Here’s my quick list of the things that week in and week out, I see pitchers struggle with.
Struggling is important to a pitcher’s growth & development – not something to avoid.
Pitching is a really tough skill to learn, and one that doesn’t come easily, or quickly. In fact, it takes years of practicing your way through struggle before you can shoot out the other side and really call yourself a pitcher. While most pitchers, as well as the adults around them, want to do everything possible to avoid the struggle, it’s the lessons hidden within it that really build or break a pitcher
While out recruiting, I see tons of pitchers really trying their guts out, but falling short. It’s not that they’re not good, most of them just aren’t good, yet. I think too many young pitchers avoid struggling in practice and working their way through it, so that one day they no longer struggle on the ball field.
Avoiding struggle won’t make you a good pitcher. Trying to be perfect causes pitchers to become so careful that they limit their own skill for fear of making a mistake. So, let’s take a look at my list of the 5 things I see Pitcher’s Struggle with that make them average:
- They Struggle Hitting Spots – to be a good pitcher you’ve got to be able to hit the up and down, in and out spots within the edges of the strike zone – consistently. Pitchers miss the strike zone edges either too much outside or inside the strike zone resulting in nothing but trouble.
- They Have Movement on 1 Pitch – the notion of having 5 to 7 different pitches has really made it tough for pitchers to have any movement pitches they can control. Too many pitchers throw pitches that move too soon and end up way out of the strike zone and they aren’t sure what adjustment to make, because they have too many different pitches that they can’t spend time developing 1 or 2 really good ones. More isn’t better. Better is better.
- They Have Weak Changeups – the most overlooked pitch of all, the changeup. If younger pitchers would focus on having a dominant change up they would get better, fast.
- They Have Average Speed – pitchers could really help themselves by getting into better shape, which would strengthen their legs and help them throw faster, as well as simply being braver. Their fear of throwing a bad pitch is the biggest reason that pitcher’s throw faster warming up than they do once they get in the game.
- They Have Brittle Resilience – resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. In other words, its toughness. A good pitcher is constantly making adjustments to things like the strike zone, the batter, the defense and to themselves. Pitchers unable to adjust will get frustrated when they should get tough, making it almost impossible to become successful.
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