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For The Love Of The Game - Pitching Instruction (Part 2)

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KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO DOMINATE…

Before you can fully commit to being a great pitcher, you have to figure out what exactly it takes to be the best. Great pitchers put forth the effort and go to great lengths to find out what it takes to dominate. How do you find out what it takes to be great? Study great pitchers.

Great pitchers are successful for good reason. They’re determined to find out what it takes to be physically great, to strengthen their body to gain maximum velocity and endurance to last the season and be healthy. Great pitchers also understand that physical prowess is not the only key ingredient to dominance. It is the intellectual, mental and emotional training as well. That means learning the game of baseball and its strategies, how to control your thoughts in a positive way, finding out what your mental weaknesses are and how to develop them, what your mental strengths are and how to maximize them, ect. It seems at the Little League, Select Baseball level there is so much emphasis on gaining velocity that other equally important qualities are left by the wayside. Maximizing velocity while developing sound, injury preventative mechanics are keys to being successful. But they’re not the only keys. Good pitchers know this. Great pitchers do something about it.

WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO?

Knowing what it takes to dominate and doing it are two different things. This is where the rubber meets the road and what separates the men from the boys. Total commitment means taking this information and putting it into practice. Are you prepared to throw 5 or 6 days a week, and workout 4 or 5 days a week, and spend 5 more hours a week developing your mechanics? Be determined to put it into practice and make it a habit.

"If you could equate the amount of time and effort put in mentally and physically into succeeding on the baseball field and measured it by the dirt on your uniform, mine would have been black." -Mike Schmidt

Always keep in mind your ultimate goal… dominating in order to have success (however you want to define it). If you’re totally committed to succeed you will put in the time and effort required to make yourself great and you will want to do it. Eventually you will enjoy doing what it takes to make you better. I remember as a freshman pitcher in college I was introduced to tubing, tubing is for the strengthening your body without using weight. Well I absolutely hated them at first because they were tough and they hurt. However, I knew they would make me stronger and more flexible and that might translate into better performance so I learned to enjoy doing them. I felt the same way about running. You might feel the same way about running or lifting or doing drills. It doesn’t matter. You must see the big picture and know that by totally committing to the little things, either physically or mentally, you are making yourself stronger. Becoming stronger and tougher will condition you to be better. Better physical and mental conditioning leads to better performance on the mound. Better performance on the mound leads to more success and more success leads to more fun and achieving what you want to. Your level of performance usually dictates your level of success, your ability to get a scholarship, your ability to win championships, etc. If you’re not willing to be totally committed to doing the big and little things required to dominate, then your performance will suffer and you will not succeed and failure is in your future. Putting it simply… you must do more to be more.

"Put the right pitching mechanics together with good health, and there's nothing surprising about lasting a long time." - Nolan Ryan


What you need to know about Baseball Pitching Mechanics

Proper Pitching technique is a very popular topic in the baseball world today and has been for a long time. Everyone wants to know how to throw a baseball the correct way and improve their pitching technique so they can increase pitching speed, have more pitching velocity and remain healthy enough to pitch for a long time. There are some things you should know as you embark on the journey of finding the right pitching mechanics for you. I want to help you have the right mind set before you set out on that journey. Keep the following in mind before you begin:

The ultimate mechanical goal is to build a delivery that allows a pitcher to:

The ultimate mechanical goal is to build a delivery that allows a pitcher to:

  • Maximize athleticism
  • Have ultimate balance control over his body and movements
  • Be deceptive
  • Repeat these mechanics close to 100 pitches a game
  • Minimize the chance of injury
  • Maximize Athleticism

I want to better develop the athlete’s use of his existing physical skills and abilities. If I can increase a pitcher’s strength, agility and stamina while maintaining great flexibility, we will make him a better athlete and very likely a better baseball pitcher.

  • Balanced and Controlled

Show me a pitcher who is athletic and I’ll show you a pitcher who can maintain balance throughout his delivery and control where he wants his body to go and what he wants it to do. Balance and control is vital in baseball pitching because you have to be able to release the ball from the same spot every time for all pitches. If you can’t control your body then your body will do something a little different every time.

  • Deception

In addition to being athlete who can control their movements, you have to be able to deceive the batter. A pitcher’s goal is be able to develop a delivery that is sound but that also can hide the ball from the hitter as long as possible. I don’t to give the hitter any idea of what we’re throwing until it leaves our hand, giving him the lease amount of time to react.

  • Repeatable Mechanics

Every one of these concepts builds on the others. Having repeatable baseball pitching mechanics is important because it allows you to know what your body is doing because you don’t have balance and control, then you can’t expect to know where the ball is going to go and what it’s going to do. I always tell my students that if you want to control what the ball does at the plate then you have to control what your body does on the mound. Being able to repeat your delivery gives you the confidence in a game to concentrate on getting hitters out rather than worrying about your mechanics.

  • Minimize the chance of injury

It’s logical to conclude that if you want to continue to pitch you have to be healthy. Understand, too, that a pitcher can easily repeat bad mechanics. A pitcher that repeats bad mechanics in his delivery can develop many problems like lack of control, velocity and more importantly… the likely hood that they’ll get hurt. Study the pitching mechanics of great pitchers who have remained healthy for a long time. No two pitchers are exactly alike and there is not one set way to deliver a pitch to the plate. But there are certain elements of every great pitcher delivery that give them a better chance to stay healthy and injury free.


Keep in mind:

There are no “perfect” pitching mechanics. And no two pitchers are exactly the same. Your goal should be to develop a baseball pitching delivery that follows the concepts above but is specific to your skills, abilities and talents. Keep working hard to improve those skills, abilities and talents and your performance will get better and you’ll give.

“Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don't move.” - Satchel Paige

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 3

Pitching Instruction Part 4

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