One of the hardest parts of coaching pitchers

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Jan 22, 2011
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I've heard Mike Candrea say at two different coaches' clinics if a pitcher has a good command of her fastball and her change-up, she can pitch in college and at a fairly high level. From other pitching coaches, I've heard versions of that all you need is a good fastball/drop and a change-up or curve to pitch in college.

My DD learned a wicked "Pauly" change-up she could place and threw it a fair amount of the time the last few times she pitched due to a sore arm causing discomfort with her FB/drop. She also recognized spins and tells, so when batting, she could wait on and crush change-ups. Pitching is the art of deception.

I've also concluded that many pitchers have something with how their shoulder or arm moves some should throw mostly riseballs/curves and others should throw mostly change-ups/drops. Pitchers should have all four in their arsenal, but many rely on two pitches for most of what they throw.
 
Apr 14, 2022
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I feel like there is an intangible aspect that makes pitchers successful not related to speed, accuracy, or the type of pitches they throw. 🤷‍♂
Absolutely! Who can execute when the pressure is on and everything is falling apart around you?
Often times the difference between a great pitcher and an average pitcher is execution on 1 pitch in 10.
 
May 17, 2023
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No disrespect intended, but you've made this way more complex than what I'm saying. I don't care about angles or arcs or spin rates or any other minutae. We're still talking basics here.

Not sure what is so complex, you threw out an arbitrary 60% execution rate or else parents are ignorant for counting that as a pitch their kids throws.

My point is there is so much nuance to "landing" a pitch. I wouldn't want parents to think they should reduce their kid down to only 1-2 pitches they can throw in the exact spot intended with correct spin a certain % of the time. For some pitchers 1-2 pitches can take them to the top levels of college. But for other kids that might not be the best path to success.

If they are getting outs using 5-6 pitches while learning, then what is the harm in continuing to develop all those pitches in game situations?
 
May 27, 2013
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Not sure what is so complex, you threw out an arbitrary 60% execution rate or else parents are ignorant for counting that as a pitch their kids throws.

My point is there is so much nuance to "landing" a pitch. I wouldn't want parents to think they should reduce their kid down to only 1-2 pitches they can throw in the exact spot intended with correct spin a certain % of the time. For some pitchers 1-2 pitches can take them to the top levels of college. But for other kids that might not be the best path to success.

If they are getting outs using 5-6 pitches while learning, then what is the harm in continuing to develop all those pitches in game situations?

Coaches at the collegiate level place a lot of value in strike%. My ds’ college coach actually wants to see closer to 70% It’s the one stat that is top priority. If a pitcher can’t execute a pitch (whichever one you want to use) for a strike (Looking, swinging, foul, put in play), it means they are either walking too many batters or throwing too many pitches.

It might not matter as much at the younger age levels but it absolutely will matter if they want to pitch in high school or college.

Also, if they don’t have solid muscle memory for a pitch where they can throw it reliably for a strike, learning new pitches can impede their progress.
 
May 17, 2023
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Coaches at the collegiate level place a lot of value in strike%. My ds’ college coach actually wants to see closer to 70% It’s the one stat that is top priority. If a pitcher can’t execute a pitch (whichever one you want to use) for a strike (Looking, swinging, foul, put in play), it means they are either walking too many batters or throwing too many pitches.

It might not matter as much at the younger age levels but it absolutely will matter if they want to pitch in high school or college.

Also, if they don’t have solid muscle memory for a pitch where they can throw it reliably for a strike, learning new pitches can impede their progress.

Yes I agree with that. You have to be able to pound the zone consistently enough to also gets chases outside. Walks are the devil!

But in speaking with three current P5 pitchers I know they claim to have never thrown a single FB in college game. All three are hard throwers but say anything straight no matter the velocity is going to get hit very hard. They aren't to level of Bill's list :ROFLMAO: but all successful and swear movement is the key to pitching at high level.
 
Jan 25, 2022
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Not sure what is so complex, you threw out an arbitrary 60% execution rate or else parents are ignorant for counting that as a pitch their kids throws.

My point is there is so much nuance to "landing" a pitch. I wouldn't want parents to think they should reduce their kid down to only 1-2 pitches they can throw in the exact spot intended with correct spin a certain % of the time. For some pitchers 1-2 pitches can take them to the top levels of college. But for other kids that might not be the best path to success.

If they are getting outs using 5-6 pitches while learning, then what is the harm in continuing to develop all those pitches in game situations?

I just wouldn't have a player throw a pitch that I wasn't confident would be correct on a basic level. If it's low-level ball that's one thing, but if the goal of the game is to win, there are no "give it a shot" pitches. Every pitch has a purpose or goal. Giving it a shot would happen if the pitcher could throw a basic version of that pitch at a decent percentage of the time. Obviously at some point they need to use a pitch that's newer to them, but there are plenty of other opportunities to ease it into the arsenal.

My original statement was only making the point that when you have a 12u parent say their kid has 4 pitches, 99% (my arbitrary number :) ) of those pitchers don't have any reasonable level of command of all of those pitches.

I've seen wristbands on high school pitchers that look like the periodic table of elements when I know for a fact they can't even locate their fastball. In my own 15 year old, I have all the faith in the world about her potential, but she's still a newer pitcher and all she currently "has" is a fastball over the plate and maybe hi/low location. When the wrist-band maker asked me what to put on ther band I said, "she doesn't need one, but if you want to make it anyway, put "over the plate" in every box."
 
May 27, 2013
2,302
113
Yes I agree with that. You have to be able to pound the zone consistently enough to also gets chases outside. Walks are the devil!

But in speaking with three current P5 pitchers I know they claim to have never thrown a single FB in college game. All three are hard throwers but say anything straight no matter the velocity is going to get hit very hard. They aren't to level of Bill's list :ROFLMAO: but all successful and swear movement is the key to pitching at high level.

Agree with movement being one component to being successful in college. Change of speeds is another. However, they need to have command of that movement pitch because if 6-7/10 times it’s sitting fat over the plate and not moving like it should, it will get launched.

My dd does not throw a FB in games. She mainly relies on her curve and changeup. She has reliable command of those 2 pitches. Can hit different locations with them. Throws an occasional rise. This upcoming season she will add in a new pitch she’s been working on since the summer if her command is good enough.
 
May 17, 2023
222
43
Agree with movement being one component to being successful in college. Change of speeds is another. However, they need to have command of that movement pitch because if 6-7/10 times it’s sitting fat over the plate and not moving like it should, it will get launched.

My dd does not throw a FB in games. She mainly relies on her curve and changeup. She has reliable command of those 2 pitches. Can hit different locations with them. Throws an occasional rise. This upcoming season she will add in a new pitch she’s been working on since the summer if her command is good enough.

Yeah absolutely to me the misses are almost as important as the percentage that lands exactly where wanted it. Would rather have 3-4 misses further off the plate or up/down vs one that just sits in the middle.

And yes the change of speeds is for sure another element that is very important. Having a couple different off-speed pitches that can be thrown for strikes makes life so much easier. But I have also know pitchers who have been successful without a true CU.
 
May 17, 2023
222
43
I just wouldn't have a player throw a pitch that I wasn't confident would be correct on a basic level. If it's low-level ball that's one thing, but if the goal of the game is to win, there are no "give it a shot" pitches. Every pitch has a purpose or goal. Giving it a shot would happen if the pitcher could throw a basic version of that pitch at a decent percentage of the time. Obviously at some point they need to use a pitch that's newer to them, but there are plenty of other opportunities to ease it into the arsenal.

My original statement was only making the point that when you have a 12u parent say their kid has 4 pitches, 99% (my arbitrary number :) ) of those pitchers don't have any reasonable level of command of all of those pitches.

I've seen wristbands on high school pitchers that look like the periodic table of elements when I know for a fact they can't even locate their fastball. In my own 15 year old, I have all the faith in the world about her potential, but she's still a newer pitcher and all she currently "has" is a fastball over the plate and maybe hi/low location. When the wrist-band maker asked me what to put on ther band I said, "she doesn't need one, but if you want to make it anyway, put "over the plate" in every box."

Yeah think we are just talking about two different perspectives. If we are concerned with just being able to throw FB for enough strikes to give team a chance to win, I am assuming that is either a very young pitcher (like 10u) or low level (Rec/C) who isn't really focused on pitching in HS or especially college.

And I get that plenty of parents overstate how many pitches their kid can throw trying to brag. But I also have a beef with the notion that every pitcher must learn to locate FB at very high percentage before they move on to CU. And then must learn to execute and locate CU at high level before they move on to Curve, Drop, etc.

My DD has two CU, not because she is that good, but because she struggles with both of them at times. It is without a doubt the hardest pitch for her. She learned a curve in about 4-5 pitches and it has always been her best. Rise and drop were somewhere in between. Had her coach been the type I mentioned above she may have given up pitching before ever learning those other pitches.
 
Apr 14, 2022
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I think strike% and execution are 2 separate things. I imagine most college pitchers execute around 90%.
To be ok against decent 14u teams I would expect at least 70%.
I would define execution hitting spot within +\- 1 ball width, or in a location out of the zone close enough to possible get a swing, or a set up pitch that is a ball.
A pitcher can have a pitch they only hit the spot or strike 40% but majority of misses are out of the zone and it be effective.
 

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