You are a youth baseball coach. One of your pitchers is having trouble throwing strikes. When a pitcher is having a bad day on the mound, there has to be a reason. In most cases bad days are caused by simple pitcher delivery flaws. Often times these flaws can be quickly identified and corrected. What are the first three things that a coach should check in the pitchers delivery? Here I discuss the first three things that I always check first.
1) Target Focus and Concentration
2) Front Leg and Landing Foot Action
3) Release Point Consistency.
These three elements of a pitcher's delivery are extremely important when it comes to becoming a good pitcher with good control.
Target Focus and Concentration - Many pitchers let their eyes wonder during their delivery. They get their sign from the catcher and start their motion. At some point they may look away from the target. They do not keep their eyes zeroed in on the catcher's mitt. When a young pitcher takes his eyes off the target, even briefly, the results can be poor concentration and inconsistent control. Coaches should always watch the eyes of the pitcher. Make sure that the younger pitchers keep their eyes on the target throughout the pitcher's pitching motion.
Front Leg and Landing Foot Action - The second element of the pitchers delivery encompasses the action of the stride leg and stride foot. The lead or stride leg should can be locked or stiff during the final stages of the delivery. There must be some give or a slight bend in the stride leg knee. A stiff front leg tends to "pole vault" the player's body upward causing the pitch location to be altered. The stride foot should land flat. Many times a pitcher will get the bad habit of pointing the toes upward and landing on the stride foot's heel. Landing on the heel will in most cases cause control problems. Make sure that the stride foot is landing on the ball of the foot with the entire foot landing flat.
Release Point Consistency - I first check to see if the pitcher is properly releasing the baseball out front and in the same spot pitch after pitch. I want to make sure that the pitcher is consistently releasing the ball in the same location. It is impossible to have good pitching control without perfect release point execution. Stress to your pitchers to get the ball out front. The pitcher should practice enough to master a consistent release point that never varies.
I hope that these tips are helpful to you. The main thing you need to remember as a youth coach is that if strikes are not being thrown, there is a reason for the problem. Every pitcher is to have his great days and bad days. But, the key is to make sure that the bad days are not caused by a simple pitching flaw that can be quickly identified and corrected.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. For more articles like it, you can visit the Baseball Coaching Digest, Youth Baseball Digest, and Little League Digest. Good luck to you and your team. Thanks for taking the time to read my articles. Have a great day, Nick
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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.
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