Why Keeping Pitching Simple is Key

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by: Don Marsh

What’s the one thing most effective pitchers have in common? Most are very good at keeping their mechanics simple, straightforward and most of all, consistent.

Former MLB pitcher Jake Peavy explains his approach this way: “I always feel that if you do everything mechanically correct, it’s impossible not to throw the ball where you’re trying to throw it. If you’re consistent with
your mechanics, you’ll be consistent with your delivery. And ultimately, you’re going to be more consistent throwing strikes or at least throwing the ball where you want to throw it.

One of the keys to his delivery is in stepping where he throws. That’s a way of saying that if you want to throw the
ball on the inside half of the plate, step toward the inside half. If you want to throw the ball on the outside half, then step toward that half. He also makes sure he points his toes toward the target half of home plate.

Stepping where you throw not only helps with your control but it also makes sure you have the good balance required to get the kind of movement on the pitch that you want.

Here’s a tip for any young pitcher struggling to throw the ball where he wants: Have somebody check your delivery to see if you’re throwing across your body. Throwing across your body - meaning that you’re landing in a slightly closed position (with the plant foot to your throwing arm side of your back foot) - is a guaranteed way to miss your spots, flatten out your pitches and ultimately, create some elbow or shoulder problems.

Now here are two quick remedies for throwing across your body: 1) Shorten up the arc of your arm; 2) Speed up your
arm motion.

As Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux once said, “When I see kids throw, a lot of times they’re doing too much with their mechanics. I want to try to calm them down. Their head is moving all over the place, they’re stepping back too far, they’re kicking their leg up too high, they’re long-arming the ball.

“It seems they want to do as much as they can with their mechanics. It should be the other way around. You should do
the least amount you have to.”

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