Pitchers shaking their head leads to hitters shaking theirs

I just thought I’d throw this out there because I’ve had much success with it.

To me, keeping the hitter off balance, uncomfortable, and guessing wrong are very important to successful pitching.

How many of you have watched youth pitchers get 0-2 on a hitter and predictably throw a breaking ball or change up? I saw this 10 times in one game this summer in an all-star tournament!

It’s very successful because, at that age, most hitters lunge at the ball and can’t hit anything off speed after timing up the fastball. It gets less effective, however, as you move up the ranks and hitters stop drifting forward-- especially if pitchers have a habit of going to the breaking ball with two strikes.

If you ask hitters what they are looking for 0-2 and most will say breaking ball or change up if they got into the hole via a fastball.

One of many successful things to do is employ a “shake your head” sign a couple of times and call the pitch the batter was originally looking for. The hitter was expecting breaking ball or change and will now be thinking fastball. The pitcher throws a slider or change, for example.

The challenging part is having a catcher that knows the pitches a hitter will be anticipating in a given count after a particular sequence. The last thing a pitcher wants to see being dropped for a sign 0-2 when he wants to throw a change or curve is the sign for a change or a curve :x

He won’t be able to shake it off unless he ends up shaking off every pitch in his arsenal before the catcher makes it back to the curve sign. By then, the hitter has asked for time and stepped out.

Shake sign, shake sign, desired pitch sign is an efficient sequence that gets the hitter thinking fastball.

Of course there are many ways to deceive a hitter. This is only one way, but it has worked for me in many situations. It often allowed me to throw a pitch that was working for me, even when it was the pitch the hitter was originally expecting.

Thats true that will work. When he was in babe ruth league my son would sometimes stand and stare until the batter called time…at that age the batter thinks something is up. He also would look into his glove at his hands like he was trying to get his grip right…in both cases he would just throw a fastball. Usually the batters would watch it go by expecting off speed. He wasnt taught this stuff he just would do it on his own.

Lots hitters look for the pitcher making grip adjustments or putting the hand on the ball from a certain angle and try to figure out if the pitcher is tipping off his pitches.I agree that deceptively manipulating the ball could help in certain situations. The mental aspect of the pitcher vs batter is one of the best battles in all of sports.

Does anyone else have other examples of purely mental trickery that pitchers can inflict upon hitters?

Of all the examples, the best—and most menacing—is Andy Pettitte’s stare. He looks in at the batter, and his cap is pulled down low over his forehead, and the lower part of his face is concealed by his glove—and all the batter can see is Andy Pettitte’s menacing stare. I have seen him do this many times, and those penetrating eyes…the batter doesn’t know what to make of it. And it doesn’t matter what Mr. Pettitte throws; the batter can’t set himself for the pitch because he doesn’t know what the pitch might be. And you can be sure it’ll be in there for a strike! :slight_smile: 8)