PITCHING MECHANICS

Many coaches tell pitchers during a game, “Don’t aim the ball”. In archery and shooting we aim at a target. As a private instructor I suggest getting into an “Aiming Position” which when demonstrated produces a good result. Any comments?

Usually, when a pitcher is aiming, he’s taking something off his pitch and that has the effect of altering his timing and possibly even his mechanics. The result is that the pitcher often does things differently than the way he practiced and ends up doing worse. Pitchers should interpret “don’t aim” to mean “trust your mechanics, go back to what you’ve practiced, and let 'er rip”.

aiming to me means short arming the ball… not taking your arm back in a nice extended and fluid back swing

What exactly does this aiming position look like?

In my experience, aiming is a bad thing for a pitcher because it involves thinking, and thinking tends to interferes with one’s mechanics.

I agree with this assessment.

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]aiming to me means short arming the ball… not taking your arm back in a nice extended and fluid back swing[/quote]What do you mean by “…a nice extended and fluid back swing”? In particular, the “extended” part.

"In archery and shooting we aim at a target. As a private instructor I suggest getting into an “Aiming Position”

I think you are talking semantics here, it would be easier to understand what you are alluding to, if you describe the stance and posture. My suspicians are that you are naming what I term (And have heard others refer to) the power position (front foot slightly to the ball, posture “stacked” or balanced, front arm…etc). If that is the case then you are using a confusing term for some (Me included). My take on “aim” is darts. I suppose you could also say that a pitchers stance prior to wind-up or stretch is also an “Aiming Position”.

well, maybe not quite extended, or straightened at the elbow, in the strictest sense of the word … but extended in the sense that you go beyond a cocked, 90 degree angle before you bring the arm up.

To further Roger’s excellent point, I’d like to add that one of the worst things any coach or instructor can do is use the word “don’t” (or similarly negative words). Anyone who has taken Psych 101 should remember that the brain does not process the “don’t” part of a sentence — it only sees the rest of the statement. (There’s an old fable that says you can walk on water if you follow certain meditations, say certain prayers, eat certain foods … and one more thing: DON’T think of monkeys. Naturally, after hearing the last part, all one can do is think of monkeys!)

Also, it’s equally bad for a coach to tell someone what not to do, without explaining WHAT to do as the replacement activity.

That said, if a coach says “don’t aim”, I’d ask — without being a wiseacre — “what should I do instead / to correct my mechanics?”