The Novelty Effect (of learning a new pitch)

#1 Thing I’m Teaching My Pitchers This Fall
October 12, 2012
Pitching Success: Change is Needed
October 14, 2012

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of mastering three pitches with the idea that they could be throw in any count. This reduces the dead red fastball counts that cause big hits, and big innings and short outings by pitchers.

Today I want to caution you about the path many young pitchers find themselves headed down. That is, they mess around with a different pitch, learn it a little; and then move on to learn another pitch. While I like the experimentation (as long as mechanics allow for wrist and forearm angles to remain stable), I fear as I’ve seen that few younger pitchers really truly spend the time needed to get good at developing confidence in that second and ultimately third pitch.

To illustrate confidence, have a look at CC Sabathia’s outing yesterday (sorry A’s fans).

At least 3 times that I counted CC threw his nasty curve with a full count. This takes confidence to do. It takes season after season of work to build the confidence to throw off speed pitches in tough counts.

How will you know when you have the confidence to throw an off speed pitch consistently in fastball counts? Pay attention to your initial reaction when the catcher or coach calls for an off speed pitching in a crucial situation. If your first reaction is, “Oh crap, I hope I throw this for a strike”, it’s time for more work on the pitch and less time messing around with the knuckle-curve-splitter ball you just invented.

Be diligent in the work you put in this fall. Really learn some drills to master the change up first, curveball second. I have a great knee drill my pitchers use to help them with curveballs. In fact, It’s on The Pitching Mechanics and coaching Pitchers DVD!

Put in the time this fall/winter and make sure you know what you are doing when it comes time to work pitching grips. Don’t fall victim to the novelty of learning a new pitch every week. We want you to be safe yet effective in your practice. That’s why the DVD’s exist, to guide your pitching workouts.

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