Accuracy is king in pitching. You have it and you win – you don’t have it, and well, you’ll lose.
Help your pitchers get more accurate with this accuracy practice chart.
It all happens over in the bullpen when pitchers practice their various pitches to the different locations, all the while fooling themselves that they’re accurate. I say fooling themselves because “close is good enough” is what usually goes during pitching practice. But, get in a game with one of those stingy umpires, and close isn’t even close enough. That’s when the good pitcher adjusts, and the lesser pitcher complains.
If your pitchers struggle with their accuracy during games it’s no doubt because they are being held to tougher standards than the ones they give themselves during practice. If close is good enough in practice, and then suddenly close isn’t even close in a game – well, it’s going to be a long game!
To help your pitchers start to face the reality of an unforgiving strike zone, we’ve got to put them in that situation during practice. We can do that using a Pitching Accuracy Chart that’s simple to use, and visually shows your pitcher where’s she’s strong, and where she needs to improve. It also tells her which pitches she can depend on, and which ones she should continue developing but not depend on when she needs a strike.
Here’s how it works – the picture to the right shows a completed Pitching Accuracy Chart. I know it looks confusing right now but follow me. You’ll notice there are 6 numbers on the chart (1-6) representing 6 different locations in the strike zone. You could have more or less depending on how good your pitchers are, and what level you play. For this example I’m using these 6 locations, from the pitcher’s perspective:
- Low/Right (not inside since it would be outside to a lefty hitter)
Then I’ve put Pitch: ____ 3 times beside each location followed by 10 circles. I simply ask the pitcher I’m working with to name the pitches she throws to each of these 6 locations and I write down the pitch. For instance, for location 1, you see an X = Changeup, FB = Fastball, and Drop = Drop.
Once you go around to all the locations and list the pitches that your pitcher throws, she then starts at location 1 with the first pitch, in this case the X (changeup) and she throws 10 of them. You simply fill in the circle when the pitch works and hits the location. (You might notice little marks on the blank circles; this is what I do when I use this chart so I can keep track of what pitch number she’s on.) Do this for all the pitches at each of the locations and then create totals.
When your pitcher finishes all of the locations you’ll end up with a picture of her accuracy – or even, lack of it. While this might seem depressing, it’s REALLY important that we help our pitchers see the positive value of this chart instead of it simply convincing them they’re horrible.
In looking at the chart to the right, it’s the same accuracy chart except I’ve just circled the totals for the various locations. The dotted Red circles show her total accuracy for each of the 6 locations. The dotted Blue circles show her accuracy for the Right and the Left sides, and the dotted Black circles show her accuracy for her High and Low locations.
So, here’s that this tells us:
- She’s the most accurate at #4, with 45% strikes!
- The FB (fastball) is her most accurate pitch with 5/10 at both #2 and #4!
- She’s about even with her Left (24%) and Right (25%) accuracy, as well as her High (26%) and Low (25%) accuracy
Our immediate lessons:
- This is an extremely tough thing to do because it makes the pitcher face her fears. But because of that it’s very helpful since we can now attack our improvements.
- Don’t be surprised if your pitcher freaks out during this since she’s being held accountable to her accuracy which can be very distracting for her if she focuses on you writing things down instead of her making the pitches work.
- It helps her know what to spend her time in practice improving, and helps whoever calls pitches know what pitches to throw and where to throw them – and – what pitches NOT to throw.
While this is a tough thing to face as a pitcher – actually seeing your accuracy or lack of it on paper – it happens every single time we pitch in a game. Using this chart every couple weeks in practice will really help your pitchers start to focus more specifically on doing things more precisely that will help them be more precise during games. And control is really just precision.
For more help with this topic,:
- eClinic: Pitching Workouts: College Edition – includes this Pitching Accuracy Chart
- The Complete Book of Pitching
- eClinic: Pitching Charts – How to Use Them to Win More Games
- DVD: Controlling Pitchers Counts and Pitching and Catching Drillmania
- eDrill: Pitching Drill – Rise High T
- eDrill: Pitching Drill – Screw Bucket
- eSkill: Pitching – Level 5
- Pitching Summit Vault – Annual
- Pitching Summit Vault – Monthly