Teaching a Kid a CurveballOctober 10, 2012
The Novelty Effect (of learning a new pitch)October 13, 2012
I remember like it was yesterday facing a guy in the minor leagues (over a decade ago). It was a 2-1 count and I was feeling good. His velocity was very hittable as he was sitting around 85-88 mph. I geared up for a fat fastball in the count I found myself in. Sure enough, as the pitch was delivered straight down the middle of the plate my eyes lit up. Except something changed. The bottom fell out of the baseball and it dropped to low shin height as it crossed the plate. I swung and missed badly.
I was stunned. I’d seen very few splitters that good before. While I managed to poke a single through the hole in the at bat, the rest of the game I went hitless; that stupid splitter was in the back of my mind. Suddenly, no count was safe anymore. It changed the whole dynamics of my approach. The ironic thing of it was that he never threw me another splitter!
This fall and winter I will be working hard at helping my pitchers develop their second and third pitches to the point where they could feel confident throwing them in any count.
Part of the equation is to perfect mechanics to the point where each delivery (arm slot, balance, finish) is the same. Once I can get them to that point, location training will be much easier. Most all my guys (18u) throw the basic three pitches, fastball, curveball, change up. However, the ability to vary speeds and throw any pitch in any count can transform their game.
Join me during this fall and winter as I work to eliminate the fastball count from my pitcher’s mentality. I encourage you to ask questions along the way, I’m always available via email.
Most importantly, make sure you’re educated in mechanics and in pitching grips/release. You can do that through our Pitching DVD‘s which has everything we teach our pitchers. Don’t wait until you’re deep into training this fall to implement this approach, build your education now!