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  1. BE A STUDENT OF THE GAME Success at baseball pitching is more than how hard someone can throw, although society wants us to believe otherwise. Learning how to truly pitch requires a broad knowledge of not only the physical aspects of the pitching motion but so much more. It requires an in-depth knowledge of strategy, technique, a basic knowledge of how to play baseball at all baseball positions, and mental awareness of what skills you as a pitcher possess and how to maximize them. Think of becoming a pitcher like a building a house. A house will crumble unless it has a strong, solid foundation. But you must build upon that foundation a solid internal structure so that it can stand tall. And the outside structure must be strong as well to ward off any harmful external forces. A successful baseball pitcher is built upon: Knowledge of the position and what its true purpose is A rock-solid mechanical approach, with help from critical video review Physical strength gain from functional, specific-to pitching workouts Mental strength allowing the pitcher to overcome any situation "I'm just a ballplayer with one ambition, and that is to give all I've got to help my ball club win. I've never played any other way." - Joe DiMaggio STRATEGY Pitching is quite the chess match. Pitchers and hitters, going back and forth, constantly making adjustments to outwit and outperform each other. The best pitchers understand that you have to know what to throw and when to throw it. Likewise, you have to know what not to throw and when not to throw it. Still, that’s not enough. Great pitchers know that hitters can also become base runners. So they must know the hitters that can run and the ones that can’t. The ones that have good instincts on the base paths are the ones that can cause trouble. The most successful pitchers understand this and they gather as much vital information about their opponent as they can, and way before the competition even starts. They know that paying attention to certain details about their opponent can tell them everything they need to know about how to get them out. Great pitchers know their opponents strengths, weaknesses and abilities and skills before the hitter even steps into the box. Great baseball pitches are always gathering information on hitters and opponents to store away so they can draw upon that information when they need it to attack a hitter in any situation. Learn how to size up your opponent by looking for weaknesses in technique, movement, weight transfer and overall approach. Look for mental weaknesses such as nervousness, ab anxiety and arrogance. The hitter will tell you his weaknesses if you only pay close attention and know what to look for. As the game goes on, you will have the opportunity to gather much more information as well. Understanding strategy not only means understanding your opponent, but also yourself. You must know your own skills, abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Are you a power pitcher? Do you have a great curveball? Do you have to rely on pinpoint control because you lack a good fastball? Baseball is such a complex sport with so many different potential situations that a pitcher must be able to navigate through. Understanding baseball pitching strategies of all types that cover all situations is information you must possess in order to be successful and win games you must be able to put together a pitching strategy that combines all the knowledge you have about you, your opponent and the situation. Take time to learn how to play baseball and you’ll better understand how to pitch and get hitters out. Be a master at understanding strategy and you will have more fun on the mound and be more successful than you ever thought you could be. There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971 Pitching is my Passion, and my goal is simple. It’s to provide you with unbiased and useful information you need to succeed as a pitcher. I encourage you to take advantage of this, and really use this as a resource to build on your skills, use every useful piece of information from this that you possibly can. You have to want to it! Some of the pitching tips you may find more helpful than others; find what will work for you and run with it. Succeeding in the game of baseball as a pitcher can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. There is no feeling like winning a championship and achieving something that you have worked hard for. I sincerely want to make sure you have all the tools you need to do just that. Love every minute of it. Blessings PHILL 4:13 For I could do all things through Christ who gives me Strength A brief Bio on Coach Luis Villarreal: Drafted in 2002 by the Boston Red Sox. Played 9 years in the minor leagues. Currently is the pitching instructor at Xtreme Speed in San Antonio, TX. Pitching Instruction Part 1 Pitching Instruction Part 2 Pitching Instruction Part 3
  2. First, understand that there are 4 general aspects across all sports that are similar. Physical- Players must be fit enough to perform the movements required by the sport Technical- Players must understand and be able to perform the correct technique of different movements in order to succeed. Tactical- Players must understand the game’s strategy and apply that a little differently depending on the opponent. Mental- Players must be prepared for the challenges they will face across all of the previous three aspects and develop proper methods to deal with these challenges. The mental part of pitching is the most challenging one to master but the most important one to master. The mind can affect each of these aspects either negatively or positively and in so many ways. Mental pitching means knowing all potential ways a pitcher’s mind can react to a certain situation and understanding what psychological concepts and methods to use to attack them. How well a baseball pitcher can train his mind to deal with challenges positively and with the right approach will effectively determine his ability to succeed in any situation. Finding the answers to these questions is very important. We all have seen extremely physically talented players who never live up to their “potential.” And we’ve all seen less physically gifted players excel to levels no one thought possible. What can explain this? "Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put its failures behind and start over again. That's the way life is, with a new game every day, and that's the way baseball is." -Bob Feller 1. Have a Purpose Want to improve fastball command? Have a goal in mind every time you pick up a baseball. Every time you pick up a ball you have a chance to improve your location. Playing catch, throwing a bullpen in practice, or pitching in a game…it does not matter. Every throw gives you an opportunity to get better. 2. Make them count Make every throw count. Do not waste your time by throwing from different arm slots or trying different useless grips for fun and wonde why your location is not there on game day. You only have so many throws in your arm. Make them count. 3. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat Implement the same throwing mechanics on every practice throw that you would on the first pitch of a game. You will make a lot of practice throws in your lifetime. Why not use those throws to improve what will ultimately be the deciding factor in whether or not you are successful? 4. Focus, Focus, Focus Pick out a specific spot on your target and focus on hitting that target with every single throw. Start when your partner is close and its easier to hit the target. Expect to hit your target every time, especially when you are close. This will build confidence in your ability to hit spots. Adjust your expectations somewhat when your target is far away; as it’s harder to hit that target the further back you go. But do not use that as an excuse to lose focus. 5. Aim Small, Miss Small As cheesy and overused as this phrase is, it’s actually quite profound. Make your target as small and specific as you can; your misses to that target will be small as well and you will improve command. 6. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize Tell yourself what you want to do with the baseball and visualize it in your head and it will be easier for you to achieve it. If you can see yourself do it in your head, then you will be more likely to do it on the field. 7. Become a perfectionist Expect to locate the ball exactly where you want to 100% of the time and nothing less. Always strive for perfection… but know that you will never attain it. You may ask why I would encourage you to spend so much time and energy on something you will never be able to achieve. Because it will make you better and you will constantly be harder to reach this unattainable goal. This takes time and maturity. Follow these fastball pitching tips and you will significantly increase your level of pitching performance. A brief Bio on Coach Luis Villarreal: Drafted in 2002 by the Boston Red Sox. Played 9 years in the minor leagues. Currently is the pitching instructor at Xtreme Speed in San Antonio, TX. Pitching Instruction Part 1 Pitching Instruction Part 2 Pitching Instruction Part 4
  3. Great letter posted from the Mac-N-Seitz Baseball and Softball Site. Message from Kevin Seitzer - Mike Matheny is the new St. Louis Cardinals Manager. Mike lived with me in Milwaukee his rookie year. He's one of the most respected, wonderful people you will ever be around. Mike coached his kids after retirement and this is a letter to the parents on his team. This may be the BEST letter I've ever read regarding youth baseball and is exactly what "The Mac-N-Seitz Way" is all about. Please enjoy and help us get there! Letter from Mike Matheny..... I always said that the only team that I would coach would be a team of orphans, and now here we are. The reason for me saying this is that I have found the biggest problem with youth sports has been the parents. I think that it is best to nip this in the bud right off the bat. I think the concept that I am asking all of you to grab is that this experience is ALL about the boys. If there is anything about it that includes you, we need to make a change of plans. My main goals are as follows: (1) to teach these young men how to play the game of baseball the right way, (2) to be a positive impact on them as young men, and (3) do all of this with class. We may not win every game, but we will be the classiest coaches, players, and parents in every game we play. The boys are going to play with a respect for their teammates, opposition, and the umpires no matter what. With that being said, I need to let you know where I stand. I have no hidden agenda. I have no ulterior motive other than what I said about my goals. I also need all of you to know that my priorities in life will most likely be a part of how I coach, and the expectations I have for the boys. My Christian faith is the guide for my life and I have never been one for forcing my faith down someone's throat, but I also believe it to be cowardly, and hypocritical to shy away from what I believe. You as parents need to know for yourselves and for your boys, that when the opportunity presents itself, I will be honest with what I believe. That may make some people uncomfortable, but I did that as a player, and I hope to continue it in any endeavor that I get into. I am just trying to get as many potential issues out in the open from the beginning. I believe that the biggest role of the parent is to be a silent source of encouragement. I think if you ask most boys what they would want their parents to do during the game; they would say "NOTHING". Once again, this is ALL about the boys. I believe that a little league parent feels that they must participate with loud cheering and "Come on, let's go, you can do it", which just adds more pressure to the kids. I will be putting plenty of pressure on these boys to play the game the right way with class, and respect, and they will put too much pressure on themselves and each other already. You as parents need to be the silent, constant, source of support. Let the record stand right now that we will not have good umpiring. This is a fact, and the sooner we all understand that, the better off we will be. We will have balls that bounce in the dirt that will be called strikes, and we will have balls over our heads that will be called strikes. Likewise, the opposite will happen with the strike zone while we are pitching. The boys will not be allowed at any time to show any emotion against the umpire. They will not shake their head, or pout, or say anything to the umpire. This is my job, and I will do it well. I once got paid to handle those guys, and I will let them know when they need to hear something. I am really doing all of you parents a favor that you probably don't realize at this point. I have taken out any work at all for you except to get them there on time, and enjoy. The thing that these boys need to hear is that you enjoyed watching them and you hope that they had fun. I know that it is going to be very hard not to coach from the stands and yell encouraging things to your son, but I am confident that this works in a negative way for their development and their enjoyment. Trust me on this. I am not saying that you cannot clap for your kids when they do well. I am saying that if you hand your child over to me to coach them, then let me do that job. A large part of how your child improves is your responsibility. The difference for kids at this level is the amount of repetition that they get. This goes with pitching, hitting and fielding. As a parent, you can help out tremendously by playing catch, throwing batting practice, hitting ground balls, or finding an instructor who will do this in your place. The more of this your kids can get, the better. This is the one constant that I have found with players that reached the major leagues....someone spent time with them away from the field. Read the rest of the letter.
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