Team Goal: Reduce walks and HBP - but how?

Lots of baseball teams set goals for their pitching staff. One of the more common ones is to REDUCE walks and hit by pitches. In other words, we want to eliminate free passes.

Having a goal is one thing, implementing some steps to accomplish it is something entirely different. Any suggestions? What’s worked for you?

Great question! I have found being truly focused has helped me the most. I used to do all the ra ra stuff lol and talked a lot to teammates in the dugout in between innings. Another thing is I let the umpires get to me. This stuff I stated really hurt me until I figured it out. Now I have a “game face”, when I’m on the mound, all I focus on is the catcher’s mit and my approach to the batter. And I never let the umpire get to me anymore, any call they make is the right call is my opinion now. A lot of good things have happened to me since making this change for the better. The mental side of pitching and the focusing part are so huge in baseball( you guys already knew that , right ha)

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]Lots of baseball teams set goals for their pitching staff. One of the more common ones is to REDUCE walks and hit by pitches. In other words, we want to eliminate free passes.

Having a goal is one thing, implementing some steps to accomplish it is something entirely different. Any suggestions? What’s worked for you?[/quote]
A lot of pitchers need to remember that first pitch strikes are a big deal, and getting ahead of the count early is a huge factor in being successful. Never walk a lead-off hitter, never get to a 2-2 count. If you don’t get there, then you never have to get to a 3-2 count. The body language of a pitcher says everything and can change how a hitter feels in the box too. Not to mention the fact that as a pitcher, you want to work fast. It is better for you, better for your team, and more importantly, makes the hitter uncomfortable and awkward in the box.

Great suggestions. One set was from a pitcher’s perspective and another set from a coach’s. Of course I’m neither, so my perspective will be from a statistician’s perspective.

To me, the whole question is academic unless and until there’s some black and white reason to eliminate or reduce those free passes. Most people just KNOW free passes are bad, but they never quantify them. The same thing happens with things like 1st pitch strikes. Everyone seems to KNOW they’re a good thing as well, but seldom below MLB stats are they quantified.

I’m a huge believer in What you can measure, you can manage, so if there’s no measurement or weak measurement, IMO there can’t be very good management. Here’s what I mean.

Just about everyone with a baseball IQ higher than 0 knows these things are true, and tries to do things to at least mitigate if not get rid of them entirely. But other than measure the gross numbers, how many people use the numbers to see if what they’re doing is working?

IOW, if Steven has some kind of “approach” to have his pitchers reduce the number of free passes, does he establish a performance baseline, then test to see whether they’re improving or not? If not, how does he know whether what he’s doing is working or not?

The same for CSOleson’s ideas about FPS and getting ahead in the count. Without a baseline and subsequent “tests”. How does he know how his system is working. And I can’t leave out TheUnDiscovered. How has he determined whether or not his “game face” has led to some kind of improvement unless he’s compared past performances to present?

I’m not taking a shot at anyone here because I know how difficult it is to do those things it takes to correctly measure what is trying to be managed. But, while I will argue with anyone who wants to try to say all the numbers are unnecessary, I’ll gladly help anyone who wants to try to find a way to measure what it is they’re looking for. :wink:

I daresay that one could find proof of their position in more than a couple of the things I provide after each game, and a way to monitor progress as well. Please see: http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/pitching10.pdf.

What usually takes place is, the coaches ask for just certain metrics, maybe 4 or 5 different ones rather than having to look through all of that, and its my job as the statistician to provide that. That way they can print off those things to have a game to game record they can look at to monitor the players and overall team performance.

The youth game I have no opinion on. Beyond that I have an opinion.

Here’s my thoughts on the matter.

A free pass - 90 feet with no one on - not too bad. Bases load, that’s a bad thing. Fill in the blanks with anything in between. :think:

So, ever spill a glass of milk? Sure you have. Ever spill more than one glass of milk? Sure you have. Spill a glass of milk on me - you’re fired! :eek:

Fill in the blanks with anything in between.

Coach B.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]The youth game I have no opinion on. Beyond that I have an opinion.

Here’s my thoughts on the matter.

A free pass - 90 feet with no one on - not too bad. Bases load, that’s a bad thing. Fill in the blanks with anything in between. :think:

So, ever spill a glass of milk? Sure you have. Ever spill more than one glass of milk? Sure you have. Spill a glass of milk on me - you’re fired! :eek:

Fill in the blanks with anything in between. [/quote]

I’m not sure I understand the point of your post. I don’t think anyone is questioning whether free passes are a bad thing. That’s a given, but how bad is something different. What I understood the thread to be about, was to discuss things to reduce or mitigate them.

Steven, who is calling pitches?

I’ve found in my own experience
that I have to concentrate just on making the next pitch.
I let myself worry about what just happened (say a walk or ball or bad pitch) it can really mess me up and make me lose my concentration.
A lot of it can be affected by your mental attitude.

Strikes … pitch strikes.

Kind-a pops right out at ya, doesn’t it!

Now for a more deliberate answer for those beyond kid-ee ball. If you can’t dish strikes and if you give up 90ft beyond what’s acceptable, your coach will find someone else to do the job. Keeping that in mind does wonders for a pitcher.

Like I said in my orginal posting, I’m not responding to youth baseball where kids have all kinds of issues along the learning curve. Those issues are addressed all through this web site under various headings.

I’m sure the rational behind a lot of responders … " I do this, or, I do that," to not giving away 90ft, all boils down to some very simple reasoning. This thread doesn’t have go micro to accomplish that. Like I mentioned, like so much else in life, is just do it.

Coach B.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]Strikes … pitch strikes.

Kind-a pops right out at ya, doesn’t it!

Now for a more deliberate answer for those beyond kid-ee ball. If you can’t dish strikes and if you give up 90ft beyond what’s acceptable, your coach will find someone else to do the job. Keeping that in mind does wonders for a pitcher.

Like I said in my orginal posting, I’m not responding to youth baseball where kids have all kinds of issues along the learning curve. Those issues are addressed all through this web site under various headings.

I’m sure the rational behind a lot of responders … " I do this, or, I do that," to not giving away 90ft, all boils down to some very simple reasoning. This thread doesn’t have go micro to accomplish that. Like I mentioned, like so much else in life, is just do it.[/quote]

I’d be very interested to hear how you teach your pitchers to “pitch strikes”. It sounds simple, but so far I’m totally in the dark as to how to do it on a regular basis.

Is there someplace we can go look to see how your pitchers do? I really don’t know what its like to see a pitching staff that averages throwing a substantially higher strike percentage and higher FPS percentage than average, but I’d love to get a look. And my son being a pitching coach on our JV team could certainly use any help he can get too, because his pitchers are only slightly better than what we find to be average around here.

Would it help your attention with your son if I related to the mature, competitive level - college and beyond? Could I use your son in my examples? Do you know your son well enough in the “game” sense to go along with me on this. I’ll try and contribute what I can.

Youngsters have all kinds of issues that I’m not skilled with recognizing, or managing. That takes a very special person who is sensitive to a youngster’s world and a lot that orbits it. I have no such sensitivity.

Coach B.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]

Would it help your attention with your son if I related to the mature, competitive level - college and beyond? Could I use your son in my examples? Do you know your son well enough in the “game” sense to go along with me on this. I’ll try and contribute what I can.

Youngsters have all kinds of issues that I’m not skilled with recognizing, or managing. That takes a very special person who is sensitive to a youngster’s world and a lot that orbits it. I have no such sensitivity.

Coach B.[/quote]

You appear to be responding to your own quote.

Am I missing something here? Who’s son are you talking about.

Steven, Coach B is of course right–your pitchers have to throw strikes with consistency to lower BBs and HBPs.

To do that they need to be confident in their ability to come into the strike zone when you tell them to pitch in the strike zone.

To be confident on the mound they need to know deep inside that they have prepared, prepared, prepared.

To really know deep inside that they are prepared, they need to know what your standards for pitcher training and conditioning are from Day 1 of spring training and they need to have adequate opportunities to train and condition up to your standards.

Thoroughly training a couple of catchers can give amplified positive results: Only one or two catchers are going to work, effectively or maybe not so effectively, with your entire pitching staff. I think catchers have a very big effect on pitchers at HS level, because their technical skills, body language, attitude, etc can vary so widely at that level. Find ways to bond your pitchers and catchers early on.

[quote=“laflippin”]Steven, Coach B is of course right–your pitchers have to throw strikes with consistency to lower BBs and HBPs.

To do that they need to be confident in their ability to come into the strike zone when you tell them to pitch in the strike zone.
[/quote]

Confidence in the defense- behind and in front- makes it easier to do this as well. Balls in play aren’t a tragedy.

Scorekeeper…

Would it help your attention with your son if I related to the mature…
your son.

Coach B

Scorekeeper…
In responding deeper to your question(s), I am going to expand on laflippin’s post in detail. To do that, and help YOUR SON and you, I’m going to need you to respond some questions about YOUR SON.

As I asked in a prior post to you… Could I use your son in my examples, … then I asked … Do you know your son well enough in the “game” sense to go along with me on this..

I qualified all of the above, repeating my original status as …
Youngsters have all kinds of issues that I’m not skilled with recognizing, or managing. That takes a very special person who is sensitive to a youngster’s world and a lot that orbits it. I have no such sensitivity.

But… I will use YOUR SON in my examples of how a professional coaching staff - pitching coach specifically, gets to the space in time of doing exactly what jdfromfla outlined in his post.

So, to accomplish all this, can I use YOUR SON and your knowledge of this player to answer your question(s).

This should prove interesting not only to yourself, but to many other people that visit this site. Also, rookie coaches as well as established professionals that contribute, will also find this exercise in answering your question(s) very interesting.

Coach B.

Scorekeeper

First, I’m going to qualify myself with respect to this exchange of information and addressing my clarification on a few things.

Let me set the stage for giving you a little insight into what I am (for this exchange). For your response about your son, I’ll fit him into an A-Level Advanced Rookie setting, the best I can.

OK, here we go:
I’m a pitching coach who as been hired based on two things - first, my overall professional ability to hold down this job as pitching coach, and second of all, I was hired based a little thing called politics … using “who I know, in addition to what I know”.

It’s that second part that got me hired more than anything. That being the case, my homage is to the man that got me the job, and anybody that takes his place there after. I keep him happy, for the most part, then I’m happy. I’m also trusted to a large extent, will following this man’s way of doing things - keep the information stream going, watch out for being blind-sided with anything that has to do with the pitching staff, and keeping a certain degree of discipline with that pitching staff. I’ll get “go-fers” pushed my way. from time to time. These are people (interns sometimes) that are on the payroll, or not that, to help out. I’m also in tune with being very careful not to put any trust in these people (go-fers) because their ears are sensitive to anything that can be fed to the gossip chain … and that leads right back to the front office and my job security … and the man that I report to.

I have little or no control, for the most part, of who comes walking through the clubhouse door and rosters. Sometimes I’ll be asked, even sent to look over a man as a cross-checker, but that’s rare. So, like a mechanic who deals with the open public, I have very little to say about the car that pulls into my bay, BUT, I should have the knowledge and tools in my rollaway to keep that car running, and fix it from time to time - to an extent. When I see abuse I can address it, but, unlike the owner of the car, I have little control over repeated abuse. A lot of what a person does has a element of responsibility to it, and this is especially true of professional athletes. Repeated issues of not taking care of oneself, not following a training itinerary, does have its downside. The part that I mentioned earlier about keeping the lines of communication open with my boss, is very critical in these matters. Why? Because when I address something to a professional, that takes his place on a roster, he should come pretty well “pre-packaged” with most of the skills necessary for me and others to work with him as necessary. Why? Because this business that we’re in is ever changing and evolving - day to day, game to game, inning per inning. The better a rotation - players and coaches alike, are at evolving the better we are at surviving (keeping our job).

My experience doesn’t start and stop with just pitching. I’m a reader of people. I notice things that others miss, take for granted, overlook. In fact, these qualities are my bread-n-butter that everything else depends on. Sure, I can instruct just about anyone at this level on how to pitch, move, or not – but I shouldn’t have to. Remember, I’m dealing with people that are at where they’re at because they pre-qualified a job. So, I take my group of tradesman - apprentices, journeyman, and master tradesman, and I keep in mind the constants that each brought with them. Now depending on the space and time available, regular field sessions, meetings with trainers, and whatnot are a daily thing. But, not every pitcher has the same routines or schedules. Why? Because I’m more interested in finding out more about the unknowns - the rookies, the pitchers that came by my club from other clubs, those people that I’ve never heard of before. So a baseline of who and what I’m working with … no, make that who and what I’m responsible for, is my first priority. Also, some pitchers have their own way of dealing with “routines” that I have no say in - just happens sometimes.

More about baselines - some pitchers will have peaks-n-valleys as time goes on. Some will improve, some will require a closer eye, while others will simply crash-n-burn. But I do notice the things that don’t fit the man that is an everyday. His facial expressions, the way he sits during a meal or in the pen, even the way he may repeatedly rub the back of his neck, his body language around other players, little conversations that give me a hint that there may be personal issues orbiting the man. Also, remember the “blind-sided” remarks that I made earlier? I pay attention to people who just pop up outside or inside. Bookies, loan-sharks, constables with court papers, parents with a young lady and a baby carriage just outside the player’s entrance, little stuff like that. It happens.

How do I keep a rotation up to the task of meeting the challenges of this business? By sharing the load with the players themselves. To a large extent, these men have to address things like anyone else who holds down a job. They must keep up with the skills of their trade, stay healthy and report for work each day, punch in on time, and produce. That’s what they were HIRED for. And this is a work-n-process. A constant building, taking measurements, rough framing, finish carpentry, and a finished product that’s more of an art form that it is a tangible - in solid state.
It’s my job to be a job site captain, making sure all the trades fit in their proper place in time.

So, I have tradesman that have a pitch inventory. Some are heaters - those in the fastball family, and sometimes with a decent off-speed. Then I have a few junk guys, and a rookie or two. I don’t mess with the way they go about using those tools, but, I will address potential issues later on. If I can get a man to work with me, and I with him, all the better. But, if he persists on doing things his way - well, he’s the one out there not me. I’ll document as much detail as my skill level will allow, pass it on during regular and timely meetings with my boss, then if necessary have a “sit down” with those involved - or, let the chips fall where they may.

In athletics, performance is never a trusted norm. We’re dealing with the human element, and that injects a ton of variables. Take for example the great performance of a man three games in a row - then, he gets a bad night sleep, a meal on the road doesn’t sit well, has an argument with his wife/girlfriend - both, gets some personal items stolen from his motel room, little stuff like that. You talk about walks and a hit batter… if that was only the end of it! Performances in professional athletics has pressures that very few people can comprehend. And a pitching coach, batting coach, infield coach … and especially a head coach, has a daunting job of trying to address individuals in a manner that doesn’t insult their intelligence - on the one hand, and still retains a degree of performance value on the other.

So, in the final analysis, when a man take the field and starts walking guys, hits a batter, it can be a temporary thing that’ll blow over, or, a sign of things to come. I know the difference - I’d better. If I don’t, I’m not doing the man I report to any justice. Oh yeah, I’m broke to. So, I have a pitcher - starter, reliever,. closer and anything in between, and takes the field with me knowing pretty darn well what to expect. When the stuff starts to hit the fan, I’m the first one to know it long before anyone else. In fact, I’ve had to bite my lip on more than just a few occasions holding back a remark like …” told ya so.” But why would anyone send in a pitcher that is “if-ee?” That goes beyond this topic, and I guess we can address that in another topic heading.

Now that I’ve set the stage for your input, please keep in mind that I’m going to be addressing your input using your son in the context that I just mentioned. Now I know he’s not a professional, but he does have a lot of worth that I can use, and possibly help you and he at the same time.

What is your son’s pitch inventory - the pitches that he brings with him. * It’s not important how proficient he is, I’m going to take his pitch inventory as assets that were qualified during the scouting process.
What is your son’s inning tolerance? In other words, does his expertise hold value through three innings, four innings, five innings. ** it doesn’t matter if he’s brought in from a fielder’s position in relief for someone else without much of a warmup. Just an educated guess.**
Would you consider your son strong-willed enough to go in to the last inning with his team ahead by one, and shut the inning down?

Coach B.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]Scorekeeper…

Would it help your attention with your son if I related to the mature…
your son.
[/quote]

My “attention” wouldn’t change whether it were my son being discussed or not. However, if you wish to use my son as an example, please feel free.

But you need to understand a bit more about him than you do.

He’s currently 24YO and hasn’t thrown a pitch sin he was injured at 19 playing college ball and had two unsuccessful shoulder surgeries. Last year he took over the duties as the HSJV pitching coach for a very successful DI program here in NorCal.

However, when he pitched, he had 3 FBs, 4 seamer, 2 seam sinker, and 2 seam cutter. His arm angle precluded him from having a curve ball in the classic sense of 12/6, but he threw both a sweeping “slider” and a very hard one that of course broke less. He had what was described to me by many different scouts, as a “plus-plus” CU, and he used it as his out pitch when he was given the opportunity.

He was always one of the more “accurate” pitchers as far as strike percentage and 1st pitch strike percentage. Even though he wasn’t a K pitcher, because he averaged more than 60 pitches between walks, his K:BB ratio was 3.6:1.

With all that though, like almost all pitchers, he never quite understood what separated him from other pitchers, as far as being able to control the ball. He’s been told by one of the best ML pitching coaches ever, that the main reason for his accuracy, was his exquisite timing, but that’s a very abstract thing to try to convey to young and inexperienced pitchers.

Even though he’s relatively new at it, he’s well able to spot many of the chronic mechanic problems more pitchers have, and seems to be gifted in that he communicates very well with the kids he’s working with. But, although he’s been able to improve the kids he works with, he’s found it nearly impossible to just “turn around” any pitcher who’s having control issues, as though it were turning on a light bulb.

I suspect that’s mainly because he only gets to work with them for a limited amount of time during a 5 month HS baseball season. Add to that, that its his job to convey some things the head of the program wants conveyed, and some other things the head of the JV team wants conveyed, and there’s really not a lot of time to get into much depth with these kids.

Then there’s the ever present “outside” or “private” coach many of the boys work with. Like it or not, neither he nor I believe in creating conflicts in a kid’s head as to who to listen to and who’s judgment to trust. If Dad is paying $50-100 a week for a private instructor, that’s who the kid should be listening to, other than the mandatory things the team calls for.

So in the end, he doesn’t have anything like the situation you’re in. He doesn’t have the talent to work with, the staff to assist him, or the $$$$ to spend. IOW, he’s in the same boat every other amateur coach is in, good or bad. His players don’t have 24 hours available to them to devote to baseball every day. In fact, he’s lucky if he get 10 minutes a week per pitcher, one-on-one time to actually work on pitching.

Now if under those circumstances you can give some direction as to how to help these kids solve the control problem that no one else seems able to do, I assure you that not only will I appreciate it and pass it on to him, I know he’ll be extremely grateful as well.

Here’s the best I can answer that. Please see http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/whipplus3.pdf

I think its pretty obvious that he pretty much finished what he started.

In a word, ABSOLUTELY.

A long time ago my pitching coach put it this way: "Get the ball over the plate and make 'em hit it. Make 'em go after YOUR pitch, what YOU want 'em to hit."
You can do one of two things. You can go for the strikeout. Or you can “pitch to contact”—or, as was stated, make them go after what you want them to hit. Either way, you have to get the first pitch in there for strike one, because when you do that you’re ahead of the hitter. You also have to change speeds—a lot of pitchers make the mistake of throwing the same pitch at the same speed in the same place, and that’s when they get clobbered from here to Timbuktu and back. And, to further confuse and discombooberate the hitter, move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, and if you’re a sidearmer and can use the crossfire, do that too. One important thing—you have to figure out what the batter may be looking for, and DON’T GIVE IT TO HIM!
For example: here’s a batter who is obviously looking for something he can whale at on the first pitch, and nine times out of ten it’s a fast ball.
So what do you do? Give him something offspeed, or a good breaking pitch—my favorite in those circumstances was the knuckle-curve, which can be a devastating delivery. You can throw a pitch that may be a bit off the corner but that looks like a strike, and very often the batter will go after it and either foul it off or miss it entirely—there is such a thing as throwing pitches that look like strikes! Whatever you do, it’s essential that you stay ahead of the hitter—don’t even let the count go to 2-and-2 if you cah help it. If you’re going for the strikeout, come in there with your best pitch!
As far as the HBP is concerned—oh, I know, that will happen once in a while, if the pitch gets away from you and clips him on the tush or grazes the uniform sleeve. But with that guy on first base, none or one out, you can go for the double play. Fine. What you have to watch out for is the batter who makes no attempt to get out of the way and who will even step into the pitch so he’ll get hit. The woods are full of them! What you can do in this case is come inside on him—either on the fists or upstairs in the zone—and watch him let loose with a delicious expletive or two as your pitch clips the corner! Most batters will have a hard time with high inside pitches.
It’s very rare that you’ll be facing someone like Yogi Berra, about whom it was said that the only way to pitch to him was to throw the ball under the plate! Just remember—work fast and throw strikes, and keep the ball down if you want the ground ball at an infielder so you can get the double play.

Please convey my sincerest best wishes to your son. He is the reason so many youngster enjoy this sport - not the youngsters that receive private coaching. He’s also the biggest reason, I my opinion, that high school baseball has survived at all. How a JV coach manages is beyond me. Your boy is a made of tough stuff.

I’m going to use some assumptions here and attempted to draw some parallels among my world and that of your son. I may be on the button with some, and way off course with others. But I blend where I can. I should note that in some JV programs the varsity program (coach) may cannibalize a JV roster, from time to time. I’ve never had to deal with that, so, my suggestions will not even come close to dealing with that.

Both your son and I have similar resources. Our experience for one - we’ve both been pitchers. We can relate to what it’s like out there, and then some. So when we decide to pick and chose our rotations we have some of our own experiences to go by - most of the time. The reality of it is, we don’t always get the pick of the litter, nor do we to really pick and chose as much as we’d like. So here we are - we gotta dance with who we brought to the prom.

OK, let’ combine what he knows already with some suggestions that I can pass on.

Have your son make a listing of the following questions for every single pitcher in his rotation.

What is each pitcher’s inventory of pitches - (1) being his best (2) being next, (3) and so on.
What is each pitcher’s inning tolerance?
What is each pitcher’s pitch count break-in number. The pitch count that he starts to fit in, gains his confidence.
What is each pitcher’s preference for starting - closing, or in between?
How many days rest does each pitcher require when pitching a home game? *
How man days rest does each pitcher require when pitching away games? **
Is each pitcher better in cold weather, hot weather, high humidity, low humidity, or do these environments work against him?
Is each pitcher better pitching before noon, between noon and 3pm, between 3pm and midnight?
Is any pitcher bothered by sharing a motel room with others - does it make for a poor night sleep? ***
Does any pitcher have a low tolerance for being passed over for pitchers with less talent? Can any pitcher fail to sit on his emotions for an extended period of time?
Does any pitcher have a body that takes a period of weeks to recover from an illness like colds, flu, food poisoning, bee stings and insect bites?
Does long periods in the sun bother any pitcher - sun burn easy?
Which pitcher’s can’t take constructive remarks that change what he’s doing - who fights it?> Which of the pitchers have a thin skin when it comes to being the butt of fun directed at him, practical jokes, etc.?

** These two questions have to do with the type of pitches that each pitcher has. If a pitcher is primarily a strong fastball pitcher (power pitcher), and this is his mainstay, then he’s going to require a longer amount of days off then his counterpart who has junk primarily. The stress load on a pitcher weights heavily will everything that follows.

**For away games, energy stores can be subject to voids, especially long rides where nourishment was neglected prior to leaving. Late afternoon games that are three (3) to four (4) hours after a lunch can be very challenging. So, in this case a healthy lunch around noon, then just two (2) before an appearance, the consumption of digestible carbs and hydration will give a pitcher the necessary energy stores to support perception, endurance, and stress loads on the body.

***Some pitchers can not get a good night sleep when sharing a motel room during away games.
A pitcher who is schedule for an appearance so be roomed by himself if this is the case. Why? Because the human body can go without food and water for short periods of time, and can adjust its physical demands. But, go without sleep, and the mental and physical process soon breaks down. Sleep is an issue that often overlooked in the amateur ranks - even at top notch colleges.

The main focus here is to limit pitches that are not quality based. Walks and hit batters can signify a bigger issue(s) than just mechanic and not doing this or that. I’ve had pitchers who couldn’t command squat if they were scheduled to start during a game that began before 10am.
But, put that same guy on the mound at night - bingo!

Your son, Scorekeeper, knows his stuff I’m sure. How to coach players to move this way and that way - heck, the boy was a pitcher himself. But what he’s got to know even better, is the personality of his people, there tendencies, their strong suits as people. If he can get inside the head of each and every pitcher in his charge - he won’t be just a JV coach. He’ll be a true pitching coach. No other position in the baseball world has more personal savvy going for it, than a pitching coach.

Now your son can’t control the youth game, in total, so don’t even try. There are so many things that orbit a youngster’s life today it’s not funny. But your son can use the best of what’s available at the right time and at the right place. So when a kid is the best bet for a game tomorrow at 4:30 in the afternoon, your son has asked all the right questions, and knows that of all those kids that could’ve been there - this one is there because of all the right reasons. When a youngster is a known quanity - a pitch count and inning tolerance, those are known qualities that can support a reasonable game plan. When something goes outside the lines, your son won’t wait for someone to tell him so. He’ll spot it in a heartbeat. Time for a change? Make it, with the same rational as he did with his first pitcher.

Strikes will take care of themselves. Walks and hit batters won’t be a major issue … oh they’ll happen, but even that’ll be expected.

Coach B.