What Woud You Do?

There’s a pitch that your coach keeps calling, from the bench, that’s just not working. Fact is, you can’t get a strike with this pitch no matter how hard you try. Heck, you couldn’t even hit the Empire State Building, never mind the plate. This pitch is getting you hammered!

So, you say to yourself, " he’s gotta see this! Oh great, he’s calling for again!" :faint:

What would you do?

Coach B.

What is this pitch that the coach keeps calling for, and why is he so in love with it that nothing else exists for him? He knows you can’t do anything with it, and he keeps calling it, so I’m wondering just what his agenda is. :?:

Well, I personally respect my coach, and if he calls for it I will throw it. Truth is he’s the man in charge so I should do what he says, he must have a reason for it.


Performing on the mound is like anything else in life. It takes planning and preparation. So give yourself a break and plan for this, among other things, before it (they) happen.

Let’s look at this situation:
On this day, at this time, there’s a pitch that’s just not working and no matter how hard you try. Add insult to injury the bench is sending in signal after signal that calls for this killer. In short, you’re coming up zilch.

Now let’s do something ahead of time that’ll avoid this pickle.
(1) Tell your coach during the preseason what pitches are in your inventory and at what percentage of success you feel they have. For example - fastball lower right corner 80%, fastball upper right corner 85%, slider down-n-away RH batter 70%, curve ball tight-n 80%, curve ball sweeping-n 90%, and so forth. Remember, this is preseason advice based on your workouts so far.
(2) During the preseason scrimmages, you’ll test these percentage baselines and either reinforce or deduct your confidence with each percentage. The final baseline percentages will be a starting point prior to every game you enter during the regular season.
(3) During the regular season, you’ll do your bullpen duty and actually “ink” in what guns your taking out there with you. I strongly suggest a patch sheet - like the one below, that’ll spell out the best to worse that day. When both you and your bench are on the same page, little is left to chance. Also, when your backstop comes in after an inning, he’s going to reinforce your bench’s expectations of you by advising your bench coach of what is, and, what is not working - based on the pitch plan prior to your starting every inning.

Now here’s where the lines of communication comes in- if there’s a pitch in your inventory that just isn’t cut it that day, then and there is a flash message back to the bench. Usually, a catcher and his/her bench coach can work out casual signal that says … don’t use that one, it’s not working. Know, you’re not alone out there getting hammered with stuff that won’t work.

Another approach is the get an understanding up front, at the very beginning of the season, that if you feel that the “called” pitch is not something that you should, or can’t pitch, you have permission to “shake it off”. However, I must warn you that the “shaking off” approach is the approach oft last resort. I would strongly suggest using the steps above, (1), (2) and (3) etc., before trying anything else. Why? When you shake off a pitch and your bench coach has no clue of why, you’re going to putting your bench coach on the spot before your entire club. On the other hand, if you can work out some sort of an agreement combining (1),(2),(3) and then shaking off a call from the bench, that seems to go down a lot easier.

So, there you have it. The long and the short of it. You know what you’ve got, your catcher knows what you’ve got, your bench knows what you’ve got. Simple, yes?

On the other hand, if you have a coach that lives and breaths … “it’s my way or the highway”, there’s little room, either way, to do anything else but survive the best you can.


Coach B.

Also, coach should have talked to the pitching coach or catcher about what was and wasn’t working in the pregame warm-up so he can more effectively call pitches.

But even a pitch that isn’t working should be thrown occasionally - when it can be afforded - just as a show-me pitch to give the other team another pitch to think about.

[quote=“Roger”]Also, coach should have talked to the pitching coach or catcher about what was and wasn’t working in the pregame warm-up so he can more effectively call pitches.

But even a pitch that isn’t working should be thrown occasionally - when it can be afforded - just as a show-me pitch to give the other team another pitch to think about.[/quote]

I agree you gotta show it. But the other team doesn’t necessarily need to KNOW it’s a bum pitch on a particular day. I think your body language is what sells that. There are days when Mariano’s stuff isn’t as good as other days. But you’d never know by looking at him, his posture, his demeanor. Miss a spot? So what. Stay composed! But you gotta go with what’s working regardless of what the coach is calling. Talk to him between innings…

… and …


The above, by Roger and Steven, is accurate and correct - of course

Just remember, we’re talking about high school baseball, with all its trappings of egos and politics, and a mixture of temperament by competing adults for their time in the sun, not to mention successful, and not so successful, athletic programs for any given school. So, some coaches you can talk to, others will turn a deaf ear. Some coaches are very flexible, others are like stone.

Know your environment first. Know your coach’s temperament and demeanor before approaching him/her with any part of taking control, in any way, that reduces his/her authority to do whatever.


In high school athletics it can be more about the bragging rights of the coaches, wins and losses, than it is about you. Tread carefully here.

In any event, excellent remarks from Roger and Steven on the subject.

Coach B.

What a timely topic for Dinoson. He recently had a similar experience except it wasn’t that the particular pitch being called wasn’t working, it was that for the batter at the plate and the count …the called pitch just was in Dinoson’s opinion, the wrong thing to do. He threw it anyway, two times and both times gave up a double. (This is where Coach B.'s advice would have helped tremendously.)

When Dinoson’s demeanor showed his displeasure, of course the pitching coach was waiting for him in the dugout after the inning was over. But before going in he briefly chatted with the catcher knowing what was coming. "He said to the catcher, “Ok, did I hit the glove or what?” The answer, “Yeah right where I put it.” “Ok remember that.”

Just as predicted the pitching coach confronts Dinoson and says, “Where was that pitch?” Dinoson replies,“I hit the glove.” The pitching coach answers," No way, you left it right out over the heart of the plate, if you hit your spot it wouldn’t have gone to the gap." He looks at the catcher who says, “He hit his spot.”

Dinoson had pitched to this guy numerous times, he was ahead both times 1-2 and he knew a high 4 seam would take him down but each time a knee high on the inside corner was called. So now the head coach is giving the pitching coach guff and two other assistants are weighing in. What a mess.

Afterward the head coach comes to Dinoson and says, “Look I have high expectations from you so you better get this worked out with the pitching coach.” Thanks for the help chief.

This is the same guy that orders beanings for prior grudges. So you say you want to pitch huh?

“What a mess” is right!
That’s one thing I was happy about, that I never had to deal with such a situation. I had a good catcher who knew my repertoire and what I could do with it, and before every game I pitched he and I would get together and go over the opposition’s lineup and its strengths and weaknesses—and we would work out the best way to pitch to those guys, to get them out. And our manager—a former semipro infielder with good baseball savvy—let us alone to do our thing; he would just make sure we knew how our infielders were playing Joe Hosselplotz or Herman Veeblefetzer or whether the outfielders were playing shallow or around to the right or up against the fence.
One thing Ed Lopat told me about pitch sequencing: he pointed out that each pitch set up the next one and that I should let that be my guide in each individual situation. Not only what—but also where. Howie Pollet, one of the great St. Louis Cardinals pitchers, would set up his infielders and tell them what and where he would throw to the hitters. I would pick up on that and work out various sequences, and my catcher and I would set things up; the only time I would signal to the catcher what pitch I was going to throw was when I was going to crossfire it! Oh, those poor stupid opposing batters—they never knew what they were going to get; the only thing they knew for sure was it would NOT be a fast ball, simply because I didn’t have one. Those beautiful, delicious outs! :slight_smile: 8)

Here is my thought. I was a pitching coach for a youth travel team for 4 years. There were times I would call pitches that I knew weren’t working at the time. I would call the pitch because I wanted the pitcher to see if he could work it out. Sometimes change ups or breaking balls are feel pitches and it takes a little bit to get the feel for it.

That being said, I would only call it in certain counts and call the location where if the pitch didn’t work, it wouldn’t hurt. In other words, if the count was 0-2 or 1-2, I would call the change up off the plate outside. If the pitch was not effective, at least it would be off the plate and hopefully not get crushed. But what I was really trying to do was try it for a while to see if the pitcher could get his feel for it. If after a reasonable number of attempts, it just wasn’t going to work, I would give up on it. If the pitcher came to me and told me that it just wasn’t going to work, I would either quit calling it or let the pitcher know I was going to try it a few more times, but just throw it where the guy can’t hit it.

Maybe this is what your coach is trying to do. Either way, if you feel that the pitch just isn’t working and the coach won’t quit calling it. Take it on yourself to throw it in a spot that won’t hurt you. Go way outside with it, or even throw it in the dirt. Maybe after a while the coach will realize what is going on and quit calling it, but if you throw it way out of the strike zone, at least you won’t get hurt with it.