September 2022 e-Newsletter: Where Are We with Development for Our Athletes?

When it comes to being a pitcher, there are many concepts steeped in years of tradition. “Baseball people” state that there are absolutes that have been handed down from generation to generation and that they are enough to teach what it takes to become a pitcher and how to properly throw a baseball. A more specific term would be “pitching mechanics.”

There are also those who state that there is only one mechanical pitching model that all pitchers need in order to be the most effective pitcher they can be. They believe anything other than what “I” say (and by “I,” this means your coach, instructor, or family member) is incorrect, nothing but nonsense, and will not help you become a better pitcher.

Let’s look at some of these specific teachings or phrases that you might hear (or have heard) from these “baseball people”: 

“Slow down your delivery.”

“Pause at the top.”

“Get to the high-cocked position.”

“Get your arm back with the ball pointing toward second base.”

“Get tall then fall.”

“Leg up, then down, then out.”
”Finish with your body toward home plate.”

“Snap your wrist more quickly.”

“Bend your back.”

These are only a few that you and I have heard. And I’m sure there are more. They’ve been heard during a game, a lesson, or maybe you’ve used them yourself. I know that I’ve used some of these over the years. I thought, “Well, that’s what I’ve grown up hearing from my teachers, so that’s what I have to say to my students.” In many cases, we simply regurgitate what we’ve had instilled in our minds.

Now, I’ve never claimed to be any type of authority on the right or wrong way to teach a player how to throw a baseball and, more specifically, pitch a certain way. I will always be in search of the best ways to maximize the capabilities of pitchers. That’s my responsibility as someone you and your pitcher look to in order to better their abilities and skills in pitching.

However, over the years, I’ve had to rethink the way I work with students because the stakes in the games that our children play are much more serious than they were 5–10 years ago.  

Games mean so much more. Travel ball has almost become a prerequisite for bettering a player’s baseball skills. And academies and lessons have become commonplace.  

The need for pitchers to become better has led me to believe that as an instructor, I have to become better. It works both ways. I firmly believe the need for “instructor betterment” is critical when it comes to choosing a teacher. You want an instructor who will put in the time to better himself since you, as the paying client, want the best for your hard-earned dollars.

Because of some of my mentors (who are in both the professional and collegiate ranks as well as some who are nationally recognized pitching authorities) and the advancements in training protocols, I believe that I have become a better instructor who understands some basic guidelines for a more efficient pitching delivery. This in turn will help produce more velocity and keep arms healthy over the long haul of a young player’s career.  

On that note, on Thursday, September 22, we’ll be holding a coaching clinic with Coach Ron Wolforth of the Texas Baseball Ranch and his entire team of coaches. The learning that comes from their wisdom is second to none, and even if you are a coach or just a Dad who wants the best for your son, it’s a night of learning. Pitching will be discussed, but the development of an athlete will also be an important concept covered that evening, and you’ll be thrilled to be a part of it!

Here’s the link to register for the clinic along with all the pertinent information: https://throwzone.com/camp/2022-coaches-clinic/.

I hope to see you all there as a kickoff to Elite Pitchers Boot Camp that weekend.

Until next time…

Jim