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When the baseball season comes to an end, most pitchers put everything away until 2-3 weeks before Spring practice. But for pitchers who really want to throw harder, develop better control and get stronger, an off-season program is a must—and that's why experienced pitching coaches all say, Pitchers are made during the off-season.
There are 3 things pitchers can do during the off-season to help them throw harder with better control by next Spring:
Developing quality mechanics should be a part of every pitcher's plan from one season to the next.
Most mechanical problems are not unique; when I do evaluations for Little League, high school or college pitchers, I see the same things:
Every pitch a pitcher throws should have a purpose besides "get the hitter out". A high fastball can be used to setup a low breaking pitch and vice versa.
Remember, one of the main points of pitching is to disrupt the batter's timing. Changing speeds and pitch location can cause enough disruption to get a batter out in front of pitch and induce a weak groundball.
In other words, each pitch must have a purpose, either to setup a future pitch or to take advantage of hitters' tendancies. That's where having a good pitching strategy can play a big role in the success of a pitcher.
After the fastball, the changeup is the second most important pitch for pitchers to learn. The changeup is meant to disrupt a hitter's timing once he's grown accustomed to seeing power pitches.
Yet the changeup is not the only way to give hitters a different look. Here are 8 essential baseball pitching grips every player should know:
Many of the problems that youth and high school pitchers have are related to lack of core strength and flexibility. The core is the center of all movement. And when a pitcher throws, the first thing that gets activated is his core. If this area is weak, then forces are not efficiently transferred from the legs, to the hips to the trunk and finally the shoulder, the elbow and eventually to the ball.
Remember, the body works as a kinetic chain. Forces and energy begin as the pitcher strides out and are then transferred back up the chain when he lands. If his balance is poor or if he lands off-center or doesn't set up a strong base upon landing, then this will effect his velocity, his control and will add stress to his arm.
Having a plan is what separates serious high school pitchers from those who are looking for an easier way. There are only so many spots on a high school team for pitchers. And there are fewer college scholarships. Those who prepare and put in the time are the ones who get rewarded. And when you are prepared, success is more easily achieved.
A plan can also work for Little League players who have the desire on their own to spend even a one-half hour, 3 times a week getting stronger while working on their throwing mechanics.
Here's the deal: If you don’t have a plan you are like a ship without a rudder. And that's not a recipe for success in the game of baseball, or in the game of life.
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