A good pitcher in the major leagues will normally have pitches that he can throw with command, power, and confidence. This is important because to maximize your effectiveness and be able to throw a higher percentage of strikes.
When young baseball players first start out pitching, most of them are all about learning a bunch of new pitches and getting the prestige that comes with it. You may in fact learn these pitches and throw them well, but most likely did not take the time to master them and be able to command their every movement and their velocity as well.
Most pitchers will start out with the basic fastball and the change up. These two pitches will be the core focus of every pitchers repertoire especially young pitcher. These two pitches will have less an impact on arm health and are easiest to master.
The fastball is easy to control and is the pitch that is almost always thrown the hardest. The change up requires only a slight grip change in order to throw, but is thrown with the same arm strength and mechanics as the fastball. These two pitches are great for younger pitchers and I highly recommend you master these two pitches before moving on to anything else.
The fastball can be thrown two different ways, the most common way is called the four seam. The four seam is normally thrown for power, and is probably the fastest pitch in baseball. The other form is called the two seam. The two seam does not have as much power on it as the four seam does, but it makes up for it with is movement. The two seam, depending on whether you are left or right handed, will curve in or out on a right handed batter. For a left handed pitcher, the ball would curve outside to a right handed batter and for a right handed pitcher it would curve inside.
Famous Baseball Quotes:
- Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical – Yogi Berra
- Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer – Ted Williams
- Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world – Babe Ruth
When most pitchers master these pitches, they want to immediately start learning pitches such as the curveball, slider, sinker, and so forth. But, learning those pitches to early can be dangerous for the pitching arm because of the unneeded stress pitches put on the young developing arm. That is why it is not recommended to throw many of these pitches until you are at least fifteen and your arm has matured. And when you start learning them make sure you learn from a pitching coach who can ensure you have proper mechanics.
One good pitch to master before fifteen is the slider. The slider is kind of a cross between a fastball and a curveball. It has the movement and more speed than a curveball but it is generally several miles slower than the fastball. This pitch may take a while to master, due to the awkward grip required by the pitch, but once you do gain control, the slider will be your most powerful pitch yet.
Once you hit around fifteen years old, then I would recommend that you start learning some “junk” pitches such as the curveball, the sinker and the splitter. The curveball is your classic junk pitch and is used to mislead the batter until it is too late. This pitch has wild movement on it and is very hard to read and hit for a batter. The sinker is another very good and popular junk pitch and is designed to look like a normal fastball, but right before it reaches the plate it dips sharply, earning the pitch its name. The final pitch is the splitter.
The splitter is a very difficult pitch to throw and only a select few are able to throw it without risk of injury. You grip this pitch like a normal two seam but you make it so that your fingers are way on the outside of the two seams and then you throw it. This pitch can be dangerous, especially for those who have smaller hands, if not thrown exactly right. It is highly recommended not to throw this pitch unless you have fairly large hands to throw it with.
The importance of a good, solid pitching repertoire is extremely important for a pitcher. The type of pitch you have determines how good a pitcher you are in a given situation. But, more importantly, is the mastery of the pitches you have and what you can do with them. Work hard, and work towards perfection, those are the goals of a pitcher.
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