching coach and head coach really wants to hear…DEPENDABILITY.

If you have only one pitch that you can honestly say is dependable, it works to your satisfaction … it’s a keeper… your best stuff that you can reach back and its there for you… then that’s the one pitch that you can say with confidence…” THIS ONE YOU CAN DEPEND ON COACH… BECAUSE I DO ! “

Really successful pitchers at any level …high school and beyond usually
have a foundation of two (2) pitches that they’ll bring to the park on any give day. And their confidence level with these two (2) is 90% or better. This by the way is an asset to the club’s game planning staff like you wouldn’t believe. In fact, you’d be amazed at how much pressure and guess work it relieves from guys like me. Not to mention my job security.

Coach B.