[color=red]This contribution is NOT for youth or lower level varsity or even college
As a pitcher, you have a tremendous amount of responsibility on your shoulders. As such you’re expected to prepare yourself in proper fashion, keeping your priorities in order and all that – off the field. When you arrive for a game, and you’re scheduled to part of that day’s game plan, so should you start maturing your mindset and objectives.
Start by knowing what’s working best for you that day with your pitch inventory. Get a firm handle on what you can do with what. Let your bullpen coach, your pitching coach, any coach who is in charge of managing your club know what’s what.
When you walk out and take your place – think professionally. Command your presence, know what you’re going to work with and why, what are the degrees or margins of success with what you’re about to send down range. Study each and every batter while you’re out there working, sense their tendencies, remember what they wanted the most, understand cold the batting order logic and adjust as sub’s are sent in.
Ok, now for the topic of counts – balls and strikes. First off, we’re going on the mental toughness that you know getting behind in the count, is not a good thing. BUT, refer back to my choice of words above, the phrase… think professionally.
When you see a batter’s tendency to reach out and chase, don’t concern yourself with hitting the back margin marker – deal a ball deliberately and let him chase. When you feel pretty strong about a guy that’ll chase high heat, burn-em.
Watch for batters that’ll actually strike themselves out. Yes that’s right, strike themselves out. A batter that stands in the box and takes a pose, is giving the plate umpire a mental snap shop in time, a reference marker if you will, that an umpire is going to judge strikes and balls with. So…. a man that dips way down to deliberately lower himself out of a verticle strike zone is easy pickens. A batter who has a habit of dipping his back knee on a pitch down and in, is easy pickens for the down and in pitch – even though in all cases the batter and his bench think otherwise.
Ok, so you get behind in the first two pitches. You know that what you did was for a reason. That reason was to work the batter because it made sense. Now, if you must adjust becuase of the plate umpire, early in the game is the time to pick up that observation and add that to your plan.
Any seasoned pitching coach and his skipper will understand. They understand that’s why you’re out there. They’ll also understand the learning curve that all pitcher’s go through - fans and others, not so much. So don’t concern yourself.
Now, if your plucked from a field position, given eight warm ups ( a contradiction in itself), you’re wasting your time. In short – you’re done before you even begin.