SPENCER asked a good question relative to another post. Baically, he wanted to know what I meant by pitching from different spots on the front of the pitcher’s rubber … in crements.
Moving across the front of the pitcher’s rubber in increments (left/middle/right) does affect your angle of attack of every pitch you deliver.
For example, in our picture(below) this pitcher is making three pitches – all fastballs. However, take a close look at how these pitches are coming into… say, a right-handed batter. Notice how the differences between the release angles at b [/b]for each pitch, seem to be relatively the same. And this is what the batter picks up – visually, when you first release your pitch. In batting circles this is called picking up the pitch at the point of release.
However, take a closer look at our angle of attackb[/b] at the plate. Whoa! Big difference. When a good fastball comes in… say, about five feet in front of home plate, a batter’s hand – eye coordination is functioning on pure perception. Perception, of where that ball is coming in and at what spot that batter’s believes is the best chance to make contact. If this sounds a little confusing – let me explain it this way:
….have you ever seen a race car coming off a far turn then speeding past you? You see the race care as plain as day when it’s coming towards you…but…at about one hundred feet in front of you…then passed you… there’s nothing but blur ! That’s the characteristic of a good fastball.
So, when a pitcher uses the entire front of the rubber to deliver his pitches he’s banking on this characteristic … so to speak, and the ball’s reaction off the bat to be some what predictable. For example, if our pitcher was to deliver two pitches – one from the far left of the rubber, then one from the far right of the rubber to … say a bunt situation, where do you suppose the bunt would go off the bat? Or, how about the same two pitches for a slider – which pitch would give the greatest movement for the momentum of the working with the pitch… and which side of the rubber would actually work against the momentum of the slider? Very few, if any, youngsters give this angle of attack serious consideration when pitching sliders or any other pitch with movement.
With respect to velocity - and radar guns, at the point of release is usually where a lot of these devices “scale” your mph. However, if you look at our pitcher pitching from the far right side of the rubber, it only goes to figure that from this side his pitch is going to cover slightly more ground - thus his velocity at the plate is going to be some what (scaled) slower. Many coaches and pitchers miss this one when using these devices.
Using the entire front of the pitcher’s rubber -left/middle/right, requires serious coaching skills and deliberate dedication by pitcher. But, when perfected - you can command the mound with only two or three pitches, delivering from three different locations on the rubber, and let go with an impressive array of pitches… all with a different look-see and results.