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pre-pitching routine
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singtall

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September 20, 2011 – 5:56 pm
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my son is 12 years old and has good mechanics and pitches fairly accurate.  i would say he is above average for his size.  his main problem is mental.  he has no plan when he steps up to pitch and usually one of two things happens:

1) when he throws the 8 warm up pitches from the mound, he is very accurate and gets the positive mindset that he needs to bring the heat.  once the first batter steps up, he throws hard and plays the corners, usually resulting in a great game.

2) when he throws the 8 warm up pitches from the mound, he misses the catcher with more than one pitch.  this results in him feeling “not very accurate” and then he starts worrying about the coach pulling him from the game for walking batters.  at this point he decides to “be more accurate”, he does this by dropping several mph and becomes easily hit-able.  he did this the other night.  the day before (at practice) he averaged 68-69mph with a top out at 72mph.  at the game the next day, he averaged 59-60mph with a top out at 63mph.  the result?  he pitched 33 pitches with 78% accuracy IN ONE INNING…yep, they hit off him plenty.

i'm trying to give him a routing that will keep his mind set on being aggressive and throwing hard.  what do you suggest he thinks about during the 8 warm up pitches from the mound?  or do you suggest something to think about as soon as he gets into the park?  he normally does not know if he is going to pitch until minutes before the game, so his routine has to keep that in mind.

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Zedoryu
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September 20, 2011 – 6:43 pm
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Well, first of all, if your son thinks that he isn't accurate, still try throwing his best. im sure that him missing a few pitches is alright. when i first started baseball i had like no strikes, maybe one or two which resulted in alot of walks, and i didn't get pulled out of the game for it. the only way you can be accurate is only consistency. it may not be his day. also, is he doing a warmup and bullpen session?

First, (Brent's Warmup)

Dynamic Warm-up

Resistance Tubing

Flat ground throws to about 120 feet and then in to 60 with a few pitches out of the stretch.

Bull pen – 30-45 pitches

Put on jacket to stay warm and then visualization preparation.

 

for the bullpen (got this from Darrell :D)

start with a 35 pitch warm up routine.

 

First 13 from stretch at about 60% working on mechanics and feel

5-  fastballs alternating both sides of plate 

5-Change Up's alternating both sides of plate

3 Curve's for strikes

 

Next 10 ptches from wind up @ 75 % working the strike zone and finding feel

Fastball,Ch,FB,Ch, FB, Curve,Fb,Curve,Ch, and Fastball.

 

The Last 12 pitches I like to have them throw a Game speed.

he needs to pitch the first 2 to 3 batters of the game.

Either strike out or walk.  Throw all 12 pitches for strikes looking for location and change of speed.

 

I believe it helps get your mind right for the first inning.

 

If he is having 1st batter and/or 1st inning problems then he needs to mentally pitch the first couple of batters in the bullpen to help him get focused and make adjustments.

This bullpen routine is just a frame work or outline that he can personalize as he needs to.  But he needs to sit down and write it out so it will become a routine that he can tweak as you all see fit.  

The time in bullpen before a start needs to be serious and focused.

Also, have an aggressive inner dialogue. Don't say he needs to be more accurate, say he can't touch my fastball anyway, he'll swing because he can't tell if it's a strike because it's too fast. That's a better inner dialogue. If it is thinking, visualize yourself pitching and its the best pitching, like you have velocity, consistent accuracy. I always do that. if i'm “not so accurate” i visualize myself doing that and try and copy what i have visualized. I'm sure this will work. Also motivate yourself to keep going! watch the video on the what motivates you? topic. It's really inspiring.

hope this helps 😀 and sorry about having such a long post.

       

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Darrell Coulter
Bonne Terre, Mo

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September 20, 2011 – 11:06 pm
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singtall,

That is not that uncommon from young pitcher who don’t get to properly warm up.  Is there a reason why he don’t know when he is going to pitch.

Here is what I would do if I were you.

I would treat every game that he could pitch in as if he was going to start that day.  I would use any pregame warm up time to get some kind of throwing in or bullpen work in.  It might mean getting to the park early and doing some work then.

It sounds like to me his warm up is what he gauges how he feels that day.

The routine has got to begin before the 8 pitches. 

Here is the pitching mound routine I teach every pitcher from 12 to 22.

When you step on the field mound pitching rubber you put on your pitching game FACE.

Focus on the catcher and control your breathing.  

Attention to Detail (play in the moment)

Commit to the pitch

Execute the pitch.

 

By having him focus on the catcher and control his breathing he will start focusing on things he can control.  When doubt creeps in we tend to get away from the things that we trust.  so trust the catcher and practice breathing in the bullpen sessions and when you are practicing pitching, practice breathing.

Attention to detail.  Having him go through his mind what he needs to do on every pitch helps them stay focus on the next pitch.  Just as if he was coaching.  Practice with him going through the different situations that come up and what pitch to make in those situations and that will help him during the game because he will trust the plan that you have put together.

Commit to the pitch.  Just have him get the sign and make the pitch.  Here is where I really spend some time going through what pitches they are comfortable with and really making sure they trust that pitch in the game.  Hopefully at that age he throwing mostly fastball and change ups.  At that age what he has practiced will be what shows up in the game most of the time.  They are super sensitive about being embarrassed and put even more pressure on themselves. Confidence is huge at that age.

Execute the pitch.  Every pitch he throws should be to get an out.  One pitch at a time.  I don’t even talk about strike outs.  I talk about what it takes to get the batter out. This is where the competitive side has to come out.  You need to talk about what it takes to be a good pitcher and reinforce that to him.  He needs to know that he is a good pitcher and that he needs to throw his best pitch every time.  

I know this is a lot but over time I think by creating a physical pitching mound routine that he goes through before every pitch will help him focus and have a lot more fun pitching.

Focus and controlled breathing

Attention to Detail (he is in charge on the field)

Commit to the pitch (trust his pitches and his plan you created)

Execute the pitch (pull the trigger)

Eject, Reload and Fire again. 

 

Hope this helps.

Good Luck

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singtall

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September 21, 2011 – 9:51 pm
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good ideas guys.  we started looking at every day as a pitching day.  he played a game tonight and didn't get to pitch, he played second base instead,  but he worked on a routine pretty much as you described and was ready to pitch when he got there.

for some reason, it seems that most teams at this age level just have no plan until they get to the park.  most of the plan consists of coaches fighting over which of their sons will pitch first, then they decide who will clean up the mess after.  lol.

we worked on 3 pitches and got them down to the point where he feels strong about any one of them in a game situation.  to keep his delivery as it is (like Lincecum) he throws a fastball,  a knuckle curve and a fosh (thanks to Brent for that one).  all three work well, and he can find the strike zone with any of them.   a benefit that he is finding in his off speed pitches is that he can throw them when he is struggling with missing high in the zone and they break back in perfectly.  so those pitches have helped him with his most common problem…missing high from not fully finishing his throw.  the other thing that he likes is that he doesn't have to change his mechanics for the three different pitches,  well slightly for the fosh….he holds off his wrist action.  

he is working on getting aggressive on the mound.  i wish i could let him watch one episode of “eastbound and down” so he could see an extreme of cockiness and confidence.   lol.   “this next pitch is gonna have the full power of God behind it!”   “you're f**king out!”

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Zedoryu
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September 22, 2011 – 1:56 am
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Haha, I agree God is the result of everything and 100% comes from him. And yes most people want their sons to pitch.it’s something funny to watch. Remember that scouts look for a 1-4 ratio of breaking balls so use them only in emergency like ocntrol as you mentioned.

       

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Zedoryu
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September 22, 2011 – 2:04 am
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Control* XD typo. Also I mentioned somewhere that when you have the time visualize and say things that motivate you, especially when pitching of course. I always start mentally first. Even before warmups. You never want to not warmup properly and then after a while it could cause injuries, because you have not warmed up properly.

       

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