How Important is it to “Hit Your Spots”?

Often we will be helping a student develop a breaking pitch and her father will suddenly ask her to throw it to a certain location. That is a great way to overwhelm her. She needs time to process. Our research has revealed that a pitcher can only focus on two new things at once. Add a third component and you are guaranteed to lose.
The same is true when we are doing our Speed classes. Let’s say she is learning dynamic ways to better engage the quads. We may have her focus on foot position and the timing of the weight transfer. She can handle those two things. Ask her to throw it so a certain spot while she is still developing the “muscle memory” of these new moves and a lot of bad things can happen.
We want to focus on important elements until they become habit, or “muscle memory”. That may take ten minutes or ten days. It all depends on the complexity of the movements or the bad habits she is trying to overcome. In some cases she may have a mechanics issue so challenging that we have to focus entirely on that one problem. We absolutely do not want to add another element until that is completely resolved. Asking her to “hit her spot” or throw faster while overcoming a something as simple as a “glove swim issue” will only cause frustration. We can fix that issue in two minutes if she is allowed to focus exclusively on it.
If we are working on a breaking pitch, the same thing applies. I want to see the pitch move dramatically, over and over. We will worry about location later. We see way too many kids who can throw a drop in the right place but it has no movement, or their curve hits just off the plate but did not actually move. They may get away with that until they reach a certain level of competition, but then they pay the price. They will tell us that their curve used to be good, but it does not work anymore. In actuality, it was probably never that good, but the competition got better.
Once she can execute the pitch flawlessly, it is far easier to let her body naturally take it to the right location. Once she has repeated the motion many times over a period of days or weeks, she will comfortably begin to add speed.
Sometimes we are working the drills to learn the riseball. This pitch is more easily learned in stages, so we get to a certain point and I ask them to go home and keep working daily until she has completely mastered that stage. Dad will say, “Okay, but first I want to see if she can do that from the mound”. Hold up! She is not ready for that yet, and rushing it will un-do everything we have accomplished so far. Let me take her to the mound when she is ready, but trying to take shortcuts will cause a big setback in mastering the pitch.
Let her have time to process the movements, allow them to become habit, and let her move forward as she is ready. If you are working on movement, master the movement first and add location once she is completely confident in the pitch. If your goal is speed, go for it, and add location when she is ready. Keep the important things in focus, make them habit, then add the elements which will further enhance the effectiveness of the pitch.
**Note: Last week three more of my kids accepted D1 College offers, bringing our total to 12 just since November 1. We need Instructors across the country who have a passion for seeing their kids succeed. Our standards are very high so you need to be a former college player or have a comparable background in the game. From intense and thorough training to business plans, we help you with everything you need to be successful.

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