By Dan Gazaway
So you want to be a winning pitcher? Well, pitching is literally a mental game of chess. Warren Spahn once said that “hitting is all about timing and pitching is all about upsetting timing.” If you want to win more games and strike more hitters out it is time to get smarter. Most pitchers think that if they learn to throw harder, that is the solution. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to throw hard; in fact your off speed pitches will move more when you do, but, what about those pitchers that just don’t have the genetics to throw hard? There are plenty of great pitchers (even in the Major Leagues) that can’t throw harder than 90. In fact the average pitcher in the Majors throws 92 right now.
So what is the secret to winning more games as a pitcher? Warren Spahn said it right when he said that pitching is upsetting timing. When you can keep the hitters off balance and keep the ball down, then you are forcing a ton of ground balls and pop ups. The occasional strikeouts are just bonuses and will happen when you continue to keep the hitters guessing.
This year, Justin Verlander pitched a no hit game for the Tigers. Did you know he threw a no hit game with only 4 strikeouts? If you were to go to mlb.com and look at the highlights of his no hitter, you would see that he was able to force a ton of grounders and pop ups. Why was he so successful? Because he kept the hitters guessing and kept them off balance (upsetting their timing)
There are three key ingredients to improving your chances of winning, they are location, change of speed and movement. Now that is a winning combination. How do you do that? First of all master the control of you fastball using proper pitching mechanics hitting the corners. Second, learn how to control a good changeup (I prefer the Circle or C-changes because they move). You will be surprised how far you can make it in Baseball with just those two pitches if you master control with them. Adding a great curveball or slider to a change and fastball will greatly increase your chances of winning. when you can throw three pitches at any time for strikes in any situation you will dominate because those hitters literally won’t know what’s coming.
Dan Gazaway is Owner and Founder of The Pitching Academy (www.thepitchingacademy.net). He has instructed over 2,000 pitchers in the last seven years and received a Bachelor’s Degree as a Health Education Specialist at Utah State University. He is a motivational speaker for topics ranging from attitude, goal-setting and leadership and be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.