It makes sense that the things we do while we’re just standing on the pitching rubber are the things we should always do right. But, amazingly enough, these are the things most pitchers get wrong.
Are you that pitcher? Read on to find out…
I pitched for years, and I know just how hard it can be. There’s so much to master with little room for error. And now with YouTube, and all the social media apps and video cameras clicking away, everyone thinks they’re a pitching coach. So pitchers are bombarded with people blabbing out random things in an effort to be “helpful.”
Things get harder the faster you move – never mind do as precisely as you must do as a pitcher. For instance, it’s not enough that you let go in the general area as do when throwing overhand. If you let go an inch too late, the pitch goes high; if you let go an inch too early, the pitch goes too low. When throwing overhand, if you let go a little late or a little early, it’s usually ok as long as your teammate can catch the ball. But for pitchers, getting the ball in the “general area” isn’t good enough when the umpire has a tight strike zone.
So, getting your release right at the right time while moving full speed is pretty important if you want to be a good pitcher, but so are 3 things that I constantly see pitchers get wrong. Those 3 things are:
- They don’t wait for the signal before starting their pitch
- They don’t have a good grip on the ball
- They’ve totally spaced out as they start their pitch.
No matter how young or old, experienced or inexperienced the pitcher is – I see these 3 mistakes all the time.
So let’s check out the 3 things every good pitcher must-do before starting every pitch:
The best tool to use to work on getting the right grip is the Zip Ball. The Zip Ball will really help you master the pressure points for each pitch and make sure you maintain pressure throughout the entire pitch.
- Get the Signal – Before you can pitch a ball you need to know what you’re supposed to be throwing. What type of pitch is it supposed to be, and where is it supposed to go? If you don’t know these 2 things, then how can you throw a pitch? Or, maybe a better question is, how is your catcher supposed to catch the pitch if she has NO CLUE what pitch you’re throwing because you’re throwing your pitch without even waiting for the signal? This happens occasionally in games, but happens ALL the time in practice. Pitchers get sloppy during practice thinking it doesn’t matter, that they’ll be good during games – WRONG! You are in games what you work to be in practice. So, next time you practice pitching make sure you get your signal BEFORE you start to pitch.
- Get the Grip – Once you get your signal then you’ve got to grip the pitch that was just called. Gripping a pitch is different from simply holding the ball. How you ask? Gripping involves applying pressure from the pads of your fingers to the ball. It’s like what you do when you try to open a jar lid – you change from just holding the jar to gripping the lid firmly with the pads of your fingers. And, each pitch requires not only a different grip, but different pressure points. Too much pressure and you can’t let go of the ball, while too little pressure results in the ball slipping out of your hands – neither one results in a successful pitch. So you’ve got to pay attention to this while you’re gripping the ball and make sure you get the right amount of pressure from the proper fingers before you even think about starting your pitch.
- Get the Gist – And finally, quickly and simply tell yourself the main thing you need to do to throw this pitch. Not ALL the things involved in this pitch, but the MAIN thing you need to focus on. Maybe it’s staying tall, or getting under the ball, or finishing to the glove, or whatever, but you’ve got to program your body to move a certain way if you expect it to move that way. Our body follows the instructions that our brain gives it – and usually those instructions aren’t very good. Either they’re vague (like you’re spacing out and pitching anyway), or they’re too freaked out (like you’re worrying about what will happen if you walk this kid or trying not to hit someone). Instead, after you get the signal and you grip the ball, quickly tell yourself the main thing you need to do to make this pitch work – and then throw the pitch!
To be a good pitcher doesn’t mean we have to make pitching complicated. What it does mean is we have to take care of the important stuff first – like seeing the signal, gripping the ball and knowing what to do.
For more help with your pitching, check out the following: