In chatting with one of our Certified Instructors, Jen Mineau, she had a great thought. Jen excelled at every level,
earning All-American honors and pitching in the pros. During that time she said there were four things that stood out among successful pitchers at the highest levels.
4-Ability to change speeds
Jen went on to say that you had better be able to do at least 3 of these extremely, extremely, extremely well if you want to be great. If you achieve only three of these, each will have to be developed to absolute perfection. These things can lead us to the real goal….control. We will discuss that in a moment. Let’s start with the first four.
We run into kids all of the time who claim to have good spins. I prefer the word “movement”. There can be a big difference. I see kids all of the time who can spin a ball in drills but not move the ball well…or they cannot move it at the right time for maximum effectiveness.
Then, you must have enough speed to force a batter to make a quick decision, or can she just wait long enough to read the break and explode into the pitch? The higher the level, the better they are at doing this.
Was the pitch in the exact location that makes a batter chase, even though she wishes she could wait for a better pitch? Location, location, location. Make her try to hit what she does not want to hit.
And, finally, can you throw off her timing by suddenly changing speeds?
If you do not have all four of these skills, you may have success to a certain extent. As you reach higher levels, things can change quickly. Sadly, we often meet these kids after they hit this plateau, and it is so frustrating to see all of the things they were never taught. They have to unlearn some bad movement patters, we have to re-teach positive dynamics, and then we have to correct a lot of their thinking in order to rebuild their confidence. It is tough on everyone, and the odds of her making her dreams are not as good as they once were.
We are talking about learning to “control” the game. Stop reacting. Control the count, control the pace, find the umpire’s zone and work within it, control your body language, and throw every single pitch with a purpose. Missing a pitch just right can be as important as putting it on the corner. Keep the batter from getting comfortable or you are giving her the opportunity to take control. Practice for dominance.
Can you pick three for success? Perhaps, maybe. If you can do them well enough to be able to control the game you may go far. If possible, I would rather find someone who can help with all four and dream of total dominance.