Our recent Pitching Summit was a huge success, and while everyone couldn’t attend, here are my Pitching Summit Takeaways that will make all of your pitchers better.
Discover what I learned from Lonni Alameda (Florida State), Melyssa Lombardi (U. Oklahoma), Jen Rocha (U. Florida), Lori Sippel (U. Nebraska) and John Tschida (U. St. Thomas) at our recent Pitching Summit.
You might be surprised to learn that very few of our speakers talked about mechanics, and instead, they ALL talked about the pitcher. Every single speaker talked a lot about how they focus on the person that lives inside those mechanics and how to better reach her in order to improve her confidence, or quiet her doubting mind or calm her nerves. Mechanics are important, but they can only take our pitchers so far. I’m sure we’ve all had pitchers with great mechanics who couldn’t repeat those mechanics under pressure. I learned this week that we’ve got to help our pitcher’s mechanics in such a way that they never get in the way of the pitcher – either mentally or physically.
Pitching is ALL about performing under pressure and today’s youth pitcher is raised in an environment that involves too much mindless repetition and not enough game pressure. And yet pitching at the college level involves being able to repeat your best self under extreme pressure.
With that said, here’s a list of my Top Takeaways from this year’s 2017 Pitching Summit:
- The Very Best Coaches are the Very Best Learners!
- You Can Never Share Too Much! Knowing doesn’t make you successful, executing does and that’s why the very best coaches are not afraid to share everything they know, because it still comes down to which team can execute what they know the best.
- 90% of technical issues are result of tempo problems.
- The longer the pause while on the rubber, the more the pitcher gets her thoughts screwed up.
- You don’t need a 5-star pitcher, you need a 5-star staff – a 3-star added to a 2-star gives you a 5-star staff.
- You want your pitchers to have repeatable mechanics and repeatable velocity.
- The Pitchers & Catchers signed up to be the leaders – conditioning is where they gain the respect of their teammates. Ask yourself – are you gaining their respect right now?
- The better job your pitchers do in the weight room, the better job they’ll do with their pitches.
- The Fastball should be a part of every pitchers Game arsenal. Less pitches with more command wins games.
- You can throw middle if it’s a different speed
- Our Pitchers warm up to our Pitchers so they don’t warmup throwing too fast. They only get catchers once they’re completely warm.
- Have your pitchers know where the defense should play for them…up, back, middle shaded to the left, flyballs on the leftside, groundballs on the right side?…the pitchers should tell the defense where to play for their best stuff.
- Young pitchers are just “stress pitching” now – they are throwing too much, under too much pressure which only hurts their arm and their ability to understand how to really attack hitters.
- Video your practice more and ask your pitchers to tell you what they see – instead of telling them what you see. You don’t need a fancy video system to do this – use a tablet or your phone.
- Make each of your pitcher’s great at something. Each pitcher doesn’t have to be great at everything, but focus on that one thing that each one is good at.
- Get your brain, body and feet “lit up” before you start pitching. 10 minutes of pre-workout cardio can get your pitchers to work up a sweat and not have to throw 30 extra pitches every day.
- The highest Strike to Ball ratio wins – get as close to 70% as possible!
And since we held two Summits this year for the first-time ever, the Pitching and the Hitting Summits, here are my takeaways that all 10 speakers mentioned that apply to any player and any skill.
- Talk Less, Watch More!
- Let the Freshmen settle in without changing things right away (and in most cases, “right away” meant the entire Fall season!)
- Remind any player that’s struggling how Good they are! That you recruited them because they had talent and that talent hasn’t left. It’s also a good reminder to us as coaches to remember that each one of our players is good and that’s why we asked them to become part of our team.
- Coach the Good back out of them instead of focusing on the “bad” that they might be doing right now.
- Spend more time getting to know each of your players. Schedule individual time with them in the fall, even if it’s only 5 minutes a week – it’s time well spent!
- Give your players playing time in February or you won’t have them in April!
- Talk less mechanics to help their mind quiet down under pressure.
Here’s some more Pitching help:
- Critical Counts: How to Stop the Walks
- Pitching Workouts – Travelball & High School Edition
- Pitching Workouts – College Edition