The Simplicity of Throwing Strikes

Throwing strikes is what makes you a pitcher - not so much heat, not so much the break on your moving pitches, and not so much on all the other hoopla that goes along with the pitching game. You’re up there because you can deliver - STRIKES.

How come coach?


In baseball, a 300 batting average is consider something pretty decent. But is it? Suppose you were to show up to work 3 times out of ten - would your boss be dancing in the isles? I don’t think so. Suppose you take every test at school and get 3 answers right out of every ten. Kind-a tells you a lot about how things will go from there, right?

Ok, let’s look at the batting side of the equation. If the top of the batting order that you’ll be facing has - on average, say a 300 batting average, then that means that you have a 70% percent chance to beat that portion of the batting order … the top 4 batters. Then, you have 5,6, 7, and 8 in the order that’ll be even easier. Then, it’s 9, 1, then 2…

So, the first 4 gives you a 70% chance of beating that portion of the order, the next batters will have say a 250 batting average which will probably give you a 75% chance of beating that portion, then the next portion of the batting order will probably have a 280 batting average which will give you a 72% chance of beating them.

All of this works in your favor, regardless of your velocity, you stuff, and most everything else, if you can just throw strikes. Once you’ve delivered the pitch, now it’s up to the batter to handle things. If the batter connects, it’s now up to your fielders to handle things.

Now granted, if the opposing lineup hits you silly, popping fly balls into places where your fielders are not, or finding holes in your infield all afternoon - you not in for a easy ride. BUT, by throwing strikes, you doing exactly what the position calls for. So look, work on strikes first. All the other stuff will come around. Strikes… strikes … strikes … strikes.

Coach B.

Post of the year, Coach!

That very succinct and well illuminated explanation points out how throwing strikes is what I need to work on the most and not all of the other stuff I asked about in my last post.

And If throwing strikes truly is the number one most important thing for us pitchers to have down, then I’m pretty content with where I’m at right now.

I liked how you addressed the fact that getting waxed will happen every once in while. That just happened to me in the last game I started. Consequently, I immediately started thinking that my fastballs must not have been fast enough and my curveballs weren’t curvy enough. After a futile effort at being something beyond myself and my pitching abilities, I quickly realized that nothing beats control and I’m back to the Coach B method of just throwing strikes.

Sometimes it’s just easy to get enticed into thinking I’m not good enough when I see all the high velocity and perfect mechanics some can exhibit. And getting waxed doesn’t exactly help. I’m not saying I don’t strive for that stuff, I do. It’s just really reassuring to hear a coach (a position I highly respect and value) saying that as long as I throw strikes, I’m doing well. Especially when throwing strikes is not something I have a hard time doing.

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Just last week, Fox Sports Net Arizona re-televised Randy Johnson’s perfect game. In that game, Johnson threw 87 strikes out of 117 pitches.

Yep, strikes are a good thing.

Excellent post. I can’t tell you how many times our team has been hurt by a pitcher not being able to throw strikes.

The problem with people who can’t throw strikes is not only do they put people on base themselves but it lowers the confidence of the team, it can be the difference between a winning aura on the field and a losing one. It puts the fielders to sleep on top of that and those guys have to provide you with your run support and take care of batted balls. It only makes matters worse and that’s when onslaughts of 30-0 and crap like that happen.

rule of 68. 68% of all batted balls put in play result in outs.

hitters hit 343 on 0-0 counts. they only swing at 1st pitch 15 times. so in 100 1st pitches a hitter swings 15 times with 4 hits and 11 outs. what happens on the 85 other 0-0 pitches? throw strikes.

throwing strikes is an absolute. strikes without something on it is bp. i don’t know too many bp pitchers that make more than $100 per game. if it were as easy as throwing strikes, mlb would not pay mega money for a guy to do it every 5 days.

but step one is throw strikes.


A strike mentality goes very deep into a pitcher’s career, amateur or pro. In fact, the staple response for the classic question - “what’s your best pitch son?” Response - " strike one coach, strike one".

And this is so basic to the overall survial and tenure of any pitcher, he/she sooner or later boils the thought process down to:
FB-down and away, FB-down and in, FB- up and away, FB- up and away, slider, slider-backdoor, curve ball - lazy, curve ball - bite, sinker on the corners, knuckle, knuckle curve, off-speed/change-up.

Think of it this way, the Strike is not one Dimensional, that’s just over-simplfying things. And don’t get the mental image of a strike is a pitch going right down the middle either. Because within the definition of a strike, is the ZONE. And the Zone is a three dimensional box that changes, batter to batter. The Strike Zone is horizontal, vertical and has a field of depth to it. And if any amateur has any hope of crafting his/her trade, the field of depth is the ultimate fine tuning to strive for. Sometimes a rookie will hear the umpire call “ball” on a pitch that, form the bump, looked pretty good. But, from the umpire’s vantage point, the pitch didn’t goes completely through the strike zone . Pitches that tend to hit the leading knee of a batter, but fall low across the shin of the back leg are often called “ball”. Why? Because the pitch must go completely through the entire strike zone of the batter - being across both knees, not just one.

The strike is the most simplistic mental image for developing pitchers and accomplished veterans. It is thee most sought after goal of any pitcher coming off an injury, coming back from rehab, coming back from a long stint away from the game, and so forth.

Work on commanding the strike in manageable stages, little by little, and everything else will fall in line - for amateur or pro. Trust me on this - little by little, be consistent with the basic strike call, then step up to the finer points of controlling the strike at will, when and how you want it for every pitch in your inventory. Your strike pitch IS what your out there to deliver. Non-strike deliveries are in the mix, of course, but, your not out there to make a habit of it.

Coach B.

Satchel Paige said it best: "Throw strikes. Home plate don’t move."
Many have said that the best pitch in baseball is strike one. Follow that one up with a couple of more strikes, and you’re way ahead of the game. It doesn’t matter what pitch you use, as long as you can get it in there for the strike. Some throw cheese, others go to the so-called junk—but as long as they throw strikes…

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