Do you want better pitching mechanics? I surely hope so because developing effective mechanics is absolutely critical to your success as a pitcher.
As some may or may not know, a pitcher’s throwing delivery is considered one of the most complex movements in all of sports.
Pitching experts, scientists, and baseball professionals have spent years trying to understand how certain pitchers are able to throw faster than others. With this research, a set of core pitching mechanics principles have been developed.
This post will explain exactly how to develop excellent pitching mechanics that will give any pitcher their desired velocity results.
I will break down the throwing motion piece by piece, making it understandable to beginners or any pitcher looking to learn more.
This is a very in-depth post with over 3,000 words, so I highly recommend that you read it in sections for better digestion. Make sure you bookmark it so that you’ll be to find it at any point.
Why Are Quality Pitching Mechanics Necessary?
Developing consistent pitching mechanics will enable any pitcher, no matter their size, age, or skill level to:
increase velocity and accuracy
reduce the likelihood of arm injury
be able to pitch deeper into games
have the ability to pitch on three days rest without arm soreness
guarantee a long and prosperous pitching career
If you’re looking to play at the college or professional level, you must develop great pitching mechanics. This post is your first step.
12 Steps to Better Pitching Mechanics
Step 1: The Windup
The purpose of a pitcher’s windup is to build the potential energy and momentum leading up to the delivery. Pitching out of the windup is not completely necessary for producing high pitching velocity.
For some pitchers, throwing out of the stretch is much less complicated and much more comfortable.
Advantages of throwing out of the windup include:
better momentum towards home plate
more velocity potential
Disadvantages of the windup include:
higher level of difficulty
too much additional movement
could cause some pitchers to think too much
Step 2: The Starting Position
The first step to the starting position is to decide where you are most comfortable standing on the pitcher’s rubber.
There is no formula to which side is better.
Typically right-handed pitchers will stand on the far left side of the rubber, while left-handed pitchers will stand on far-right side. Sometimes both left and right-handed pitchers will stand opposite of the aforementioned positions. The purpose of this position is to become more deceptive to the batter.
For example, a right-handed pitcher who throws from the furthest right portion of the rubber will appear to be throwing behind the hitter’s back.
Making a decision on where you would like to stand is purely preferential, and pitchers should make a decision based on whatever feels the most comfortable.
Your beginning stance should be loose, athletic, and upright.
The most important part of your windup is for you to stand up on that mound with exuberayting confidence! Once you decide what side of the rubber is most comfortable, you will then need to figure out what position you would to like to have your hands in.
Some pitchers prefer to have their throwing hand inside the glove, while others prefer to have it outside. YOU decide. Now that you are confidently positioned on the rubber, you will then need to perform the next step of your pitching mechanics.
If you’re debating whether you should primarily use the windup or the stretch, then I recommend you read our in-depth article explaining the advantages and disadvantages of both motions.
Step 3: The First Step
The first step towards building momentum to the plate is to either take a small step to the side, or behind the rubber. Stepping behind the rubber is a old-fashioned approach that used by pitchers until around the early 1990s.
Flame-throwing pitcher Nolan Ryan was well known for his “rocker-step” behind the rubber. Like many other old-time pitchers, Ryan also incorporated the double-hand swing over the head.
These two pitching mechanics techniques have been phased out in today’s baseball. The new method is for pitchers to simply take a small step to the side of the rubber, usually rocking the hands anywhere between the chest and waist.
This new technique was popularized because it eliminates any unnecessary movement in the pitching mechanics. A good example of this approach is seen in Tim Lincecum’s pitching mechanics.
I recommend using this technique because it allows pitchers an easier transition into the leg lift.
Step 4: Throwing out of the Stretch
It is important for every pitcher to understand how to properly pitch out of the stretch. Despite your level of skill, every single pitcher will be forced to throw out of the stretch once you reach the high school level.
The purpose of the stretch is to prevent runners from stealing and advancing to the next base. Pitchers are usually concerned about a decrease in velocity when throwing out of the stretch. This is a common misconception.
Many current professional pitchers have completely eliminated throwing out of the windup, and strictly stick to throwing out of the stretch. The majority of these pitchers however, are usually in relief position. Most MLB starting pitchers still rely on using the windup.
Either way, it’s important you spend an equal amount of practice time throwing out the stretch as you do out of the windup. It is important to note that some form of a leg lift should be utilized in both the windup and stretch.
Slide steps put additional stress on the throwing arm because it is difficult to utilize your entire body properly. And plus, slide steps are detrimental for pitching velocity.
Most pitching experts would agree that slide steps are dangerous, and pitchers should use some type of leg lift even in the stretch. Preferably, you would use a pinch instead of a full leg lift.
Step 5: The Leg Lift
At this point of a pitcher’s delivery, it doesn’t matter whether you are throwing from the stretch or from the windup because each technique requires a leg lift. A pitcher’s leg lift is one of the most important stages of the pitching delivery.
Without an effective leg lift, a pitcher will struggle to achieve proper pitching mechanics. It is vitally important that pitchers develop a consistent leg lift because it sets the tone for the rest of the delivery.
The most important reason to have an effective leg lift is generate momentum and acceleration towards home plate. The leg lift will lead you into your pitching stride and eventually into your foot strike. Secondly, a good leg lift will help you develop a rhythm in your pitching mechanics.
If you examine any MLB pitcher, you will notice that they always have very good timing and rhythm. A consistent leg lift is what allows them to maintain their exceptional rhythm towards home plate.
Throughout pitching history, pitchers have utilized an array of unique leg lifts. Sandy Koufax was an excellent example of how pitchers in the past used to perform their leg lifts. Back then, it was considered to be more like a leg kick, than a leg lift.
This old-school method has been replaced by a more concise and effective version. While there is currently many pitchers who utilize an uncharacteristic leg kick, most utilize a simple and precise leg lift.
Step 6: Best Height for the Leg Lift
There is a lot of debate about the actual height of a pitchers leg lift. The height of a pitchers leg lift really depends on their type of pitching motion and arm slot.
For example, a sidearm pitcher would most likely avoid using a high leg kick because it would severely alter the pitching mechanics. On the other hand, pitchers who throw over the top will most likely utilize a higher leg lift, which will allow them to throw a downhill plane.
Some pitching instructors believe the leg lift should not exceed the waist level. They will contend that if a pitcher’s leg lift exceeds past waist height, then it will force the pitcher to slightly lean backwards. This is definitely an accurate argument, but it is not true in many instances.
Some of greatest and fastest throwing pitchers of all time have used very high and uncharacteristic leg lifts.
Step 7: Leg Lift Mechanics
Follow these steps to ensure a successful transition into the remaining portion of your pitching mechanics.
Lift your leg up at an angle
Do not lift your leg straight up because it will not allow you to achieve proper hip rotation at foot strike
Keep your foot relaxed and aimed towards the ground
Avoid pointing your foot in the air
If you throw over the top, lift your leg to at least waist height
Keep your hips close with your glove side back pocket aim at the target
Try not to rotate your shoulders
Your stride leg should be slightly bent, making it easier to stride into foot strike
The majority of the your weight should be on the ball of your foot
At the top of the leg lift, your head and eyes should be locked in on the target
A proper leg lift is essential to the rest of your delivery, and you must develop consistency with it. Develop a leg lift that is comfortable for you, and avoid trying to mimic other pitchers.
Create your own unique pitching personality!
Step 8: The Balance Point
At the peak of your leg lift your body will be at what is traditional referred to as a “balance point.”
Some coaches emphasize the importance of maintaining a proper balance point in your mechanics. In order to find that balance point, the instructor will probably have the pitcher pause at the peak of his leg lift.
Making a pitcher do so can be detrimental to his pitching mechanics, and velocity potential. Pausing at the peak of the leg lift decreases velocity potential because it does not help the pitcher gain momentum and speed towards home plate.
As well documented, a pitcher’s stride speed and momentum towards home is what generates high velocity. This is evident if you examine any hard throwing pitcher in the MLB.
Every single one is moving forward at the peak of the their leg lift. They are always leading with the hip towards home plate. By doing so, this enables professional pitchers to produce excellent stride speed, stride length, and velocity.
By stopping at the top of the leg lift, it becomes extremely difficult to generate stride speed. I agree that a pitcher must be balanced, but they must be balanced throughout their entire delivery, not just the “balance point”.
To conclude, you should never be perpendicular at any stage of your pitching mechanics.
Step 9: The Stride
A pitcher’s stride is what separates flame throwers from average velocity pitchers. Pitchers with excellent strides have a greater potential for pitching velocity. The most important aspect of the stride is generating speed and length towards home.
Stride speed and length are two of the biggest contributors to velocity.
The typical stride length for most pitchers is around 75 to 85 percent. However, pitchers who are able to reach or exceed stride length that is 100 percent of their height, will typically be in high velocity club.
A pitcher’s stride is what separates flame throwers from average velocity pitchers.
The most important aspect of the stride is generating speed and length towards home.
Stride speed and length are predominately responsible for generating velocity. The typical stride length for most pitchers is around 75 to 85 percent. However, pitchers who are able to reach or exceed stride length that is 100 percent of their height, will typically be in high velocity club.
An extreme example of extraordinary stride length is Tim Lincecum. Lincecum’s stride length has been measured around 129 percent of his height. Since his listed height is around 5’11”, Lincecum’s stride length is about 7 1/2 feet.
Lincecum is able to generate incredible stride length because of his ability to accelerate his body towards home plate. Before a any pitcher goes into a complete striding motion, several things must be focused on in the pitching delivery:
1. Your weight and momentum should already be shifting towards home.
The momentum shift should already be occurring at the peak of the leg lift as previously discussed.
2. The drive leg should be slightly collapsed.
This is a very important step, and must be refined in order to generate velocity.
The drive leg should already be slightly bent at the peak of the leg lift because it makes it much easier to drive with the lead hip. The collapse of the back leg should continue during the entire stride phase.
However, the knee should only collapse to the point that it continues to stay above the drive foot.
According to Dick Mills, author and owner of Pitching.com, if the knee of drive leg exceeds the drive foot, then pitchers will decrease velocity. Mills associates over-collapsing the back knee as a reason why Mets’ pitcher Chris Young can only reach 86 mph at height of 6’10”.
Collapsing the drive leg too far decreases the amount of potential stride speed, and makes it difficult for a pitcher to move directly towards home plate. Don’t do it! And if you are, make it a priority to fix it during the off-season.
3. The lift leg is descending down and out towards home.
This is very important step in the pitching mechanics because some pitchers have a tendency to bring their lift leg out and around in an attempt to increase stride length. The lift leg should never reach out to the plate.
Pitchers must focus on driving the stride leg directly down and out.
If this is performed correctly, the pitcher will be able to generate stride speed, good direction, and a better transition into the breaking of the hands.
4. The hands should begin to break.
At this stage, the pitcher should take the ball out of the glove with the fingers on top and thumb underneath, then swing the hand down, then back, and up to the loaded position. Many pitching instructors teach their students to show the ball to second base or center field in the cocked position.
This view has existed for decades, but according to popular pitching mechanics expert Chris O’Leary, these same instructors lack the proper understanding of what a pitcher’s arm actually does during the throwing motion.
In fact, he argues that a majority of professional pitchers do not utilize this technique, and the pitchers who do, increase their chances of elbow injury due to pronation. Most MLB pitchers will show the ball towards third or first base because it eliminates additional strain on the elbow, and every aspiring pitcher should do the same.
During both the striding and breaking of the hands phase, pitchers absolutely must stay closed with the upper and lower body. This closed position must remain until the subsequent foot strike.
Step 10: Foot Strike
Once a pitcher has reached his maximum stride length, his lead foot will forcefully strike the ground.
The foot strike is what transfers the kinetic energy through the legs, into the hips and core, through the upper body, and into the arm whip. This transfer of energy is what enables pitchers to have arm speed.
Pitchers who are able to transfer more energy, are obviously the ones who will throw harder. So how do we transfer more energy? Here are some things to ponder regarding the foot strike:
1. What is the position of the landing foot? Closed, straight, or open?
It is best to have the landing foot slightly closed off at foot strike. Landing with an open foot will open the hips too early, and will leak potential velocity.
Keeping the foot slightly closed off will force the hips to stay closed longer. When I say slightly, I am referring to a very minuscule closure of the foot! Make sure your foot is not completely closed off or aimed towards third base at foot strike.
2. Should the hips and shoulders move simultaneously at foot strike?
This is one of the most important aspects of developing pitching velocity! Hip to shoulder separation is what allows pitchers to throw at 90 + mph speeds. The key is to have your hips separated and open before your upper begins to rotate.
As you can see in the image of Aroldis Chapman, he has almost perfect hip to shoulder separation. Chapman’s hips are already open and driving towards home, while his upper body is still in a coiled position ready to explode.
This millisecond of movement between your lower and upper half is responsible for 80 percent of pitching velocity according to the National Pitching Association.
This separation coils the upper body resulting in a violent (a good violent) torquing motion that sends the throwing arm into external rotation. Pitchers must focus on developing excellent hip to shoulder separation because this is by far the most important aspect of the pitching mechanics.
Baseball pitchers who throw average velocity are not achieving proper hip to shoulder separation.
Typically, these pitchers are rotating their hips and upper body simultaneously at front foot strike. This mechanical flaw basically disables the potential power of your core, and makes is very difficult to obtain proper external rotation of the throwing arm.
Just by simply achieving a good level of hip to shoulder separation, a pitcher can easily see a 3-4 mph increase in their velocity.
Step 11: The Release Point & Follow Through
Once the upper body has forcefully rotated, the pitching arm will be launched into external rotation.
From external rotation, the throwing arm will rapidly transition into internal rotation, and the ball will subsequently be released. At this stage, the head and chest should be out over the plant foot in a direct line towards home.
Make sure that you aren’t pulling to the glove side.
Once the ball is released, the arm and body will enter a deceleration phase.
The front leg should no longer be bent, and the upper body should be completely bent over the plant leg.
Your momentum should start towards home, and it should end with the same direction to home. Avoid falling off to left or right of home plate.
Try to stay in a direct line during your entire pitching delivery.
Take a look at the picture of Cliff Lee, and you can see that his lead leg is stiff, his front foot is slightly closed but not excessive, his back is flat, and his upper body is bent over his knee.
Lee’s follow through is picture perfect, and every pitcher should strive to achieve something similar.
Step 12: Use a Camera
There are no instructors, even the most experienced ones, that can eye ball the distinct characteristics of a pitchers throwing motion.
The only way to effectively improve pitching mechanics is through video recording so that you can slow down their motion frame-by-frame. I highly recommend aspiring pitchers, parents, and coaches to utilize the camera.
I may or may not have answered your mechanics concerns within this article, but I know it has laid down a foundation for developing proper pitching mechanics.
Developing proper mechanics is absolutely essential to increasing your pitching velocity. Unfortunately, what I wrote above is only scratching the surface! If you’re looking for a complete routine and are serious about increasing your velocity before next season, then I recommend 3X Pitching Velocity by Brent Pourciau.
Understanding all pitching grips is the most essential element to becoming a successful pitcher.
Your grip for each pitch can determine how fast you throw, and how much movement your ball is going to have. And as we all know, velocity along with movement on your pitches, is the ultimate formula to pitching success.
There are literally hundreds of different variations of baseball pitching grips, and hundreds of different ways to throw specific pitches.
Some pitching grips are far superior over the others, and it’s important to understand which grips will be the most beneficial for getting batters out, and which grips will promote arm health.
Your Guide to Pitching Grips
How to Throw a Four Seam Fastball – The four-seam fastball is the most commonly used pitching grip in baseball. This is because of its simplicity, accuracy, and velocity potential, which is far superior over other grips.
You will simply place your index and middle fingers across the horseshoe portion of the seams.
Hold this pitch very lightly, similar to an egg
Keep your wrist and arm motion very loose
The four-seam is the simplest pitch to throw, but is the most effective when thrown correctly. Your goal with this pitch should be to generate backspin on the ball, and obtain natural movement.
Both can be achieved by utilizing the steps above.
How to Throw a Two-Seam Fastball – The two-seam fastball is the second most popular pitching grip. While the two-seamer is typically 3-4 mph slower than the four-seam, it has much more movement potential.
When thrown correctly, the two-seam will tail into a right-handed batter, and away from a left-handed batter if you throw from the right side.
Gripped opposite of the four-seam
Place your index and middle fingers on top of the seams
Apply index finger pressure
Or put your fingers together in-between the seams
Both the pressure and closed finger techniques will allow you to see nasty two-seam movement.
How to Throw a Cut Fastball – The cut fastball has become one of the most popular grips in baseball because of Mariano Rivera’s incredible success.
Although many pitchers are interested in the cutter, it is the most difficult fastball grip to learn.
Index and middle fingers across the seams
But grip the outer half of the ball
In order to achieve, the cutting movement, you will apply middle finger pressure to the ball. There is no wrist pronation (turning of the wrist) with the cut fastball.
The movement from a cutter is the result of the grip alone.
How to Throw a Changeup – Besides your fastball, the changeup is the second most important pitching grip you need to learn.
In order to be successful at the college or even pro level, you must be able to throw a changeup with consistency.
This pitch takes an incredible amount of practice, but once you master it, hitters will start to look foolish.
There are several variations of a changeup grip including the circle, vulcan, three-finger, and the palmball. The circle change is the most popular, and it is arguably the most effective one.
In the picture above, you will notice a circle changeup grip. My middle and ring fingers are on top of the seams like a two-seam fastball.
I primarily threw a two-seam fastball, so I also threw a two-seam circle change. If you rely on a four-seam, then simply place your middle and ring fingers across the seams. This is a very important strategy because your changeup will have the same spin as your fastball except it will hopefully be 6-8 mph slower.
How to Throw a Curveball – The curveball is the most popular off-speed pitching grip in baseball, and for good reason. Always focus on developing your fastball and changeup before trying to throw a curveball.
There are three popular curveball grips including the beginners, knuckle or spike curve, and the straight curve. In the picture above, you can see a straight curve grip. This is the best grip for beginners, and is the easiest to control.
Grip the outer seam with your middle and index fingers together
How to Throw a Slider – If you’re having difficulty throwing a curveball, a slider may be a great alternative.
Hitters often times have a much more difficult time hitting a slider because it has sharper break, and is typically thrown much faster. The only real difference between a slider and curveball is the wrist action. Unlike a curveball, a slider does not have movement because of wrist supination.
Slider movement is the result of the baseball rolling off your middle finger and thumb. To achieve the greatest amount of movement you should apply middle finger pressure.
How to Throw a Forkball – Throwing a forkball should not be your first option for off-speed. However, if you’re having a difficult time seeing a reduction of velocity with your changeup, then a forkball might be a good option.
Keep in mind, a forkball can put a considerate amount of stress on the elbow, so I would definitely advocate learning a changeup as an alternative.
For the forkball, you will simply split your middle and index fingers so that they are rest on the outer portions of the baseball. I have extremely flexible fingers, and I was able to split pretty far. Just be careful with this pitch grip.
Now that you understand how to use the most effective pitching grips, you learn how to throw with proper pitching mechanics.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to throw a curveball that makes batters look silly and sometimes… even fall over.
Before any baseball pitcher decides to start throwing curveballs, he must understand how to grip the pitch correctly. There are several different and unique ways to grip a curveball.
Some popular curveball grips include a beginners curve, a straight curve, a knuckle curve, and a spike curve. This is the first part of a series focusing on the curveballs.
How to Grip a Curveball: 3 Great Ways
Each of these curveball grips are an excellent choice for any developing pitcher. The grips are in order based on the level of difficulty. Personally, I have always had great success with the spike curveball because of how much movement is possible.
You must decide which grip will be the most beneficial and natural to throw for your specific arm angle or throwing motion. Take a look.
How to Grip a Beginners Curveball
The beginners curve is designed for baseball pitchers who are initially learning how to throw the pitch. It is considered the beginners grip because it forces the pitcher to throw the pitch with the correct motion. Let’s take a look at how to grip this type of curveball, and also take a look at some professional pitchers that utilize this grip.
Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright is most popular for utilizing the beginners curveball grip. As you can see from the photo, you grip this pitch with your middle finger placed on the curve of the seam, and your index finger pointed in the air. For every curveball grip, your thumb will always be placed on the opposite bottom seam of the ball. The ball should be gripped very lightly, and it shouldn’t be tucked deep in the hand.
The beginners curve can be gripped on any part of the seams, and each pitcher must decide what is most comfortable. One of the biggest issues with this grip is the possibility that good hitters can pick up on the lifted finger.
If you’re a pitcher that doesn’t hide the ball very well, then it could be dangerous to use this pitch past high school. However, if you have a nasty beginners curve like Adam Wainwright, then you could continue to use this pitch even if you make it to the major leagues.
Not interested in the beginners curve? Then you might be interested in the straight curve grip.
How to Grip a Straight Curveball
The straight curve is the most popular grip among baseball pitchers. The only difference between the beginners and straight curve is the finger placement. With the straight curve, both fingers will grip the seams.
Both your index and middle finger will straddle the outer seam of the baseball. As you can see in the image of former Royals pitcher Zack Greinke, he is using the traditional straight curve grip. Greinke’s thumb placement is in a unique position, but in most circumstances, it is best to place the thumb of the opposite seam.
Many professional and college pitchers utilize the straight curveball because of its simplicity. One of the biggest issues with this grip is that pitchers have a tendency to choke the ball too tightly. Doing this will make this pitch have less break and will be difficult to control.
The best methods for gripping a curveball is to always hold it lightly, and do not choke the ball too deep in the hand. Pitchers who are unsuccessful with the traditional straight curve, can try the knuckle grip.
How to Grip a Knuckle or Spike Curveball
The knuckle curve is considered a more advanced pitching grip, but it has some great movement potential. This grip is a great alternative to the others because it is known for having some the hardest breaking movement.
Former Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett is popular for gripping a knuckle curve.
As you can see in the picture, Burnett’s middle finger rest on the outer seam just like the previous two grips, except his index finger nail is pressed into the back seam like a knuckleball.
Depending on preference, pitchers can dig their index finger into the seam or they can bend the index finger so that the front knuckle is rested on the ball. Either way you will undoubtedly see some excellent breaking movement if you utilize the spike curveball grip.
Now that you understand how to grip a curveball, it’s time for you to learn the motion of actually throwing one.
While the curveball grip is a very important, correctly throwing the curveball is what truly matters.
The best curveball pitchers will throw this pitch frequently, and with great consistency. Knowing how to throw a curveball correctly is what separates average from elite pitchers, and healthy from injured pitchers. Follow the subsequent steps to avoid any negative results of throwing this pitch!
How to Throw a Curveball Step-by-Step
Step 1: Acquire your preferred grip.
Step 2: Make sure your grip and wrist are relaxed and loose.
Step 3: Begin your pitching mechanics.
Step 4: Typically, it is best to decrease your stride length to a point slightly less than your fastball stride.
Step 5: Once you reach foot strike and the loaded position, you want to make sure that your elbow is equal to or above your shoulder.
Step 6: During the arm acceleration to the plate your arm and hand should still be in a fastball position.
Step 7: Think fastball for as long as possible.
Step 8: Begin to turn your wrist similar to how you would throw a football.
Step 9: Snap your wrist and arm downward, letting the ball tumble out of your hand off of your middle finger if you’re using a beginners or knuckle curve. If you’re using the a straight curve grip, then the ball will roll of your index finger. This motion will create backspin, and the harder you snap, the more the curveball will break.
Step 10: Your elbow should be at your belt buckle at the follow through position, and your back should be flat over your landing leg.
Things to Avoid When Throwing a Curveball
Do not drop your elbow into an arm slot that is different than your fastball.
Do not overly rotate your wrist.
Do not let your fingers rotate under the ball. The fingers should always be on top of the baseball. If the fingers rotate under, it will force you to cast the ball instead of snapping it.
Do not slow your arm down when throwing the pitch. Your arm speed should be exactly the same as your fastball. The grip and your mechanics will naturally slow down the ball so that you don’t need to slow down your arm speed.
Do not throw a curveball high in the strikezone.
Do not hang your curveball! Hanging curveballs are the result of improper throwing mechanics.
Follow all of these steps and you will absolutely destroy your competition and have everyone saying how “nasty” your curveball is (the ultimate compliment for a pitcher).
“High performance training to look, feel, and move better.” – That’s Eric Cressey’s promise for the Show and Go Training program.
If you’re a baseball player, coach, or parent and don’t know who Eric Cressey is, then you have been living under a rock!
Cressey is the author of Show and Go Training, which is considered one of the best strength and conditioning programs on the market. This program has become a favorite among baseball players, fitness enthusiasts, and people looking to transform their body.
But who is Eric Cressey?
Who is Eric Cressey, and Why Should You Trust Him?
If there’s any athletic trainer who you should trust, it should be Eric Cressey. Cressey is currently the president and co-founder of the popular Cressey Performance, author of Show and Go, a Certified Strength Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and has a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Conneticut.
Still not convinced of his qualifications? Cressey has also authored over 400 published articles, five books, and also co-created four DVD sets which have sold in 60 countries around the world.
But you’re probably wondering… what does this have ANYTHING to do with baseball? Patience my friend. Cressey is critically acclaimed for his extensive work with baseball players. In fact, over 70 professional baseball players visit him during the off-season for training.
Okay I’m sure you get the point…Eric Cressey is the definition of legit.
Now, I want to discuss his masterpiece, Show and Go Training.
Show and Go Training: What’s the Goal?
Cressey’s program is designed help anyone looking to increase strength, performance, lean muscle mass, and overall athleticism. But how does Show and Go help you achieve these results?
Cressey uses the exact Four Phase System he uses with his personal clients at the Cressey Performance facility. These clients pay him top dollar to be trained, but you can receive all this quality training in the Show and Go Training program.
“There are plenty of programs out there offering variety. Unfortunately, few of them offer genuine results to match the various exercises they prescribe. What impresses me most about Eric’s program is that he manages to improve the quality of the body as a whole by using exercises that not only work but are also stimulating and enjoyable to do. I improved my three rep max on the deadlift by 110 pounds in four months – 425 to…”Read the full review by Show and Go user Brad Josse
The program relies on exercises that actually build power, strength, and most importantly, solid muscle. As you should should know, muscle is the ultimate defense against fat. Cressey utilizes compound exercises such as deadlifts, bench presses, and squats. These exercises are key to building full-body strength, and producing legitimate long-term results.
How Will Show and Go Improve Your Pitching?
The program focuses on exercises that will improve explosiveness, power, and strength. Each of these components are essential for pitching velocity. The more explosive you are off the mound, the faster you will throw.
If you’re current strength training routine isn’t producing the results you’re looking for, then you need to consider investing this excellent program.
For baseball players and pitchers, I wouldn’t recommend any other strength training program. Yeah… It’s THAT good.
It’s always important that I explain the pros and cons of any program I recommend on this website. Take a look.
Don’t expect some ridiculous “get ripped in 1 week” approach.
The program takes dedication and hard work (this is a con to some lazy people).
You won’t see results unless you stay committed.
The price tag isn’t cheap, but you must realize what you’re getting with a one-time payment. (Some personal trainers charge over $100 for a single one-hour session)
You will not only increase strength, but also athleticism.
For pitchers, your improved athleticism and explosiveness will translate into increased velocity.
Your body will look muscular, but lean at the same time.
You will receive a ridiculous amount of free materials
If you don’t like the program, you can simply get your money back within 60 days.
Show and Go Training is the best resource for improving your body and your performance out on the field. It’s time to stop wasting your effort with routines that simply do not work.
If you’re ready to take your training seriously, and start seeing the results you deserve then click here now.
Ever wondered if your cardio training for baseball is actually working? Are you using the right exercises, and are they helping you improve your game? If not, you’re headed in the wrong direction. Don’t trip, there are a ton of other baseball players just like you.
It’s not your fault, but it’s probably your misguided coach’s fault. Well don’t worry, I’m going explain everything you need to know about cardio training for baseball, and how to can use these techniques to seriously improve your athleticism.
Basics of Baseball Cardio Training
The first thing you need to do is erase your memory of any techniques you can been taught in the past. Okay, let’s get started. First, you must understand that all movements in baseball are EXPLOSIVE, and therefore are fueled by the anaerobic energy system.
That’s right… there is NO aerobic component in the game of baseball. You might not want to hear this because you have probably spent countless hour running pointless poles and long distance. I’m truly sorry, but it’s time to do away with these outdated techniques.
EVERY cardio training workout you will use for on will be anaerobic and it will be baseball-specific. Below, I’m going to explain several exercises you can start using to really see the results you want.
Sprints are the best way to train the anaerobic system, increase explosiveness, and mimic the movements involved within baseball. In addition, sprints will also increase lean muscle mass in the quads, glutes, and core. There are several variations of the sprint that you can use such as traditional sprints, interval sprints, and hill sprints.
If you’re just starting out I recommend starting out with the traditional sprint. Once you build up a solid foundation, you can start incorporating interval sprints. But to see really crazy results, you should try hill sprints.
The traditional sprint is performed on flat ground at distances at or less than 60 yards. Never sprint further than 60 yards because it will decrease the intensity level, your running form, and could force your body into an aerobic state.
Here is sample sprint routine you can use:
4 sprints at 60 yards with 60 seconds of rest
4 sprints at 40 yards with 45 seconds of rest
4 sprints at 20 yards with 30 seconds of rest
Interval training is an excellent cardio training technique for baseball because it resembles the stop-and-go motion of hitting, pitching, tracking down a fly ball, or sprinting to first. There are a few ways to perform intervals effectively such as Indian runs or track intervals.
For Indian runs, you will line-up with about 8-10 teammates and begin jogging. The person in the back will sprint to the front, and this will continue for about 20 minutes. This exercise is only as challenging as you make it.
For track intervals, simply jog the straight portion of the track, and sprint the curved sections. Perform about 4-6 laps depending on your level of cardiovascular development.
Believe it or not, bodyweight circuits are actually a great way to improve anaerobic endurance, increase lean muscle and strength, and decrease fat. Simply combine about 4-6 different exercises and perform each consecutively without any rest. Once you finish all the exercises, take about a 90 second rest and repeat. Perform each circuit all the way through about 3-4 times. These are very challenging, but can be a great way to get a quick workout in.
I have continuously preached about the benefits of using plyometrics for both strength and cardio training. That’s because they are amazing, and I have personally seen the results. I know you will too. Because these exercises are incredibly explosive and leave little room for rest, it makes them a great anaerobic training exercise.
And as I mentioned in 8 Reasons Why Every Pitcher Should Use Plyometrics, plyos are great way to strengthen fast twitch muscle fibers, which will help you be more explosive. This means more hitting power, increased pitching velocity, and quicker times down to first.
Agility training is a great way to target the anaerobic energy system and increase non-linear quickness. Some of the best techniques are ladder drills, cone drills, and hurdles. These exercises will strengthen fast twitch muscle fibers, which will help your explosiveness.
There are countless baseball cardio training exercises you can use to significantly improve your game. Do not resort to illogical aerobic training. If your coaches ask you to run poles, then kindly ask them if you can run interval poles instead! Keep your cardio specific to the movements within the sport. Good luck!
Every pitcher must understand that the back leg drive is one of the most essential components of great pitching mechanics and for producing above average velocity.
In many low velocity pitchers, there is usually inadequate back leg drive. There are many factors that are responsible for pitching velocity, and by simply corrected your drive leg motion, you can add at least 2-3 mph on your pitches.
I’m going to explain step-by-step how to improve your back leg drive, and to start seeing greater velocity starting today.
1. It all begins with the “balance point”
I have discussed the many problems with the traditional balance point countless times, and Brent Pourciau from 3X Pitching Velocity agrees.
The traditional balance point is a velocity killer, and it can actually inhibit your ability to achieve proper back leg drive.
The traditional balance point puts a pitcher in a perpendicular position, which leads to ineffective weight shift, and subsequently weak back leg drive.
In order to achieve your desired back leg drive, you must first correct your balance point position. At the peak of your leg lift, your weight should already be shifted towards home, and your drive knee should be inside the drive hip. This position will lead to optimal rear leg drive and stride speed.
2. You need to correct any leg lift faults
Some people don’t take the leg lift into account, but it can really affect your ability to generate rear leg drive and stride speed. The most common mechanical fault with the leg lift is bringing the leg out and around into the stride.
This tendency can lead to early hip rotation, and will force you to lose power from the drive leg.
You must focus on dropping the lift leg and foot directly down towards the ground and out into your stride. This will increase the fluidity of your motion, and is very important for achieving proper drive off the back leg.
3. Avoid over-collapsing the drive knee
This is the most important step to seeing velocity increases from your back leg drive. The most common mechanical fault is when a pitcher collapses the drive knee past the drive foot.
I’m sure you have heard many pitching instructors toss out this line: you must “drop and drive”… And they are right, pitchers should drop and drive, but not to the extent that most do.
The key to the “drop and drive” is to DRIVE TOWARDS HOME.
When a pitcher over-collapses the drive knee, they are significantly decreasing their power towards home. This tendency leads to an inability to achieve triple extension, and thus will decrease your velocity.
If you achieve proper back leg drive you will increase your stride speed and length, and will stay closed for a longer duration of time. This will lead to an explosive transition into your hip to shoulder separation, which is responsible for about 80 percent of potential pitching velocity.
Focus on shifting your power and weight towards home, instead of leaving it behind at the rubber!
The deadlift is an often neglected exercise in many pitcher strength training routines.
If you aren’t currently utilizing deadlifts, then you are missing out on a great opportunity.
Deadlifts are one of the most effective exercises for increasing full-body strength and power.
Here are some of the misguided fears some pitchers may have about deadlifts:
“I’m going to hurt my back…”
“Pitchers aren’t suppose to lift heavy…”
“I’m going to bulk up, and then throw slower!”
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. If you believe this nonsense then you need to avoid the person who is feeding it to you!
A large portion of pitching velocity is directly generated through the core. Guess what? Deadlifts are one of the most effective exercises for targeting the entire core.
Benefits of Deadlifts
Strengthens the lower half: glutes, hamstrings, hips, and lower back
Strengthens the upper half: upper back and lats
Increased core stability
Forearm and grip strength potential
Targets the anaerobic energy system (specific to pitching)
The deadlift should be incorporated into any pitchers strength training routine who is of appropriate age. Before beginning this great exercise, you must understand some important safety tips and proper form.
How to Deadlift Safely & Avoid Looking Like a Fool
First, I will explain the steps to a proper deadlift and then explain some important mechanical flaws that you must avoid.
Please remember, always practice GOOD FORM over heavy weight, especially on this exercise.
Step 1: You need a barbell with the appropriate weight. (if you have never performed deadlifts, practice a few sets with the barbell alone to perfect the form.) Step 2: Position your feet less than shoulder-width apart. Step 3: Grip the barbell at about shoulder-width or further.You can use a double overhand grip, or use the alternate grip: one palm down, one palm up. This is purely preference.
Step 4: The bar should be positioned above the middle of your feet, your knees should be slightly bent, and your back should be straight. Step 5: With your chest out and hips back, pull the weight up close to your body keeping your back straight.
Those are the basic steps of the deadlift, but there are some important mechanical flaws that you must avoid. Using incorrect form on this exercise can lead to unnecessary injury.
So, make sure you have mastered the form before loading the weight on.
Avoid These Deadlifting Mistakes
1. Positioning your weight over the toes – All your weight should be directly on your heels during this entire exercise. 2. Arching the back – Your back should be straight like the demonstration above. If you can’t keep your back straight, then you need to decrease the weight. 3. Leaning back – Once you reach the locked position do not lean back. Instead, lock your glutes and lower back, and then perform the negative portion of the repetition. 4. Not performing the negative – The negative portion of the deadlift is just as important as the initial pull. If you can’t perform the negative, then you should probably decrease the weight. 5. Not breathing – BREATH.
If you’re still not convinced about the deadlift, then my only advice is to actually try it. I can guarantee you will be pleased with your strength and muscular gains.
Explosiveness is critical for producing high pitching velocity.
All pitcher-specific strength training or conditioning should be designed to increase athleticism, explosiveness, and anaerobic endurance.
Yes, there are some pitchers like CC Sabathia who aren’t very athletic… But also keep in mind that such pitchers are very gifted. Most of us do not have the raw talent that a pitcher like Sabathia does.
This is why you must train, and you must train hard. Aside from effective pitching mechanics, I firmly believe athleticism is the second most important aspect to increasing velocity.
Great athleticism means increased explosiveness. And increased explosiveness means more power and drive towards home plate.
But how do you increase athleticism and explosiveness?
4 Steps to Increasing Explosiveness in Pitchers
Below, you will see four techniques you can start using so that you’re throwing at your highest potential velocity by next season.
Step 1: Stop Running Poles
Seriously… STOP running pointless poles and long distance! If you really want to increase athleticism, you need to stay away from aerobic conditioning.
Aerobic exercises provide no benefits for pitching, and can in fact decrease your explosiveness and power. This is because these exercises train slow twitch muscle fibers, which are an explosive athletes worst enemy.
If you need a little proof: I didn’t perform any aerobic conditioning my senior year when I increased my velocity by 7 mph.
Step 2: Start Sprinting
Your alternative to aerobic conditioning is sprint training. You can perform sprints as a warm-up and as a recovery method following a performance.
Sprints will increase your explosiveness, lean muscle mass, and anaerobic conditioning. The stop-and-go motion of sprinting resembles the interval motion of delivering a pitch.
The great thing is that a sprint routine will typically take less than 30 minutes to complete.
Here is a sample traditional sprint routine you can utilize:
5 sprints at 60 yards
5 sprints at 40 yards
5 sprints at 20 yards
Once traditional sprints become easier, you can transition onto interval sprints, hill sprints, or resistance sprints.
Never sprint further than 60 yards.
You shouldn’t sprint more than three or four times a week.
Always use dynamic stretching before.
Step 3: Strengthen Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers
All explosive movements in sports are fueled by the fast twitch muscle fibers. As a pitcher, you must strive to strengthen these fibers in order to increase your explosion off the mound.
The most effective techniques for doing so are to use plyometrics and agility’s. Both methods directly target these fibers and are key to improving your explosive ability.
Plyometric exercises include depth jumps, side-to-side box jumps, vertical explosions, horizontal explosions, and platform jumps.
Agility exercises are typically performed on a ladder, with cones, or with hurdles. These exercises are designed to increase foot speed and non-linear quickness.
Step 4: Increase Strength and Power
The only way to truly increase strength, power, and explosiveness is through weightlifting. Always focus on compound exercises, and exercises that will help increase athleticism.
Some of the most effective weightlifting exercises for pitchers are squats, deadlifts, cleans, lunges, barbell row, dumbbell row, and dumbbell bench to name only a few.
Aside from traditional weightlifting, you can also utilize medicine balls and kettlebells. Such exercise equipment can add a challenging and unique element to your strength training routine.
As a pitcher, you must always structure your strength training and conditioning with the intention of increasing athleticism, and most importantly, explosiveness.
If you’re looking for a complete guide to increasing explosive and athleticism, then check out Eric Cressey’s Show and Go Training.
I am a firm believer that the mental game of pitching is equally, if not more important than the physical aspects. Without mental discipline and focus, it is very difficult to succeed out on the mound.
This series of posts over the next couple weeks will focus on the various mental challenges you may face when pitching. Make sure you subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss any parts.
At some point in the career of a pitcher, you will challenged by distractions.
Distractions can come from many different sources, and appear in many different forms. Such distractions can be detrimental to your preparation, and your success.
Why are distractions detrimental to pitchers?
Can take you off your game plan.
Every pitcher approaches a performance differently, but each has one primary goal: to win. However, knowing you want to win isn’t enough.
You must have a game plan, and it must be executed in order to be successful.
When you’re distracted, you lose sight of your goals, and your overall plan deteriorates. At this point, you’re just going through the motions physically, but mentally you’re in a different setting.
You will lose focus.
Focus is key to your success, but distractions will cause you lose focus. Lost focus results in the inability to throw strikes, and you will be unable to access the muscle memory necessary for proper pitching mechanics.
Can lead to self talk.
Self-talk is the most detrimental mental challenge a pitcher can face. When things aren’t going according to plan, pitchers will usually turn to negative self-talk.
All kinds of thoughts will running through your head when you’re not doing well such as:
[quote style=”1″]“Why can’t I throw a strike?”
“My mechanics don’t feel right.”
“I can’t believe he just made that error.”
Mental negativity and self-talk will lead to a poor performance.
The snowball effect.
As you can see, everything I listed is in a snowball effect process.
Distractions → Takes you off game-plan/goals → Lose focus → Negative thoughts = POOR PERFORMANCE
Do not underestimate the power of distractions and the effect it can have on your performance.
Is there a solution? How can you overcome distractions, and be mentally prepared for to pitch?
How to Overcome Distractions
[quote style=”1″]By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination. – Christopher Columbus[/quote]
1. Start Early
Mental preparation must begin the days prior to your start. Starting your preparation earlier can help you develop mental goals, and give you confidence on game day.
At least two days prior to your start you should visualizing your performance and your goals for that game.
2. Avoid Distracting Situations
It is highly recommended that you avoid circumstances that could serve as distraction prior to any start. This means getting your homework done ahead of schedule so you’re not stressing about it or avoiding a petty argument with your girlfriend.
You must so everything in your power to avoid distracting situations!
3. The Night Before
The night before your start is incredible important for your ability to concentrate on game day.
The key is to avoid activities that could lead to distractions the following day. Don’t go sleep at 3AM or drink all night. Being tired or suffering from a physical challenge can be a huge distraction. If it’s within your control, then you should avoid it the night before.
Secondly, spend time visualizing your performance. Mental preparation is your shield against distractions.
4. Become a Ghost on Game-day
This was a personal favorite technique I used in college. On game day, I would do my very best to avoid people, distracting conversations, or anything that could take my mind of the game and my goals.
The “ghost” technique isn’t for everyone, but if you are easily distracted then you should consider it.
It’s your job as a pitcher and teammate to be fully engaged when your pitching. You must take the necessary steps to avoid distractions, and if you succeed, you will be focused, determined, and goal-oriented on the mound.
Seriously, are you ready to pitch at the collegiate level?
If you’re a high school senior then you better be asking yourself this question.
Have you put in the work? Has your pitching improved? Are you confident?
I’m going to honest, pitching in college isn’t easy. Unless you’re an absolute stud who destined for the MLB, then I can guarantee you will face many challenges as a college pitcher.
The most important parts of these challenges is how you respond, and how you get better.
Before you enter college, you need to ask yourself some honest questions. Your answer to these questions will determine whether or not you’re ready for college baseball.
1. How fast are you throwing?
“Velocity isn’t everything.” I’m sure you have heard this popular quote before, and it is partially true.
It is totally true that a pitcher can get by without having superior velocity. However, velocity can certainly make a pitchers job a whole lot easier.
Low velocity pitchers simply do not have the leeway to make mistakes. They must have pin-point accuracy, and throw some pretty nasty junk pitches. High velocity pitchers on the other hand, can occasionally miss their spots and won’t be hurt too bad.
The point is, every high school pitcher should be actively trying to improve their velocity. In order to have real success as a starting pitcher in college, you will likely need to throw above 80 mph. Yes, there are some exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, 80 + should be a goal for every high school pitcher.
So if you have not reached the 80 mph mark by your senior year, then you may need to reconsider your approach.
2. Can you throw your fastball accurately?
The fastball is the absolute best pitch in baseball. This is why it is so vitally important that every high school pitcher has great consistency and command with their fastball.
Unless you’re a knuckeball pitcher, you probably throw your fastball about 70 percent of the time.
But just having a great fastball is simply not enough at the college level. Even at the D3 level, hitters can still hit a 90 mph if it’s straight and not located correctly.
You must be able to locate on both sides of the plate. No longer can you be afraid to throw inside. Yes, you might be the king of the outside corner of the plate, but college hitters can easily make adjustments and will simply take your pitches to right field.
The ability to locate on both sides of the plate is incredibly important, but you must also be able to keep your fastball low.
General rule of thumb: low pitches are typically always better. A high fastball is acceptable as a strikeout option, but for the most part, work on trying to keep your fastball down around the knees.
It doesn’t matter how hard you throw, if you can’t locate your fastball then you are going to get lit up in college. Perfecting your fastball should be your number one priority!
3. Do you have consistency with a changeup?
I certainly hope that every senior pitcher has been working on and actively throwing a changeup. Sorry to tell you… unless you throw mid-90 chedd, then you will need a changeup to succeed at the college level.
An effective changeup can make your other pitches more effective, keep batters guessing, be used as a set-up pitch, and even be used as a strikeout option.
Like the fastball, you must be able to locate your changeup. These means being able to locate on both sides of the plate, but most importantly, low in the zone.
If you don’t have the confidence to throw your changeup 2-0, then you have some work to do!
And if your changeup isn’t 6-8 mph slower than your fastball, then you have work to do!
Having a good changeup is critical to your success at the collegiate level.
4. Can you throw a third pitch?
The fastball and changeup are undoubtedly the most important pitches you must develop before entering college. However, it’s hard to deny the level of dominance you may have if you develop a third off-speed pitch.
Most college pitchers typically throw about three pitches total. The third pitch may be a curveball, slider, cutter, or even a two-seam fastball.
First of all, if you don’t have consistency with your fastball and changeup don’t even think about adding a third pitch. But when you feel you have reached the necessary confidence level, you should definitely start working on a thrid pitch.
Having another off-speed pitch can really disrupt a hitters timing and approach. As we all know, a breaking pitch is one of the best options for striking batters out.
The same rule applies even with the third pitch in your arsenal: you must be able to throw it with consistency.
Success at the college level is all about consistency.
5. Do you have repeatable mechanics?
Developing consistency as a pitcher is a direct result of repeatable mechanics. Can you display the same exact throwing motion when you’re throwing a changeup or fastball? Or are you tipping off your pitches?
Consistency with your pitching mechanics will not only help you locate your pitches more effectively, it will also make it much more difficult for the hitters to pick up on what you’re throwing.
Like I said before, college hitters are good. It doesn’t take them long to notice if you’re tipping off your pitches in one way or another.
This is why you must focus on repeatable mechanics because it is the key to consistency.
6. How is your arm endurance?
At this stage, you should have at least enough arm endurance to pitch into the 5th inning and above. And just to be clear, throwing through pain isn’t endurance!
True endurance is what you see when Justin Verlander is able to throw 100 mph in the ninth inning.
If you’re a starter, then there is a very good chance that you might have to pitch on three days rest.
Being able to throw with such little rest is only possible through an effective recovery program. If your mechanics are solid and your recovery is effective, then you should be able to pitch on three days rest.
If your arm is sore frequently, then you need to take the necessary steps to fix it. Read Does Your Arm Hurt? Here’s Why & How to Fix It, for some immediate steps you can take to ensure that your arm is ready for the rigors of pitching in college.
7. Do you have a strength training program?
Raw pitching talent can easily get you through high school, but it’s simply not enough for college baseball. Pitchers at the college level are strong and athletic.
This is why it’s essential that you start strength training at least during your senior year.
A proper strength training regime can help you increase velocity, decrease arm soreness, and allow you put on some extra pounds of muscle. Many pitchers don’t take their weight into account when thinking about velocity, but they should.
Eric Cressey has stated many times, that one of the primary reasons why pitchers lose velocity during the course of a season is the result of decreased muscle mass, strength, and weight.
Start good training habits your senior year, and carry those over into college.
8. How are your conditioning habits?
I’m assuming your coaches are telling you to run poles and long distance after you throw? I certainly hope not, but coaches unfortunately are still utilizing this illogical training practice.
Pitching is anaerobic, not aerobic.
Stop using distance running, and start using explosive conditioning techniques such as sprints, hill sprints, interval sprints, plyometrics, agility’s, and even bodyweight exercises.
By changeing your conditioning habits early on, you will be much more successful at the college level. And most importantly, you will avoid conditioning techniques that can actually be described as “anti-training” for a pitcher.
9. Are you actively training your rotator cuff?
It is crucial that you are actively trying to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles leading up to college. Strengthening these small muscles within the shoulder can help prevent possible injury, and could even potentially increase velocity.
These exercises can also help aid with all overall arm endurance, and allow you to throw more frequently.
If currently not utilizing any rotator cuff training techniques, then download our free ebook that will show you several exercises you can start using today.
10. Do you stretch?
I remember in high school when I would do a couple arm circles and just start throwing. Yeah, those were good times.
I can’t understand why high school pitchers are so ruthless with their arms!
You should treat your arm like it’s your most prized possession.
Make sure you are using an effective warm-up routine for not only your arm, but your entire body. You should be using dynamic stretching prior to throwing, and this will likely be the primary form you will use when going into college.
If your college program is using static stretching before throwing, then you might need to reconsider the program.
11. How’s your diet?
Eating In-N-Out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner might not be the best option for your diet going into college. Many pitchers neglect their eating habits, and really don’t think it can have any effect on their game. It can, and it will affect your performance.
You don’t need to transform your entire nutritional habits, but you need to be reasonable. Take care of your body now, and reap the benefits in college.
12. Have you had homeruns hit off you?
Seriously, have you? Maybe you have been completely dominate at the high school level and no hitter has successfully connected on one of your pitches. That’s awesome, but college baseball is a different animal.
The main difference is that a college team may have six out of nine hitters who can hit homeruns in a lineup. As opposed to a high school lineup, that may only have two or three guys who can hit homeruns consistently.
If you’re not giving up homeruns now, then that’s excellent. But don’t be surprised when the nine-hole hitter takes you deep.
That’s college baseball, and you will need to deal with many challenges! Like I mentioned earlier, the only thing that matters is how you respond to adversity. That means making that guy look like a fool every other time he bats off you.
13. Are you overly-confident?
This directly relates to the homerun question. If you have been a successful high school pitcher, then there is a tendency to enter college with a highly-confident attitude.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with confidence and I think it’s essential to success.
But being overly-confident can be detrimental.
An example: you’re pitching in your first game. Things are going great and you have made it through your first two college innings. But then things start to deteriorate: you walk the first batter, the next batter sac bunts and you don’t field it cleanly, you end up hitting the next guy, and then the flood gates open. All of sudden your team is down 5-0 after a couple doubles and a homerun.
If you’re overly-confident, failure and loss may have a much more serious affect on your physique.
Take each loss with a grain of salt, but learn from it.
Be confident with your abilities, but don’t let yourself get down when things didn’t go according to plan. Use it as motivation, and come out on a mission in your next start.
14. Are you a team player?
To me, this is the most important element to being a successful college baseball pitcher. If your teammates don’t have your back, then who does?
If you’re the guy that brags about his success in high school, but isn’t performing in college then you need a reality check. Stop caring so much about your individual performance, and start being a team player.
When you perform poorly, don’t sit on the bench and try make people feel bad for you. Get up on the fence, and cheer your teammates on.
THE GAME ISN’T ABOUT YOU.
Baseball is a team sport, and many pitchers seem to lose sight of this important aspect. Yes, pitchers are in the spotlight, but if your teammates dislike you because of your selfishness, cockiness, or whatever is, you will not be successful in college.
Start being a team player in high school, and I guarantee your college baseball experience will be amazing. One of the best parts about college ball is the cohesiveness that a team acquires throughout a season.
Remember, it’s not just you out on the hill, it’s you and eight other guys that form a solid team.
15. What do you need to change?
Are you already amazing at all of these aspects? GREAT! Then you are officially ready for college baseball, and I wish you the best of luck. But if some of these questions were difficult for you, then you have some work to do.
Keep working hard, and don’t ever give your dreams of playing college baseball because it may be one an unforgettable experience.
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