Teaching Pitchers How To Teach Themselves, 7 Steps To Change

Here’s my latest post, I would love to hear your thoughts.


Great stuff as always ThinkTank

That was excellent!

I think all of us at some point or another had “that” type of coach; the type that was always wanting to change what you did or how you did it. Even if what you were doing was working, it wasn’t good enough. And if you kept going with what you were doing normally, you were “uncoachable” or “incorrigible”. My very first HS coach was like this. And if he was any indication for all such coaches, then I can tell you: These type of coaches don’t really care about your performance, unless they can say they had a hand in it. In short, it’s all about them…

Eddie Lopat once told me that he had seen so much of that kind of coach—the ones who want to change things that don’t need any change, the ones who will pull a pitcher out of a game in the sixth inning even though said pitcher has been lights out, the ones who do this or that just to show that they’re the boss—that he was thinking of writing a book called “How Not To Coach”. I wish he had done it while he was still with us. Some of the examples he would use would make a manager turn gray overnight or even pull his hair out by the roots.
He would, for example, cite the case of a pitcher named Fred Sanford.
Sanford was a pitcher for the old St. Louis Browns in the forties. He wasn’t a bad pitcher, and the Yankees saw something they liked and acquired him in a trade. But now the problem began. Sanford had a pitching delivery that could best be described as herky-jerky, and never mind that he was getting the batters out pretty consistently. Pitching coach Jim Turner didn’t like it. Third-base coach Frank Crosetti (and how did he, a former infielder, get mixed up in this?) didn’t like it either. They wanted Sanford to have a Spalding Guide, picture-perfect, smooth motion, and so they started monkeying around with him. And they ended up destroying him! When they got through with him he wasn’t a good pitcher any more, and at the end of the next season he was traded. His normal motion offended the esthetic sensibilities of those two coaches who should have known better!
How ironic, then, that after ten years as the Yankees’ pitching coach Turner went to Cincinnati and became their pitching coach. He had on his staff a reliever named Howie Nunn who was really one for the books. This guy was even worse—he wiggled and wabbled and jerked around like a jackrabbit on steroids and threw his arms and his legs and his neck and just about every other part of his anatomy into his delivery, and it all looked screamingly funny—except to the batters who had to face him, because he got some very good stuff on his pitches and was getting those batters out. And Turner never said “boo” to him.
Lopat, besides being a key member of the Yankees’ Big Three pitching rotation from 1948 to the middle of 1955, was one of the finest pitching coaches anyone could ever hope to work with. He had a basic premise: that each pitcher had a natural motion, whatever it was, and so what Lopat would do was work with that pitcher to show him (or, in my case, her) how to make the most of it. I had the good fortune to meet and work with him for three and a half years, and what I learned from him was nothing short of priceless. I was one of those exasperating, infuriating creatures known as a sidearmer who used the crossfire most of the time, and he showed me how to use it, and my arsenal of pitches, to full advantage. No monkey business, no shenanigans—just some of the best pitching instruction one could hope for. I wish there were more like him. 8) :slight_smile:

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen coaches try to become pitching coaches by virtue of video they watched on You Tube. These guys have no business coaching pitchers, especially coaching mechanics.

Really good article Lantz.

Lantz (baseballthinktank.com),

Good stuff. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you regarding contributing to your website.

Been going through a lot of stuff that I wrote years ago. “7 Coaching Tips Every Pitching Coach & Baseball Dad Should Consider!” reminds me of my first speaking engagement at Ron Wilforth’s Pitching Coaches Boot Camp back in 2002. Much of the presentation was pure motor control and learning i.e. how the body acquires movement skills. Ron asked me to prepare a handout prior to my presentation. The handout was at least 10 pages in length.

And then there’s the article I wrote for Collegiate Baseball News (CBN) entitled “There’s No Such Thing As Good Pitching Mechanics”. .

All of which is to say that I’m digging all the stuff out and putting pieces together that I hope you will consider of value and publish on baseballthinktank.com.

But my first contribution we something brand-new and I think quite informative.

Here’s a sneak preview… enjoy!!


Turn, wales, hum: thanks for the feedback.

Paul: super excited about your contributions! Can’t wait to read your inverted W info.

Seriously jacked. Paul and Lantz articles on the same site. Thats some serious info for those seeking the secrets to the art. :smiley: