Pitching For A Strikeout
Is it possible to be a successful pitcher with just one pitch? Just look at Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees. Mariano is destined to be the greatest relief pitcher of all-time and he throws just one type of pitch - the cut fastball. Now, Mariano throws hard, but the speed of his cut fastball is a very hittable 90 - 94 mph. So why hasn't anyone figured out how to hit him? The answer is he analyzes a pitch scoring system each game and he isn't pitching for a strikeout - though this is often the outcome.
There is a common mis-belief in baseball that the faster a pitcher throws, the more strikeouts he will get - and the more successful he will be. Although there is some truth to this, throwing hard is no guarantee to winning. Hall of famer Greg Maddox and Tommy John are just two prime examples.
The art of pitching is mastering the mental side of baseball. Good pitchers prepare mentally before each game. They go over details and specifics of the team they are facing, the ballpark they are in, the weather conditions, the projected lineup of the opponent, the hitting trends of the hitters they will face, tendencies of each hitter, and their strengths and weaknesses.
Along with the mental side of pitching is mastering control of the pitches. Location is key and this starts with good pitching mechanics. Pitchers can get away with only one good pitch if they impeccable location. So preparation and control are key for pitching for a strikeout.
Good pitchers rarely are pitching for a strikeout. Instead, they design a pitching strategy for getting ahead of the hitter, setting up the hitter with a pitch to his weakness and then using his best pitch with perfect location for the strikeout. The strategy of getting ahead in the count gives pitchers the advantage and a better chance to success. If the strategy works, the hitter is retired, sometimes by a strikeout.
In major league baseball, the pitchers have the benefit of reviewing video, details statistics and expert advice from players and coaches. They use a pitch scoring system to review the pitching sequence of their last outing as well as their previous encounter with their opponent. They have all the information they need to be successful, but putting that plan into action requires concentration, confidence and consistency.
Starting at around 13 years of age, youth baseball pitchers should begin to learn of art of pitching. This responsibility falls on the youth baseball coach and the parents. Kids pitching at this age should not just be throwing pitches, they should be thinking about the situation. Before each hitter, the pitcher should be analyzing the details about the hitter. If the pitcher is seeing the hitter for the very first time, he should ask his teammates and coaches about the hitter.
Pitchers should remember each hitter, the pitches he threw and what the outcome was. This information will be critical as the game goes on.
Something you don't see at the pre-high school, high school and even college level of baseball of baseball, is the use of a pitch scoring system to record every detail of their pitcher's appearance. Recording each and every pitch, the type of pitch, the location of the pitch, and the result of the at-bat can is a big advantage that can be the difference between winning and losing.
It's time for youth baseball coaches to not only keep score of the hitters but also their pitchers. A pitch scoring system can also help the coach analyze his own batter's tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. Yet it is uncommon to see a team scoring pitches.
Using a pitch scoring system is the absolute best tool to help in pitching for strikeouts.