Thursday Throwing Tips – Baseball Coaching Tips for Pitching

For some reason, I have never liked the often-used phrase “Pitch to Contact” that baseball people use as advice to pitchers. I know what they mean, that pitchers should not be afraid of throwing strikes and that there is a defense behind them to make plays, but on the other hand, it sort of implies that pitchers should just lay the ball in their for batters to swat. Pitching is not that easy, except for those few who have exceptional arms. Even those with above average pitching abilities get to a point where simply “pitching to contact” does not necessarily work.

The pitcher moves forward off the rubber as th...

The pitcher moves forward off the rubber as the pitch is released. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course, if pitchers are afraid of being hit hard, they probably should not pitch, or at least, they must learn that being hit hard occasionally is part of the game. Getting batters to swing and miss, or chase pitches out of the strike zone, is a part of pitching and must be encouraged.

With that in mind, good youth coaches should help pitchers with these baseball coaching tips:

  1. Never letting pitchers get down, when hit hard, because their job is to throw the ball over the plate
  2. Only pitch players, who demonstrate they can throw strikes, and not just those with the strongest arms. This goes along with the pitch to contact philosophy but there is a difference between being able to throw strikes and being afraid to throw them.
  3. Encourage pitchers to “go after hitters,” but instead of saying, “pitch to contact” use “Make your pitch,” the words of choice.
  4. Teach pitchers to get ahead in the count so then they can work the edges of the strike zone more, which leads to contact, more outs and a better pitching mentality than laying the ball in there.
  5. Teach changeups and/or simply taking off speed from their normal fastball, so pitchers have different speeds to help get hitters out.

Finally, pitching to contact is important but there is more to it than implying pitchers should just let guys hit the ball.

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