We all know the worst thing a pitcher can do on a pick off attempt is overthrow the ball and give the runner a free base.
What can pitchers do then to ensure they don’t overthrow the ball?
Here are ten pitching tips that will keep you from giving runners a free base.
1) Keep your moves smooth and simple to the bag. Remember, you aren’t always trying to pick off the runner; you are just trying to keep them close to the bag.
2) Don’t rush! If you rush you can get tense and use all arm to throw. This combo screams overthrow.
3) Don’t grip the ball too tight. result: A lot of wild throws in the dirt.
4) Avoid spinning or too much rotation on your throws to second base. Keep the throw simple. If your a righty step back and rotate toward the third base side not the first base side.
5) Avoid pulling your front glove arm. If you know pitching mechanics, don’t pull your front side open. Hips before upper body. Same with pick offs.
6) Don’t jump, step behind the pitching rubber. If you jump you are going to use too much arm to throw and can easily lose control.
7) Don’t use too much trickery and play games with the runners. The majority of the time they will end up victorious. Your main concern is the batter. Remember to keep the moves smooth and simple.
8) Get yourself in a good equal and opposite position by lifting your arms up (just like pitching) and do your best to complete hip rotation. Better yet, just use great mechanics while throwing to the bag. Again, don’t try to get fancy. Fancy gives runners free bases and then runs.
9) I’m not a big fan of the side arm throws to third if your a righty. Throws to third for me aren’t necessary unless the runner is not paying attention at all or he has a monstrous lead. In most cases, I would just step off the bag. Risking that overthrow to third is another way to help give your competition a run.
10) Practice, practice and more practice
To learn more about pick off Moves, pitching mechanics and off speed pitches we recommend our Pitching Mechanics and MLB Workouts DVD!