Last week we talked about throwing with a purpose; meaning you don’t just throw the ball to throw it. You throw with the intent to sharpen your mechanics or work on one of your goals even when you are just playing catch with a friend.
This week I would like to add to that a bit more and mention briefly the importance of making your bullpens a valuable use of your time. So many pitchers don’t understand how valuable each pitch is when they are throwing in the bullpen. Some merely throw the ball thinking about throwing hard strikes anywhere in the zone. When it crosses the plate for a strike they are content with that. That may work for now if you are in Little League but things change when you’re a bit older. You can’t get away with just throwing strikes, you have to work the corners and ensure the ball has movement.
When you are throwing between starts it is imperative that you work on a few things like pitch location, getting a feel for each pitch and keeping track of how many strikes you are throwing compared to balls.
Don’t just throw strikes and think that is sufficient. Talk and think about different game scenarios with your catcher. Who’s up at the plate? How are you going to approach this batter? What are the hitters weaknesses? What pitches would you throw this batter and in what sequence will you throw them?
Practice perfect strikes on the corners with each pitch; make a real game out of it. Whatever you pitch, throw with a purpose! I can’t say enough about that.
Also, get in the habit of taking a journal to the bullpen with you. Some of the best pitchers I work with have this habit and it works! Not only should your goals be in this journal so you can look at them daily, but you should keep track of each pitch you throw; much like a weight lifter knows how much they are lifting and how many repetitions they do for each exercise.
Take the time to monitor your progress in the bullpen and really do some worthwhile throwing. Make sure you write down any thoughts that come to mind when or after each bullpen session. This will help you approach each bullpen with a better attitude and work ethic.
And if you can’t come near the plate and do the kinds of things (working the corners, etc) I mentioned above, you are in need of our Pitching Mechanics DVD.