Tagged: General Pitching

The Best Pitching Coach

Every pitcher is always looking for the best pitching coach.  The coach who will help him take the next step; the coach who knows him inside and out; the coach who is always right there to give him the next adjustment to make.  Well, I’ve found that coach.  Your best pitching coach is……….YOU.  Ouch, that is not what you wanted to hear.

As I’ve taught many clients throughout the years, there is one crazy baseball rule I’ve had to reiterate a number of times:  I’m not allowed to stand next to your son while he pitches in a baseball game.  I know, these crazy modern rules.  So we spend the offseason working hard to perfect our mechanics, velocity, location and everything that goes into being a successful pitcher, but at some point, the pitcher needs to take the lessons to the mound…..alone.  Throughout many of our sessions, I’m right in my client’s ear to provide feedback.  Any time he makes a good or bad throw, I can give him reasons why it happened, and hope that he takes in the knowledge.  But since you’re not allowed to have a coach standing right next to you during a game, it’s important to be able to ask these questions and give yourself the answers fairly quickly.  You have to become your own coach on the field.

How can you become your best pitching coach?

  1. Know yourself.  Early in our offseason throwing, I will often make many suggestions/corrections for my pitchers.  As we get closer to the season, I will change a bit from making suggestions to asking for feedback:  What did you feel?  Have you made this mistake before? How do we correct it?  Why didn’t the curveball curve?  Ok, now you make the adjustment.  It’s very important to know your weaknesses and the corresponding adjustments.
  2. Keep your cues simple.  The last thing we want to be doing on the pitcher’s mound is thinking too much about mechanics.  I’ve done this in the past, and it’s not a fun way to pitch.  Pitching needs to be a powerful athletic move, and when our brain gets in the way, we hinder our natural athleticism.  So when it’s time to make an adjustment, know the cues that will get you back on track and keep them short and sweet:  “Throw downhill,”  “stay closed,”  “follow through.”  You only have about 10-20 seconds between pitches, so it’s important to diagnose and quickly correct any mistakes from the previous pitch.
  3. Make your adjustments quickly.  You can’t wait to throw 8 balls in a row before you make an adjustment.  If you’re diligent about #1 and #2 above, then#3 should come easily.  Recognize your mistakes, use your cues to get back on track, and do it immediately.  Do not wait.

Become your own best coach today!

Have any questions or comments about pitching?  Looking for pitching instruction?  Feel free to email Steve at swpalazzolo@gmail.com.

How often do you think Greg Maddux had to coach himself between 1986 and 2008?

How Do We Get Better at Pitching?

A question I asked myself after my first year of professional baseball.  How in the world can I get better?  For years I felt like I had an idea about hard work, but soon I learned there was a lot more to it.  Don’t get me wrong, I put a lot of work into bettering myself, but I came to the realization that training the right way is just as important as training hard.

  • I definitely didn’t have all the answers (still don’t), but I started to look at pitching in a different way.  What are the things that make me better, and how can I get better at each of them?  I broke it down into 4 key areas:
  1. Mechanics
  2. Strength and Conditioning
  3. Nutrition
  4. Mental Game

Now that I had a general plan, the goals became easier to achieve:  get better at each of these 4 aspects that affect how well I throw a baseball to a catcher’s mitt.  Here’s a quick take on what makes each of these 4 things important, and in later blogs we’ll get into more details:

  1. Mechanics
    1. Creating a powerful delivery
    2. Creating a repeatable delivery
    3. Using your entire body to throw the baseball
      hard, to a spot
  2. Conditioning
    1. Strength and Explosiveness helps throw harder
    2. General conditioning helps recovery
    3. Need to Stay Healthy!
  3. Nutrition
    1. Conditioning is useless without proper nutrition
    2. Better energy when on the mound, always feeling
      like you’re at peak performance
  4. Mental Game
    1. Yogi Berra: “Half of this game is 90%
      mental.”  What?  You know it’s true
    2. Confidence is key
    3. Pitching is about defeating hitters, a strong mental
      approach is vital

These are the 4 main components of what I call the “Pitching Performance Puzzle.”  Start getting better at each piece and the puzzle will begin to take shape!

Have any questions or comments about pitching?  Looking for pitching instruction?  Feel free to email Steve at swpalazzolo@gmail.com.

Throwing a warm up pitch in Fresno