Should I throw it?

My repertoire consists of a fastball, curveball, slider, and slowly-developing change-up. Throughout high school, I relied heavily on my curveball and slider, as I lacked velocity and my change-up was pretty bad. I have gained some velocity this off-season, but not enough that I should be able to blow it by a college hitter without good off-speed. So here’s my problem:

My coach says my slider sucks. Says its terrible because it doesn’t have enough break to it and that I should only throw curveballs. On a clock, my curveball is a big, twelve-six style from letters to knees while my slider is about a 2-8 that cuts a little less than from corner to corner of homeplate. Now the solution should be simple: coach says its a bad pitch, so it probably is, so I shouldn’t throw it.

But the problem is that its not bad. That’s not my opinion. That’s everyone except him. My teammates tell me its my best pitch. My high school and legion coaches say its my best pitch. My catchers love to call it. But I’m not supposed to throw it.

I honestly don’t think its my best pitch. I think its a good pitch that compliments my curveball well because from a hitters perspective, they look the same out of my hand, but have completely different movement. We have just begun scrimmaging and I haven’t actually given up any hits with it, but coach has told me to stop throwing it and only throw curveballs because my slider will get hit.

My coach has explained to me his reasonings, and I am not one to argue with my coach, but I feel very uncomfortable on the mound without it. We had live BP yesterday and I kept finding myself thinking, “a slider would be great right here,” but I couldn’t throw it. Thoughts on how to proceed? My current idea is just talk to my coach, ask to be able to keep throwing it, and if it gets hit, then I’ll stop.

Your head coach (Skipper) has his reasons - go with it. Do not under any conditions go “free style”. You’ll never see the light of day again.

There are many reasons for your situation. Now, although I’m not head coach material, I have served with a variety that all seem to have the same kind of game plan, and that is, having at their disposal a tool box- kind of, that they can reach back and depend on, based on the particulars of who we were facing at any one time. This game plan viewed his rotation as a tool box - pass me a 3/3 socket, a 3/8 drive, a open end 1/2, a gasket scrapper, etc.

Each tool has a purpose and a unique quality that is needed at that time - not beyond, but at that time. And based on how that tool performed for the situation at hand, he would expect that same tool to be ready, usable, in good condition and servicing his design time and time again.

You seem to fit that pattern here. You have a dependability factor that works for you and your skill level. You also seem to have a track record of being ready when called upon, to do your thing. Hence, you take a lot of pressure off your head coach, his staff, and others - when the time is right.
So here’s the deal here - your value at the moment is this:

  • Your dependable.
  • Your ready and in condition when called for.
  • Your a situation pitcher with a know quality and quanity.

Like I said before, you’re a known, dependable and worthy of being part of a game plan.

I wouldn’t upset the apple cart right now. I would hone your slider with accuracy - rather than velocity. I would spot it, at will, and offer to step in as a BP pitcher now and then and work it. Just get the permission from your batting coach, or the coach assigned to that portion of your club.

By the way - an “uncle charlie”, I mean a good one, at the right time during a game, can be golden. When a batting order beens facing heat for the last four innings, then you step in and start this …" WHOAAA… where did that come from…?" it can upset a game plan on the other bench something awful! (By the way - we pitchers just love to do that) So under your breath you snear and say to yourself …" yeah, go chase it meat…"

The comments that I made here take nothing more or less into account than pure baseball logic and planning. I have no knowledge of other agendas, politics - real or assumed, nor do I have knowledge of your situation prior to joining this club and how you “fit in” to the scheme of things on the grand scale.

Coach B.

My current role in the tool-box looks to be as a late-inning reliever/setup kind of guy. Not sure what it is that I do that makes me fit into that role, other than I have very low-stamina because I have been a reliever for the past 2 years and have exceeded 3 innings on less than half a dozen occasions.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]
I wouldn’t upset the apple cart right now. I would hone your slider with accuracy - rather than velocity. I would spot it, at will, and offer to step in as a BP pitcher now and then and work it. Just get the permission from your batting coach, or the coach assigned to that portion of your club.[/quote]

It’s arguably my most accurate pitch, possibly more accurate than my fastball.

The situation that you’re in is an excellent opportunity to learn a few things about life.

You’re in a position where you’ve walked into an unknown- sort of. Had you know beforehand that this is what you’d be used for, I doubt if you would have agreed to it. Or, perhaps you would have. Only you know that for sure.

So, use every event that comes your way with this baseball thing, as a learning curve of what to expect elsewhere. In that regard, you may think that your talents could be better used this-way-or-that, but aren’t. Therefore, you may apply yourself to a job, a collection of friends, a once-in-a-life-time deal …… only to find out that it/that/them, aren’t really your cup of Joe.

In the future, qualify what you want and ask up front what’s-what. Learn how to negotiate your wants and needs by practicing conversations with your dad, mom, other members of those that are close to you, adult-wise. Why adults? Because they have gone the route that you’re taking now. Learn from their experiences.

Here’s what YOU DON’T WANT TO DO. Don’t whine and cry, pout and sulk around when things don’t go your way. I’m not stating here that that’s what you do, no I’m not going there. Be a planner, look ahead, know your abilities – better yet know your weaknesses best.

You’re baseball experiences can mirror life, big time. Things you can and can’t control, and the people in your immediate vicinity who could care less if you fail or succeed – as long as they get what they want from you. Someday, you’ll be the same way – trust me on that one. Sooner or later, we all turn out this way, in one form or the other.

Please don’t take these comments as knocking you down, - I’m not. I sincerely wish you the very best in your baseball experience.

Coach B.

Listen to your coach kid, there is a reason he is the head coach. If he says dont throw the slider, then dont. If you continuously go against your coach on this you wont be seeing much time on the hill, unless you count running up and down large steep hills, something my coaches have always been fond of to punish a few of our more unruly players.

Plus, keeping that slider in your pocket, at least for the time being, will allow more time to perfect your other pitches, specifically that change up; it is an important pitch to have. And anyways, you can always take time on your own, away from your coach and his practices, to work on improving the slider, or at least bringing it up to your coaches standards.

For the sake of your pitching career, just give the coach what he wants. Drop the slide-piece from your in-game repetoire.

Continue to develop your slider and throw what your coach wants. Maybe he feels your other pitches are plenty to get you where he needs you to be.

[quote]But the problem is that its not bad. That’s not my opinion. That’s everyone except him. My teammates tell me its my best pitch. My high school and legion coaches say its my best pitch. My catchers love to call it. But I’m not supposed to throw it.
[/quote]

Welcome to baseball, a land where coaches make a decision based on one thing they saw one time and refuse to change their mind. Enjoy your stay.

:lol:

So true Kyle

Work on developing a GOOD changeup. Having three great pitches is much more beneficial than having 6 pitch repertoire. Most MLB relief pitchers utilize 2-3 pitches, but they have mastered them. For an extreme example: Mariano Rivera who throws 90 percent cut fastballs.