Thursday Throwing Tips – Outsmarting the Opposition
Baseball players do not get to the major leagues on talent alone. Major league players use all their years of training to outthink the opposition. Of course, when they get to the major league level, they are playing against others who have done this too, so it is a difficult level to remain at.
Baseball pitchers have to be the most cerebral of all players because they must “outfox” batter after batter, while batters only have to do it when batting three or four times a game. Pitchers learn to use their pitches to set hitters up and get outs by changing speeds and locations. Additionally, professional pitchers, with the help of catchers, coaches and “the book” on hitters,’ analyze batters swing from pitch to pitch to give them clues as to what might work to get the batter out.
Youth baseball pitchers do not get all this help, however those who learn to analyze the opponents swing tendencies have a great chance of getting more outs.
Youth baseball pitchers should learn to notice if batters are:
- Late or early on their fastball – when late inside fastballs are best, when early off speed pitches and outside pitches is the way to go
- Under, over or just missing their fastball – when under high fastballs are best, when over low balls, when just missing and fouling straight back, off speed pitches
- Waiting back on their off speed pitches or lunging at them – when lunging, off speed pitches are best, when waiting back, fastballs with a mixture of all pitches
Of course, a well-placed pitch of any kind puts the pitcher at the advantage and one that pitchers have the most confidence in throwing, but observing batters’ tendencies is part of the pitching, learning process. Having a good memory is also important for pitchers, as it will help them if they remember batters from at-bat to at-bat.