Pitching: Aim Small, Miss Small

pitching drills May 05, 2021
 

Early in the season we’re getting a lot of questions and concerns about pitchers not being able to throw strikes.

Maybe our pitchers are first time player pitch, or you know they haven't pitched with a batter in the batter’s box all season. So one of the best pieces of advice I ever got as a pitcher was aim small miss small. What does that mean? That means when the catcher gets to his position back here where he's giving us a target most players at the young ages are just trying to throw a strike.

There standing on the mound, maybe their mom and dad are yelling at him, their coach is yelling at him to work on certain mechanics and they're thinking about 100 different things at once.  What I tell my guys, take a deep breath and aim small, miss small. So aim small, miss small means when that catcher gives you the target, we're not just trying to throw a strike. We're trying to throw a strike to maybe a lace on the glove or the T right here in the bottom of my glove or maybe to a very small spot on the pocket.

So now that pitcher is only focused on where he wants to locate that pitch. So that pitcher is aiming for this lace and he misses by 6 inches well, we're talking about this being a strike zone. If that pitcher is just hoping and praying that he's going to throw a strike somewhere in this box and he misses by 6 inches now we're talking about this big area that he might miss in, high, low, in, out.

Before the game and during the game, after they get their sign to pick out a small target. If they're trying to throw a changeup for a strike well, they might start it at the top of the catchers facemask. If they're trying to throw a four-seam fastball on the outside corner well, they might aim for this lace. If they're trying to throw a curveball in an 0-2 count and they're trying to locate it down in the zone to make the hitter chase well they might start that curveball right here, they might start at the middle of the catcher's chest, so they know they're starting in the strike zone and it's going to work its way out of the strike zone.

We don't want to teach our players to think like robots on the mound, we talk a lot about it with the hitters we don't want them overcomplicating thinking about mechanics, worrying about walking guys, we want them to be athletes, we want him to think athletic thoughts when they’re out there. So aim small, miss small. Pick out a small target and throw straight through it. If they walk guys, it's OK! It's early on in the season there young a lot of them are just learning how to pitch for the first time, they're afraid to hit the batter but again give them something athletic to think about. Aiming for a lace, aiming for a letter on the glove, starting it at the top of the catchers facemask, something small. This way if they miss by a few inches, they have a much smaller area to miss in as opposed to just hoping and praying that it’s going to be strike.

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