Sunday, January 1, 2012

How to Be a Successful Pitcher in Baseball

     Hello all, today I wanted to share with you some secrets about being a successful pitcher in Baseball. I will explain everything from Pickoffs to mental game to what pitch to throw. But first, let me introduce myself. I am currently a sophomore in High School. Now, you may think, oh well he's only a sophomore, this guys stupid. I know a lot about pitching and I would like to share these thoughts/tips with you. There will probably be about 3-4 paragraphs in this blog, and I will share as much knowledge as I can.

Part 1: Pitching in General

     Many people think you need to get out on the mound and throw 80+ MPH to be successful. This could not be any more wrong. A perfect example is Tim Wakefield. If you don't know who Tim Wakefield is, he is a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. His main pitch is a Knuckleball, and is the reason for his success. He does have a normal fastball, but it is in the high 70's. Which is about 15-20 MPH lower than the average MLB Pitcher. If you see a Pitcher in High School who can throw 90+, has good offspeed, and can hit his spots on a consistent basis, then that's a guy who will probably end up at a D1 school. But, those are rare to come across. Before I move on to the next topic, I just wanted to get it through your mind that throwing hard does not mean that much, in most situations. Although, it does help if you can have a good velocity fastball with good offspeed.

Part 2: The Mental Game

     In my opinion, the Mental part in baseball & pitching is the most important thing. You have to think, well is the guy on first going to steal? Should I throw a curveball, or is he expecting that?, etc.  

Some rules I like to go by when I am pitching (Mental Wise):

- Don't just go out there and pitch. Make every pitch you can, and think. 

- Don't be scared to throw a pitch. If you can't trust your catcher with blocking a pitch in the dirt, shake it off and throw a fastball. 

- NEVER NEVER NEVER let the umpire control your thought process. If your throwing strikes, and he's not calling it, adjust. Don't get all mad and throw it as hard as you can because your pissed. Respect his decision. It's not as easy as you think to be an umpire. And if you don't react, he will most likely give you one back.

- Change your timing. This means a lot of things. I will try to explain all the possibilites below:

    1. If there's a runner on base, especially first base, don't just go through your stretch the same every time. Change it up, do a slide step one time, the next time lift your leg, but make it quick. A good and quick slide step is why lots of runners get thrown out.

    2. Vary your looks to the bases. When they know they're stealing on the next pitch, they get anxious and start flinching, and if you do 2 looks every time, they know to steal right when you turn your head after your 2nd look.

    3. If you think a runner is stealing, pick off as many times as you want in a row, a local high school who has been State Champions multiple times is notorious for picking over 9-10 times in a row. And when you finally pitch, they will probably think your picking off and they will have a short lead.

Part 3: Pitches

     Many pitchers throw different kinds of pitches. I am almost 16, and I throw 4 pitches:

- Four Seam Fastball
- Two Seam Fastball
- Knuckle-Curve
- Changeup
- Working on a Slider

If you are below 14, I advise you to not throw a curveball, or anything that you twist your arm with. Trust me, it's not worth it. Fastball and Changeup are the way to go when your below 14. Once you are in High School, you should have at least 3 pitches. You need to have a fastball, a Changeup, and a breaking ball (Slider, Curveball, Knuckle-Curve, Slurve, etc.). 

Part 4: Injuries

Currently, i'm sitting at my desk with an ice pack on my arm. I'm injured at the moment and I haven't been able to throw for about 4 weeks now. It will probably be 3 more until i'm completely healed.

Injuries happen to pitchers no matter what. When you haven't had an injury for a while, you start to think you are prone from getting them. Take care of your arm. I got my injury because I didn't throw much over Christmas Break, and the day back from Christmas break I threw a bullpen. Doing that will really "startle" your arm. Ice your arm every time you throw!!!!! Trust me, you may think you don't need to because you only threw a little bit. But icing your arm helps a lot. Also, take ibuprofen about 2 times a week, it helps out a lot. Also, never try to throw as far as you can to impress people. I've done it plenty of times and it's not a good idea. Long toss is good, but long toss that hurts your arm is not. Also, this doesn't just apply to injuries: If your arm is sore, or you are going to pitch that next morning or something, put many blankets on your bed. It sounds weird but keep your arm warm overnight, and it will feel a lot looser the next day. Also, I like to wear sweatshirts because they are very comfortable, but if you are going to pitch a certain day, or you are waiting in the dugout about to go out after your team makes the 3rd out, wear a sweatshirt of some kind. Keeping your arm warm helps keep you away from injury.

Other things:

When your apart of a High School Baseball team, you represent the program with things you do on campus and off campus. Be a responsible student athlete. To be eligible (at my high school) to play, you have to have at least a 2.0 GPA. A 2.0 is ALL C's. If you try and pay attention, A 3.0 GPA is not that hard to maintain. If you guys have other questions, just comment and I will respond.

Also, I have a video to share with you guys. It's a very inspirational baseball video:


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