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Monday, February 1, 2010

Three Tips For Improving a Pitcher's Control

By Mike Posey

Are you confident the next pitch will go exactly where you planned? How can you be sure your pitcher will locate the next pitch exactly where you want it? A pitcher with great control can sure make the the coach look good.

A few years ago we had one of our HS pitchers throw a perfect game. Not only did no one reach base (zero hits, zero walks, and zero errors) but he had ten strikeouts. What's even more amazing is that it only took 55 pitches (in a five inning ten run game) and 42 of them were strikes.

So, he must have had a blazing fastball? No, his fastball was in the neighborhood of 82 MPH with a 70 MPH change up. The most impressive feat? Every pitch was exactly where he wanted it to be. He was in complete control at all times. A real thing of beauty to watch and enjoy.

Here are three tips to help your pitcher maximize their control.

1. Good control starts with practicing good mechanics--every day.
Pitchers must practice quality mechanics daily. A secret is to develop a good visual image of how to perform correctly. From a good balance point, properly breaking the hands, a good landing, release, and follow thru. A Tip to help pitchers develop visualization: purchase a full length mirror and have the pitcher practice each day facing the mirror. Balance point, break the hands, release, and follow thru. Practice and visualize.

2. Pitchers must master both sides of the plate with their fastball.

Assuming the pitcher is practicing correct mechanics daily, emphasize that importance of pitching in and away. Many young pitchers today are afraid of pitching in. Teach your pitcher the importance of throwing to the inside half with confidence and accuracy. It will make the pitches away more effective. If you pitcher can not do this consistently with their fastball, don't go to another offspeed pitch until they have mastered the fastball to both sides of the plate.

3. More important than a pitch count is the ratio of strikes.

Pitchers must have feed back of the total percentage of strikes thrown during the game and the total percentage of first strikes thrown to each hitter. Use a pitch count device that will give you these percentages during the game.

Mike Posey "CP"
Expert Baseball Pitching Stats

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