Baseball Pitching Fundamentals

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Baseball Pitching Fundamentals  


 

Baseball Pitching Fundamentals begin with knowing what is important.   

Baseball fans and the media seem to get caught up in a romantic love affair over pitchers who can throw serious heat.   Don’t get me wrong an above average fastball is definitely a benefit; however, of the three main attributes of a good pitch (control, movement, and speed), it ranks a distant third.  

  

In fact, the ordering should go:  

  

1.   Control  

2.   Movement  

3.   Speed 

  

The reason for this is control is by far the most important.   A pitcher who can consistently throw the baseball where he wants to has a far better chance of success over time than a fastball pitcher who is wild.   Then, comes movement.   If your fastball does not have any movement, it makes it a lot easier to hit.   Even the strong arm pitchers who throw in the 90s have trouble in the major leagues if their fastball has no movement on it.   Then, finally after control and movement, does speed really come into play.     

  

My point of this discussion is a good high school pitcher’s focus should be on developing his control and movement.  

 

 

Control 

Control can be improved by practicing your baseball pitching by throwing pitches to the four corners of the strike zone.   If you do not have a catcher available, I would recommend either purchasing a pitching backstop designed to catch your pitches or bring some fluorescent tape and mark off four corners on a fence.   From here, you just need to mark off the appropriate distance and throw into the fence at each of the four fluorescent tape markings.   By practicing your control 3 to 4 times a week, you will develop muscle memory which you can use in games.   In addition, you will develop greater confidence that you can throw the ball where you want it. 

  

Movement 

Then, to practice movement you are somewhat limited.   Movement on the fastball is mainly a natural development.   Generally you are either born with a lot of movement on your fastball or you are not.   Factors that impact this can be the size of your hand, size of your fingers, the grip, and your throwing motion.   However, one of these factors you do have some control over.   This is the grip.   I recommend using a four seam fastball grip rather than a two seam fastball grip.   The reason for this is by using a four seam grip, the ball will be cut down more by wind resistance due to the four seams spinning through the air towards home.   This will result in your movement. 

  

A second aspect of the grip you can tinker with is the space between your index and middle finger.   By separating these fingers you can sometimes create more movement as it will slow down the ball a little or you can bring the fingers closer together.   By applying more pressure on your index finger, you can create a fastball that moves more like a slider.   This is slightly different than a slider pitch because a slider you are actually lining the fingers up against one of the seams.      

  

Finally, it is not a good idea to overly focus on trying to throw a hard fastball every pitch because you can very easily wear out your arm over the course of a season.  It is better to focus on location even if it means taking a few mphs off your fastball. 

  

One of the best pitchers of all time, Greg Maddux, was an excellent pitcher because of his control.   He would purposely sacrifice some of his fastball speed and focus on control.   In fact, there are a large number of excellent pitchers who as the expression goes couldn’t throw hard enough to break glass. 

  

The main takeaway is to recognize that for baseball pitching fundamentals the goal isn’t to try to set off the radar gone every time.   Instead, your goal is to get the batter out and ensure your arm remains strong through out the season.   By keying your training on control and movement early in the season, you ensure that you can still throw hard late in the season and will have something else to challenge batters with than a flat fastball. 

  

*To get information on the various baseball pitching grips, check out baseball pitching grips

 

 

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