In recent posts, the subject of repeating the same pitch twice to the same batter was open to debate. I’d like to bring a few observations to the topic.
Every batter has a track record during a given time frame. He can either have a two week time frame or a three week time frame. Why? Because he’s human, and humans are prone to tendencies. Theses tendencies can be banked upon to produce a physical and emotional cause and effect that impact batting performance. Poor sleep the night before, personal conflicts outside the game, teammate controversies, Conflicts with coaches, and so on.
Can you at the amateur level spot these - not usually. But, you can observe the facial and body language of a player on the field. Watch how he reacts to fielding plays that don’t go well. Watch how well he mixes with his teammates, and watch how well he and his coach(s) interact.
Little signs can give you some indication of who your about to deal with at the plate. In that respect, is he overly aggressive at the plate, reserved, discussed, don’t care, etc.?
All of this adds volatility to your pitch selection, regardless of who’s calling your pitch selection.
So, if he’s standing their taking your curve ball, and you know that curve ball will be taken again, and again - go for it. But that wild card called “volatility” can pop up and suddenly surprise you. Why? Because if he’s a curve ball hitter - it’s gone!
Another thing is tracking hitters. In the amateur game there isn’t the support staff (usually) to track hitters. Normally, trackers chart and carefully itemize the why-n-where hitters did what. For example, the pitchers that they faced, the environment they played in - night or day, hot or cold, the slumps, home and away - or both, even what part of the country these guys played in.
As an amateur you don’t have that going for you, so you’ve got to use other protocols. And for most of you, your best stuff that goes to the park with you is the only thing going for you. On the other hand, if you have someone - anyone, who has a talent for spotting the weakness of some players at bat, their place in the batting order and why - well, at least you have more going for you than most youngsters in this game.
If you have calls from the bench, that’s that. No sense in talking about something that’s not in your realm of control.
But, if you have some options, here’s a few basic things to consider - very basic mind you.
Below you’re going to see four (4) pictures, each describing three fundamental situations that you as a pitcher will deal with - IF you go to the well with the same pitch repeatedly. You can of course have this same situation with other pitches, but that for another topic post and discussion.
Here are things that will effect your delivery - thus your location and its aftermath.
Your Arm Slot
You arm slot can change ever so slightly and alter the signature at the plate. So, what you think is the same pitch that you just delivered can actually be different - a difference that you don’t expect nor want. For example, the top left picture shows a four (4) seam fastball grip released once, then followed up by what you assume to be the same pitch - but down range at the plate it’s location is altered. Instead of being at location (1) it now drives home at location (2). Not good!
Batter Alters Posture.
A batter in the box can alter his reaction to an incoming pitch, after seeing it a second time, and after given time to think about it. (More on that later)
So notice with our batter at the lower left how his arms are in one pose, but, the same batter in our picture to the right changes his arms ever so slightly. This alteration changes a ton of stuff. It changes his optimum impact confidence with his swipe path and the game plan on the field if you have runners on.
- Your Duration
As you go on, inning to inning, you’re going to have a tolerance and fatigue rate that will vary your quality. On the other hand some pitchers actually get stronger as the game goes on. But, mixed into this are things like how long has the pitcher sat between innings, what are the surface conditions of the mound, how well are you backed up defensively by the people behind you, your pitch count at any point in time, etc.
I could go on with this topic but that would be beyond a reasonable content for this web site. Pitch selection- repeated or not, could be a web site all to its own.
The fundamentals of pitch selection has a volume of “what if’s” to contend with. Your learning curve will undoubtedly have “do’s” and “don’t” all tailored to your specific talent level, the people you compete against, and how serious you concentrate on this sport and the pitcher’s position. Some of the players that you face will go down, regardless. Others will not, regardless. So just be careful isolating an individual performance, then hanging your hat on what happens.