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Tips For Becoming A Good Pitcher In Baseball

Updated on October 16, 2016
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Baseball Brains is a very successful blog and online group which helps players, coaches, and parents learn about and teach the game!

How To Become A Good Pitcher

It's not easy to be a pitcher in the game of baseball. They must be strong, they must have awesome body control, and they must be able to withstand the mental demands of a very tough position.

What most pitchers use to improve their skills are drills. Drills are just exercises or practice methods that allow them to improve on each aspect of pitching!

Pitching requires really good body strength so that the mechanics (how the body much move to efficiently throw a ball really hard over and over) all hold together over the course of a game.

So a lot of drills are designed to increase this strength in the body, and that's very smart!

How To Find The Best Pitching Drills

If we're going to find pitching exercises and drills that work for us, we first must know what we're looking for. Pitching is a very individual discipline, and some drills will work great for some guys and not at all for others.

So what makes a good pitching drill? It has to be something that focuses on your individual needs, and strengthens the parts of your game that need it.

Some people are great at rotating strongly with their core, so a drill that enhances only that will not have as big a bang for their buck as one that addresses something they don't do well already.

Source

Have you ever written down your pitching goals?

See results
The great Cy Young
The great Cy Young | Source

What are your strengths? Weaknesses?

We have to identify what it is we want and need to target before we can form a plan. I cannot stress enough that a cookie cutter approach, everybody doing exactly the same thing, will not have the desired impact on your individual ability.

Identify your strengths, and write them down. You may have good accuracy with your fastball on the outside corner, but not the inside edge, write that down. Your curveball may break well but you can't throw it the same way when you're tired, write that down. If you don't identify what you need to work on, you may be trying to "fix" something that isn't broken, and at the same time not paying enough attention to a weak link.

Things to Consider:

  • Age of player
  • Level of competition
  • Strengths, weaknesses
  • Goals
  • Time/facilities available
  • Time of year (near season or not?)

Setting Pitching Goals

Okay, so after we've identified our strengths and weaknesses, we can set some goals. They can be pretty broad, or very specific. For example, if you want more velocity on your fastball (who doesn't?), write that down as a goal. If you have access to a radar gun, then set a specific goal. The more specific and track able your goals are, the more likely you'll be to reach them and the more fun it will be to progress.

Make your goals realistic and don't try to reach them all at once. If you want learn a changeup, first try to throw it accurately at 25 feet. Once you've reached your goal at that distance, then move back to 35 and set a new goal for there. If you don't make your goal of hitting a target, say 75% of the time from 35 feet, don't move back from there. Incremental goals like this can really build a great foundation for learning a skill and making them stick.

Personal Plan Checklist

  1. Is it realistic?
  2. Is it specific?
  3. Is it something you can stick to?
  4. Do you need help, if so can you get it?
  5. Are you able to track your progress?
  6. Is it getting you closer to your goals?

Make A Plan To Get Better At Pitching

Now you've written down your strengths and weaknesses and set some goals. It's time to make a plan to make yourself better!

This can be pretty tough without the help of an outside coach, so if you have a coach that you trust or there's a good private instructor close by, this is a good time to engage with them. Let them see your lists of strengths and weaknesses, and what your goals are, and work with them to help form a plan.

If you don't have access to a coach that can help you out (dad can help too), then we can press forward without one. After all, it's you the pitcher that will become your own best coach in this process anyway. With or without a coach, the steps we've put together here will go a long way in making you very well suited to coach yourself and make your own adjustments.

Make sure your plan is specific, and that you stick to it. If you can work with a friend or relative, that can sometimes make it easier to stick to the plan that you've made. It's always helpful to be accountable to somebody else in this process to keep you on track.

Example Organization Sheet

Weakness
Goal
Plan
Poor accuracy to the inside part of the plate
Hit the inside zone 75% of the time from 60 feet
Start at 20 feet and work in and out in the zone. Move back 10 feet everytime I get to 75%
Low Velocity
Increase MPH by 5 in 4 months
Work with coach to shore up mechanics. Use bands to strengthen arm and start long toss program
Change Up not Accurate
Hit low and in target with change up 75% of the time from 60 feet
Play catch with the change up grip a lot more to get more comfortable with it. Work on hitting spots and varying distances with the grip, including longer than 60 feet.

Don't include too many things!

In the "Low Velocity" section of my chart, I intentionally included too many things in my plan section. There should only be one, maybe two, things to work on in our plan. In this example, I would eliminate all but one and choose what I want to do....I'll choose band work for my arm!

I can do the other things after I've accomplished the first one.

Setting Your Pitching Priorities

Once you see the fruits of your labors, like the table above, it becomes easier to envision where you want to go and what you'll need to do to get there. I recommend making a table such as the one above, and include everything that you can think of.

After you've done that, you'll notice that the table is probably pretty large and you'll have A LOT to work on. The next step will be to take that large table, and pick two or three of the things you think are the most important. The more specific and narrow our goals and plans are, the more effective they will be. We don't need to be working on ten things at one time, we will start with two or three and work hard to accomplish those.

Mix easy and hard goals in your priority list so that you don't accomplish them super fast and feel like you're not working hard enough, or get stuck up against three really tough goals that take you forever to defeat. You want your plan to include things you can do with a little work, and things that will take some time.

Keep Learning!

The last thing I want to remind you of, is that none of us know it all. There's a lot of information all around us that we can read and watch, and there's a lot of coaches around that can help us out as well. Be careful sifting through all the information, and make sure that it makes sense for YOU. There are a lot of people making money out there selling products that are not designed for your specific pitching delivery or your personal strengths and weaknesses. Keep it your own, and make sure it fits into YOUR plan!

Ask Questions!

If you need any help with any of the steps above, please let me know in the comments below! I am a baseball coach that spends almost the entire year working with pitchers of all ages, and I'm more than happy to help you out.

If all you want to do is let me know if you like the advice or not, or have advice of your own, please do that as well. Thanks for checking out the hub, I appreciate it!

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