A few weeks ago we wrote about becoming an unpredictable pitcher, one who the batter never suspects what pitch will be thrown next.
We wrote about how important it is to keep the hitters guessing and off balance. We also mentioned your job as a pitcher isn’t to strike everyone out, its to keep them from hitting the ball hard. You accomplish this by throwing off speed pitches and having three great pitches you can throw for strikes.
Yesterday I spoke with Nate about this very topic and how important it is to be unpredictable and getting into the hitters head.
He shared a story once when he was playing single A ball, a pitcher threw him a nasty forkball; unlike any he had ever seen. He could have sworn it was a fastball, but in the end it wasn’t. The rest of the evening Nate never saw that same pitch again, but it was always in the back of his mind. When is he going to throw it again? Okay, watch out for his forkball. This is probably the count where he will throw it?
What happened to Nate that night is exactly what you want to put your opponents through. Mind games. These mind games happen more often when you have good command of three pitches and you go to the game with a strategy.
What are some good tips or strategies that you can take to the game with you that will give you the edge?
Well, I always like this one. Never let the batter see the same pitch twice in a row.
That doesn’t mean you can’t throw two fastballs in a row. It means you have to choose two different spots and maybe throw a 4 seam on one and a 2 seam on the next one.
Some may argue about this one like great knuckleball pitchers. Again, there are exceptions to every rule, but think about this one. In most cases, if you give a great batter a second look at the same pitch what do you think will happen?
What about switching it up on an 0-0 count?
If you randomly throw a curve or change the first pitch; you keep the hitters guessing and on their toes. Maybe they usually like to swing at a first pitch fastball, but you have shown that you will throw a first pitch off-speed pitch every once in awhile.
When they get up to bat and you do throw them that first pitch fastball and they watch it go by, they know that that is probably the best pitch they will see at that at bat. Then you have gotten in their head a bit. When you get in their head you have the edge.
I always like pitchers who take chances because they are confident with every pitch they throw. If you have a full count (all circumstances considered of course) don’t be predictable. Throw the out pitch every once in awhile. Take a chance and don’t always do the safest thing! In the long run batters will have a difficult time figuring you out. The next time the team faces you; they remember you were difficult to hit.
On another note: The idea of getting ahead of the count and wasting pitches is not good advice. Pretty soon you find yourself deep in the count and wishing you would be facing the next batter.
Be selective with your pitches, but never waste one. Every pitch counts!
As a pitcher you need to stop throwing to throw the ball. You need a strategy. You need to know what works for you.
Continue to work on the release point of every pitch you throw. Remember in these articles we write we talk about wrist and forearm angle at release of the ball. This is the most important. If your release is off, and it doesn’t have to be off by much, then you risk throwing a hanging curve, a pitch that squirts on you or you risk throwing a pitch that stays in the zone too long.
That is why it is critical you spend time working on consistency with your mechanics. Everything mechanical effects the release of the ball.
We hope you enjoyed this article today!
If you are anxious to learn another pitch or get the mental edge you need to compete at the next level; we recommend our pitching series! It’s discounted for you today!