When wisdom comes around, people had better take notice. Carly's post is excellent. Sluggers.
Pitches get reputations as "gimmicks" when there are a whole bunch of pitchers around who don't throw them well. Sure, a drop curve is a poorly thrown drop if you can't throw either of them right, just like any other movement pitch is just a really terrible slow fastball if you don't throw it right. If you CAN truly command a pitch, it's a different story.
I don't usually teach the drop curve as its own pitch unless I see that it would benefit a pitcher. I had one pitcher whose only two movement pitches were the drop and the drop curve. They were distinctly different and both very nasty. We moved to the drop curve when she couldn't get the regular curve; her hand just didn't want to do anything but turn over hard.
Last edited by sluggers; 02-06-2013 at 11:56 AM.
An elite pitcher is "built" by first developing one really great breaking pitch. Then, the other pitches are built around that breaking pitch. So, a pitcher might have a great rise, and then have a so-so curve or screw or rise.
Again, what happens is that Daddies try to teach their kid all these different pitches and never really develop *ONE* great breaking pitch. (I caught my DD of course. I also caught other pitchers in practice. The elite pitchers always have one jaw dropping, "what the h*** was that" pitch.) A pitcher should be able to *ON DEMAND* vary the speed, vertical location and horizontal location of that breaking pitch.
Last edited by sluggers; 02-06-2013 at 12:07 PM.
Every softball parent keeps a hockey mask and a butcher knife in their car...
The only thing I did want to point out is that the "great breaking pitch" might not be the first, second, or even third one a pitcher tries to learn. So, after FB and change are learned, I do think you need to experiment to find what that pitcher's best breaking pitch will be and work on mastering it before moving on to try other breaking pitches.
Your preference - “It is what we learn after we know it all that really counts” - John Wooden
or, alternatively, It's What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts: The Autobiography of Earl Weaver
I know it is not 100% comparable but I think at 13yo is exactly the time to start trying many pitches. In baseball the way pitchers learn was to understand the basic mechanics of how to throw different pitches but the basically experiment on their own to see what works. Different pressure or rotation from exactly the way their PC taught was critical so the pitcher could find their sweet spot. There is not enough time to spend six months trying to perfect a curve, then six months perfecting a screw, then six months for a drop,etc. Teach the principles at concepts behind these pitches then let the pitcher see what works for them.
The big misconception is that as the pitcher is working on these pitches is to say they "HAVE" 5 pitches...they do not have 5 pitches, they should have a fastball they can locate and change-up for game situation. Then during games they can try maybe one or two pitches they are working on that they are having success with during practice. This should be a progression not a hey my PC showed me this pitch now I HAVE it to and the coach can call it in a game. As a HC I would never call a pitch for my pitcher that I have not seen demonstrated control of during practice.
I'm kinda a statistical guy and process my information according.
What gets me when looking over the stats is the batting average of fastpitch. Let's look at D1, when I see 3/4 of the roster above .300 and some even above .400 it gets me to thinking that at some point the pitching approach will have to adjust to the clear advances in batting. Slide over to proffessional baseball and you're a god if you hit over .300.
Some will argue its the bats, a valid point to a degree. But what if we had a deeper bullpen in FP, if we had specialty pitchers? Let's take the fact that most say you need a good drop/rise/CU for D1. Well what do you think I'd work my batters on hitting ALL the time? I'd make them see the rise and drop until they puke.
So what if I'm up against a team who hammers the drop and rise? Wouldn't it be effective to bring in a east/west pitcher, or someone who can "run" the rise/drop, or even a different handed pitcher? Just something to shake things up a bit.
Don't get me wrong, I love to watch FP. But for me the pitching side has little fan appeal. There is no strategy about who to match up against opponents, no rotations, and very little options when that mule gets in a bind.
Arrive, raise hell, leave. - Steve Austin
Been several years since I worked with students. Talked with some college coaches about some students I was working with or had worked with. They all wanted to know what pitches they threw. However, in every case but one, the first question they all asked was "How fast can she throw?".
Its been 6 or 7 years from that time but I hope they put more emphasis on what pitches and not so hung up on speed. It was like if the pitcher did not throw at a set speed the coaches had set in their own minds, they would not even look at them.
I got the strong impression they (They were all men) had a baseball background and were really hung up on speed, speed and more speed. Hope it's not that way nowadays.
Additional; Had a college student from Australia fly over for two days training. Worked opn lots of things including speed and a dropball she did not have. She picked up some more mph and her dropball beat the livin tar out of her Dad and I, neither of us could handle. The next year her Dad sent me an email . Her team from Queensland took 2nd place ion their national competition. The winning team would represent Australia in international competition.
the head coach complimented her on her movement pitches but said she threw 2mph less than what she would consider for the international squad. GGGRRRRR!!
Last edited by halskinner; 02-06-2013 at 02:18 PM.
I think college baseball averages which is probably a better comparison tell the tale. Hundreds of kids hitting over .300 and a dozen or so over .400, put them in A ball against the best pitchers with a wooden bat and they lose .100 points off their batting average overnight.
Bama BB team .259
SB team .311
Ucla BB team .304
SB team .340
Guess old habits die slow, to me it was always fun running rotations, matchups, and different pitching approaches in games or series. I do love watching the girls but there is no mystery in who will enter the circle.
Arrive, raise hell, leave. - Steve Austin
I was just never a big fan of 7th innings pitching change to get lefty v lefty when the batter is 0-3 against starter and has not looked good all game