Introduction to Pitching Absolutes
Throughout my lengthy pitching and coaching career with professional baseball, I developed a deep knowledge of what it takes to be a successful pitcher. My well rounded experience allows me to teach success. Over the course of the next three weeks, I will outline briefly Pitching Absolutes in a Pre-Game, In-Game, and Post-Game setting. These absolutes serve as a guide for Pitching Coach Pro athletes to grow into successful pitchers. In part one of this three-part series, I will review five Pre-Game Pitching Absolutes that can help mold you into a successful pitcher. For sake of review, the Pre-Game Pitching Absolutes are:
Command Your Pitches
I. Work Ethic
Pitching Absolute number one is to establish a good work ethic. At Pitching Coach Pro, work ethic means having the mentality to not only improve yourself but improve those around you. This will help you to become a better pitcher because it encourages you to constantly evaluate what you can learn and how you can improve your game.
How can you better yourself on a daily basis? Teamwork is a great place to start. In life and in the game, you are there supporting someone else and in turn, them doing the same for you. By setting a daily plan and schedule for yourself and making it a priority, communicating openly with your coaches, and pushing your teammates to work harder and to be better allows for accountability and growth for yourself and your team. Having a good work ethic and being a hard worker brings self respect and confidence. It brings the team together. A team that works together is a successful team.
If you don’t want to live with regrets or the “what ifs”, never settle! Continue to strive to be the better version of yourself for the benefit of you and your team.
II. Know Yourself
The second Pitching Absolute is to know yourself as a pitcher. While this sounds simple, it takes a lot of self-observation to truly know what works for you. Pitchers should be comfortable with their delivery by trusting yourself and knowing how you can use each pitch. This takes invested time, hard work, practice, patience, self reflection, and accountability. Knowing yourself is being aware of your delivery checkpoints and understanding how to make your own adjustments.
The key to making successful adjustments lies in being comfortable and confident in your ability to command a pitch. Recognize your strength and what pitch is working that day and trust it.
Preparation is another key part of the Pre-Game Pitching Absolutes. Pitchers should always have a game plan for practice as well as the actual game. It is important to have a schedule in place to log your personal progress and to keep tabs on areas that can be improved.
Pitchers can research and study their hitters through data, coaches knowledge and input, feedback from your catcher, analytics, video, and Rapsodo to properly develop a game plan. Always have a well rounded approach so you can develop a plan for each hitter on an individual basis. The more information you have, the more you will be able to carry out your game plan successfully.
Communication with your catchers is key in preparing to execute efficiently and successfully in game. Build an important relationship by communicating prior to and during the game to ensure you are on the same page. Build trust with your catcher to be able to execute pitches with a high level of confidence. Having great communication and understanding of your catcher will allow for a successful transition to be able to go to plan b during the game if needed.
Having a well researched and developed game plan, effective communication with your catcher, along with believing you can achieve your goals are great ways to prepare for success.
IV. Command Your Pitches
The next element of the Pre-Game Pitching Absolute is commanding your pitches in the strike zone. Focus on towel work, flat ground work, and bullpen sessions to achieve a repeatable delivery in order to command pitches. I remind my pitchers on a daily basis, “One pitch at a time.” To do this, it is important to remember every pitch has a purpose. In order to pitch with a purpose, you must consciously make mental notes on why you are throwing the pitch and the result of the pitch. You need to have a short term memory when making bad pitches, and remember the good pitches and what they felt like. By pitching “one pitch at a time”, you will ultimately succeed in commanding all of your pitches more effectively.
V. Change Speeds
The final Pre-Game Pitching Absolute is to change speeds. In pitching, it is important to be unpredictable. Using secondary pitches allows for this unpredictability to happen. Curveballs, sliders, and change-ups are a must to successfully create a situation that keeps the hitters from timing your pitches which keeps them off balance and uncomfortable. By developing your secondary pitches and having a full arsenal of pitches, you have put yourself in an advantage to be one step ahead before you even step on the mound.
The Next Step
Today, I have briefly outlined five Pre-Game Pitching Absolutes. Over the next two weeks, I will continue to share the Pitching Absolutes I have developed throughout my career in professional baseball. These Pitching Absolutes can serve as a guide to help you develop your game now, even in quarantine, and continue to grow throughout the duration of your pitching career. Stay tuned to continue to learn and grow with the help of my In-Game and Post-Game Pitching Absolutes.