The pitcher is the most important person in the game and will have the most impact on whether a team wins or loses. The pitcher, along with the catcher, is involved in every play.
To be a good pitcher you need to have a strong arm and be able to throw the ball accurately. If you can’t throw strikes, you will have a tough time pitching.
Pitching Strategy and Tips
The main pitching strategy when you first start pitching is to throw strikes. Walking players and past balls will generally hurt you more than giving up hits. If you can throw strikes you will have a good chance at success in youth baseball.
Once you can throw strikes, here are some other things to work on:
- Focus on the catcher’s glove. Don’t worry about anything else but that glove. Concentrate on the glove throughout your pitch.
- Don’t get fancy on the first pitch. Try to throw it for a strike and get ahead in the count.
- Pitch at your own pace. Take your time and get into a rhythm.
- Be consistent with your motion. Each time you pitch, your motion, landing, and follow through should look exactly the same.
- Work on throwing over the top and not sidearm. This will give you more power and reduce the chance of injury.
Protecting Your Arm
It is important to not pitch too much when you are young. You can ruin your arm. Often the top youth pitchers will feel pressure to pitch a lot because their team needs them. They may even play on multiple teams. Parents need to protect their children by making sure they are not pitching too often and for too long.
Pitchers need to be mentally tough. Even the best pitchers go through tough times, but the mentally tough ones will be able to forget about it, keep their concentration, and continue to pitch their best. This is definitely not as easy as it sounds. Many pitchers in the major leagues fall apart when they are rocked for a grand slam or walk in a run. However, if you can learn to forget about that last bad pitch and focus on the next good one, you will be a much better pitcher.
In the higher levels of play, like the major leagues, many pitchers have specific roles they play in a game. Here are some of those roles:
- Starting pitcher – The pitcher who starts the game is called the starting pitcher. Sometimes starting pitchers will complete the entire game pitching all nine innings, but this doesn’t happen that often. If a starting pitcher can pitch six or seven good innings, they have done their job.
- Middle reliever – When the starting pitcher struggles, the middle reliever comes in to pitch a few innings and tries to get the game into the hands of the setup man.
- Setup man – The setup man will usually pitch one or two innings. Their job is to keep the game close so the closer can come in the ninth inning.
- The closer – The closer is a top pitcher who generally pitches the last inning of a close game. Often they are power pitchers who come in and throw as hard as they can for one inning.