I am a right-handed pitcher at a small high school in Washington. I was all-league last year and consider myself to be decent, but not great. I was wondering how everyone felt about repeating pitches to a batter. By this I mean throwing a single pitch several time in a row, although it may be in different locations. I have found some success with this. I don’t throw real hard, but I locate well. Any thoughts?
I remeber when A. J. Burnett threw his no-hitter. These aren’t exact numbers, but of the about 115 pitches he threw, about 105 were fastballs.
We had a little lefty here in St. Louis named Bud Smith who I believe threw a no-hitter also throwing only fastballs and change-ups.
The point is to locate the fastball and change speeds. Sometimes, if you locate the fastball with good enough velocity, you don’t have to change speeds as much. In Burnett’s case, it was grip and rip. I think he had about 7 or 8 walks in the game. His velocity, mid-90’s made up for a lack of location. Smith was a constant change of speeds where he would throw the change two or three times in a row to keep guys off his fastball.
I, for the majority of pitchers, set a goal of 80-85% fastballs per game for high school pitchers. I have coached a prospect team the last two summers of 16 year olds, and I would make them throw all fastballs the first time through the order. This was in an effort to make guys locate with movement in the zone to get outs. Also, they would be surprised at the tone they would set for the game by pounding the strike zone early and often.
The point is that yes, you should repeat pitches. I suggest that by not repeating pitches enough, a pitcher becomes predictable. You can throw the same pitch in the same location more than once. You will be surprised at the results you get.
Thanks for the info, i wll continue to try new things during preseason/exhibition game to figure what will work best for me during league play.
Great post Coach DeLunas!!
My pitching coach used to say—and he often had to tell some pitchers he was working with more than once—“Never the same pitch, never the same place, never the same speed.” Or, to put it another way, he would tell me, “Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside—and change speeds.” Believe me, he knew whereof he spoke. A major problem pitchers are often up against is that they will feed a batter the same pitch twice or three times in a row, and all too often the batter will be looking for that pitch the third time around and next thing you know, blam, over the fence. And all too often pitchers will throw the ball down the middle—right where the batter likes it—and blam, over the fence. What pitchers have to do is mix up their pitches, change speeds—and, you know, just about any pitch you throw can be turned into a changeup.
A good idea is to start off with something other than a fast ball, because a lot of the time the batters are set for it. They come up to the plate anticipating a fast ball. And the pitcher, more often than not, will accommodate them by throwing a fast ball. And blam, over the fence. I threw a lot of “snake jazz”—a wide assortment of breaking pitches, because I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of—and a lot of the time when I faced a batter I would come in there with a knuckle-curve or a slider, either of which caught the batter off balance. The name of the game is strategic pitching, and more pitchers would do well to do this with whatever pitches they have. 8)
I can throw my knuckleball several times in a row.
Seriously though I know even as one who throws mostly knucklers I still have to change speeds and go high and low with the pitch. Every now and then I do have to use other pitches.
And don’t forget inside and outside. You want to hit the corners as well. Moving the ball around will confuse hitters as nothing else can. Also—I don’t know whether you throw sidearm or not, but I did, and I was able to use the crossfire effectively—that’s a move that works only with the sidearm delivery. In any event, you’re on the right track. 8)
It depends, I am big believer in the curveball after age 16.
One guy on our summer team would have been very unhappy if he had to go through a lineup throwing only his fastball, and he had a very,very good one. It depends on what kind of pitcher your are.
By all means if a batter shows you he can’t hit a particular pitch, please give him an overdose of it.
It depends on your stuff, what the blue is calling that day, all osrts of variables.