By Coach Kyle Nelson of Cornerstone Baseball
Pitching is different than almost every other skill in baseball. It is not a reaction. The pitcher is in total control. He decides when the ball is thrown, pitch type, pitch location, and pitch velocity.
Everyone else reacts to the pitcher.
Because of this, we often forget that pitcher practice needs to simulate the game as much as possible. This article will give you five ways bullpen sessions can become more game-like:
1.) Mix wind-up and stretch
The most important pitches a pitcher makes each game will come from the stretch. The ones under the most pressure, the ones that matter the most will come out of the stretch.
By Josh Boggs
Velocity is all the rage nowadays. Everyone seems hell-bent on throwing as hard as they possibly can. It seems every pitcher in the MLB throws 95+, so If you want to join that illustrious group, you’d better be doing the same. With that being said, there are some differences in what the radar gun reads and what the hitter sees. Essentially velocity has three different categories: Actual, Perceived, and Effective.
This is the easiest to understand of the three categories. Actual velocity is simply the reading on the radar gun. Although, just to clarify, the reading on the radar gun, especially at ballparks, is the
velocity of the baseball at or near pitch release and not in front of home plate as some have suggested to me. While the reading on a radar gun can be beneficial, understand it does not tell the whole story of velocity. To do that, we need more context.
This is where things get a little more interesting (and fun). Perceived velocity can vary from actual velocity because of essentially two factors: 1) A pitcher’s stride and 2) A pitcher’s release point.
Well there are a few things you can do to find your rhythm more often.
THROW STRIKE 1
The first component of finding your rhythm is strike 1. You’ve got to get ahead in the count. It’s hard to find a rhythm if your constantly behind and trying to battle back into an advantageous count. Make it a point before each new batter to focus on the idea of throwing strike 1.
The next piece of the puzzle is to work diligently. I don’t want you to think “fast”, but rather “faster’. Be intentional after each pitch-whether it was good or bad- to get the ball back from the catcher, toe the rubber, get your signal and go back to work. I see a lot of young pitchers take way too much time in between each pitch. They get the ball, rub it down, take off their cap and wipe their forehead, walk around behind the mound, or do a variety of other things-and then toe the rubber and start over.
BY Matt Schissell (@shizzpeace13)
It’s that time of year again– the end of summer. Kids are going back to school and summer baseball seasons are over except for those lucky enough to play in the Little League World Series. The Little League World Series (LLWS) is fantastic. It promotes the game of baseball to a younger crowd and gives participants some memories they’ll never forget. One of the biggest issues with youth baseball today, including the LLWS, is pitching. It may be an old-school thought process, but 11-13 year old kids should not be spinning off curve balls every third pitch even if it leads to a ridiculous 16 strikeouts. While it may seem harmless at the time to the people who don’t understand baseball, kids’ arms aren’t fully developed. Their bodies aren’t made for that kind of use. This isn’t the player’s fault, and coaches and parents often just don’t know any better. Throwing curveballs and sliders with undeveloped muscles creates bad throwing habits and can lead to injuries later on in a player’s career. At this age the only off-speed pitch that should be thrown is a changeup. Developing a quality fastball with proper mechanics and a good changeup can carry a young pitcher all the way to college, and allow them to dominate younger competition. Instead of focusing on quality off-speed pitches, little leaguers should focus on the intent of their pitches (mainly fastballs), putting their whole body into every pitch, and creating momentum towards the plate. At the end of the day, an undeveloped body is unable to properly execute a curveball without creating bad mechanics, bad habits, or even injury.