Six Tips For Pitch Control

The following article from may be of some interest to coaches looking to improve their knowledge of pitching…

  1. Spot Every Warm-Up Throw

    Always, always throw to spots during warmups. This practice concentration before the game will make it easier to locate your strikes when you need them. [See a detailed article on the bullpen coach for more on the warm-up routine.]

  2. One-Dimensional Warm-Up

    Get the catcher to line up on the opposite edge of the plate to your throwing arm – i.e., if you’re right-handed, then the outside edge for a right-hand batter. You’ll establish control by concentrating on only one dimension of the plate (the width). [We have found great success by working over a practice plate that has side targets added to it.]

  3. Stay Back

    Imagine if you split your body in half – straight down the middle, back to front. Slow the front side down. Don’t let the body move forward until arm and body have had time to load up. [Yes, there are those who would disagree with this. All such advice must be adjusted to the tendancies – good or bad – of the pitcher: correct only what needs correcting.]

  4. Hit the Mitt

    Don’t watch the flight of the ball – watch it hit the mitt. Find a small target in the center of the catcher’s mitt and throw through the mitt not to the mitt. [We also often suggest that the target be a knee cap or a shoulder pad, not always the mitt. On many fastballs you want to hit a spot over the plate so will need to find a target that gets you there. On breaking pitches you have to allow for the bend – a good catcher will understand that there are 2 targets on a breaking pitch and give you the right one, but with a less expereinced target you may have to re-aim on your own.]

  5. Ask for a Steady Mitt

    Coaches often overlook the catcher’s influence on a pitcher’s control. Catchers may have been taught to relax (drop) the hand during delivery (for a fluid, soft catch). But it’s easier to concentrate on a stable target than a moving or disappearing target. Ask your catcher to help your concentration by holding still. [The pitching coach may need to arbitrate if both players want only what’s best for them.]

  6. Toe the Rubber

    When you’re throwing well with good control, toe the rubber – stay in your rhythm to start the next pitch. But when you’re out of sync, step off and take a breather. Remember you control the tempo – take advantage of that. If you throw strikes in a steady rhythm, your fielders will stay alert and consequently they’ll make more plays for you.

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