Most of the articles on this site pertain to pure pitching velocity but what is the value of top velocity when the pitcher can not locate his pitch accuracy? Zero is the answer. There is no value in pitching velocity that doesn’t end in a strike.
I have witnessed many hard-throwing pitchers or should I say throwers in my career who could not hit “the broad side of a barn.” These guys never made it anywhere because of this major problem of poor pitch accuracy. The problem with coaching pitch accuracy is that most pitching coaches overdo it. They create pitchers who look like they should be throwing darts instead of fastballs. This is why I focus on velocity first and then I teach my pitchers how to control it.
In this article, I will talk about the value of pitch accuracy and how the front side of the pitching delivery is how it is controlled.
The Value of Good Pitch Accuracy
Pitch accuracy is as important as pitching velocity. For a pitcher to be successful on the mound he must disrupt the batter’s timing. There are many ways a pitcher can do this. Pitch speed, pitch movement, and pitch location. I believe the two most effective is pitch speed and pitch location. If you can reach your top velocity and locate your pitches then you can make it into minor league ball with just a fastball and changeup. I would recommend you use this strategy in your own career because if you start throwing breaking balls and you have poor mechanics, it can be devastating to your arm. So why take the risk when you can be just as effective or even more effective with your top pitching velocity and good pitch location?
Before you can start hitting your spots with pinpoint accuracy, you must understand how to control your pitches. Conventional wisdom would talk about the balance point and go on about it for hours. I will show you a different perspective.
Accuracy is controlling your momentum. To control your momentum you must have balance but that should be second nature. The goal is to control your momentum without affecting it. This is where most pitchers fail. They try to control their momentum to a point that it slows them down. This is no good. This is why I teach top velocity until it becomes second nature and then I teach how to control that increase pitching velocity.
How to Control the Front Side of the Pitcher
An elite pitcher uses his front side to locate his pitches. You must take aim with your front side as you begin to start your momentum towards the target. This is important because once your hips start building momentum towards the target, you must do everything in your power to release every ounce of explosive energy from your body while using that energy to fire certain muscle groups at specific times in your delivery. So once you lift your leg and kick that butt out to start your load and build momentum, you must set up your front side for pitch location. To do this you must separate your hands and relax your throwing arm while closing off your glove hand. You must also slightly turn your lift leg foot inward to close off your hips. Notice the picture above of Jon Lester performing this setup. This is a similar moment in the delivery as a sprinter would perform just before taking off. The sprinter would set up his body for taking off to control his launch and give his body the best opportunity to reach his top velocity as quickly as possible, which is the same thing we are trying to do as pitchers.
The reason for closing off the front side is because it makes it easier for our momentum to travel straight to the target. If the glove arm was to open early or the lift leg, then this would throw our weight off to the side and more than likely the pitch would follow. So staying close is important because it keeps our momentum going straight to the target. Just like a sprinter wouldn’t want to start learning to his left before he fired out of his stance.
Another important tip is to stay closed as long as possible because of the same reasons and also because it will help you build more torque with good hip to shoulder separation. “Separation” is when your hips have opened to the target and your shoulders are still closed like the picture below. Building more torque means more velocity.
Do not forget that you must not affect your pitching velocity when adjusting your mechanics for pitch location. To prevent this you must close your shoulders and hips off first and then the rest of the delivery you must keep them closed while hitting all the key components of velocity that I have described in detail on this site. This takes an advanced level of coordination but remembers not everyone has the ability to pitch in the top levels on the game. The only way you will develop an advanced level of coordination is first by learning the technique and then second by performing the reps necessary to program the new muscle memory.
The #1 Pitch Accuracy Training Program
This program has helped tons of pitchers live the dream of throwing 90+mph and signing with a D1 University, getting drafted by a Major League Organization and making it back to Major League Baseball. Many scouts in all organizations of baseball have recommended this program to help young pitchers get to the 90+mph range to improve their value at the next level.
The reason the 3X Extreme Pitching Velocity Program works is that it is based on science and it has been proven to develop the 90+mph fastball on thousands of pitchers. It isn’t rocket science or voodoo, it is the real deal! The program comes with a high level workload of drills, lifts and exercises scientifically programmed to enhance throwing speed on the mound while developing an efficient pitching delivery. The format of the 3X Pitching Velocity Program is similar to the same approach Olympic throwers have been using for decades to increase throwing velocity. This approach isn’t new to the sports world but it is new to baseball.
If you are serious about your career and are insanely driven to put yourself into an extremely small percentage of pitchers who are potential D1 prospects, top-level draft picks or you just want to reach your potential on the mound then this program is the best chance you have to make your dreams come true.
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I know that leading with the front side is essential to pitch location, but what about release point? Is a proper release point also determined by the effectiveness of proper pitching mechanics? Thanks Brent
Yes, precision is apart of the 3X Pitching Velocity program. Precision is a product of the force vector of the drive leg and landing leg. Once the pitcher generates his momentum and aligns that momentum through his force vector his upper kinetic chain will follow this direction of force. If the pitcher is able to create good hip to shoulder separation into optimal external rotation then he will release the pitch with early internal rotation which puts the release point just in front of the body and above the head. This means the path of the ball is in reaction to the direction of the force of the body. It is easier to control and guide the direction of the entire body to locate the pitch instead of just the hand and arm if a pitcher doesn’t have good 3X mechanics and his arm is starting early and finishing way out in front of the body with the torso in an upright position.
Sorry, that is a mouth full I hope that makes sense.
How important is a strong front side in terms arm health? Is there a correlation between how effective we are as pitchers with our front side and how likely we are to have minor or even serious arm injuries?
I believe arm health comes from a more dynamic lower half taking the work off of the arm. Here is my favorite study which defines this principle: