Want Pitch Recognition Tips & Tricks
Join The Applied Vision Baseball Newsletter!
Learning how to identify the most common pitches in baseball: spin, speed & location is a crucial aspect of pitch recognition. It’s one of the most common traits hitters train in our pitch recognition app.
How can you tell what kind of pitch is thrown?
You learn how to identify pitch spin, speed & location by having a game plan to pick up the pitch as quickly as possible out of the pitcher’s hand and through all three phases of the pitch plane.
Here’s the thing, you only have four-tenths of a second to read the pitch and use that data to execute a selectively aggressive swing on a pitch in the strike zone.
In this piece, we’re gonna break down exactly what hitters should be looking for with common pitches at both the youth, high school, collegiate and professional levels.
Yet Some Arm Slots Are Where They Are Because Of Bad Mechanics
This is the only caviat that Ill throw in here sometimes, especially with youth pitchers the arm slot is artificially high or low because their mechanics are not right.
Again, as I mentioned a few lines ago, the idea is that with good coaching of body mechanics , the arm slot should figure itself out and not really require any coaching.
Throw from a little higher! or throw with your arm a little lower! is BAD advice, and bad coaching in 99% of instances.
For more on arm angles, please watch this video I created:
Again, dont try to force any one pitcher to look like anyone else. Theyre all unique, just like snowflakes.
Lead With The Front Hip
In other words, get the butt out.
As the stride leg lowers, the front hip should lead the movement toward home plate while the stride foot should move downward and slide just above the mound surface.
Sandy Koufax summed it up best when he once said:
Leading with the hip as long as possible and the back leg were two of his keys for pitching success.
The focus for Koufax was to use a strong back leg drive to get his body and front hip moving faster and further toward the plate while his back leg drive provided stability, direction and the driving force of the body toward the target.
As soon as the leg starts down maximum knee height, the pitcher should aggressively drive away from the rubber leading with his front hip.
I like that mental image.
This also serves to get pitchers to understand that the front hip should lead the shoulder.
Think of the stride as a skater lunge to the side.
In order to produce maximum velocity, a pitcher must move his body faster lunging sideways from the back leg to the front leg without stopping or hesitating while keeping his head positioned over the center of the upper body mass from the start of the movement until landing. Not knowing this commonly produces the error of the pitcher beginning the drive by leading with the front shoulder rather than the hip.
Here’s what good lower body mechanics for “leading with the hip” looks like:
Steven’s pro tip
Read Also: Tennessee Vols Baseball Live Stream Free
It Ain’t Cheating If You Don’t Get Caught
Once widespread and successful, spitters were outlawed in 1920 due to their unsanitary nature, and in that year Babe Ruth hit almost twice as many home runs as he had the year before. Some pitchers pride themselves on getting away with this illegal pitch, daring umpires to find where they are hiding the gunk that they somehow manage to transfer to the ball just before they throw it.
Consider, also, the plight of the batter. In essence, he’s given a round bat, pitched a round ball, and is somehow expected make a square hit. Pitcher Jim Poole sums it up this way: “Part of the key to our game is to keep giving the hitters different appearances of the ball. Some go straight down, some fade away, some go in.”
Faced with such uncertainties, batters, like pitchers, may also use physics to alter their tools and better their odds, sometimes illegally. Batters, for instance, may put cork, superballs, or tubes of mercury in hollowed-out bats to surreptitiously alter their center of compression or center of mass. The pitcher, on the other hand, may have scuffed the ball on a belt buckle or ring to change its aerodynamics. At one time, teams put balls in refrigerators before games to make them less elastic when the big hitters came to town.
In the final analysis, it still comes down to the pitcher, the batter, and their individual abilities. As Bob Veale, who played for the Boston Red Sox, once observed, “Good pitching will beat good hitting anytime…and vice-versa.”
Learn Pitches One At A Time
It’s natural for a pitcher to want to learn as many different pitches as possible right away so he can have a full arsenal to keep hitters off balance.
But the best way to become a great baseball pitcher is to learn one pitch at a time.
Start by getting a good fastball down, one that you can throw with velocity and accuracy.
The next best pitch to learn is a changeup, especially for youth baseball players.
Once you have those down, move onto a breaking ball — either a curveball or slider.
Also Check: Baseball Knicker Pants With Piping
How To Increase Throwing Speed
Throwing a ball sounds very simple, you step up to the plate, decide where you want the ball to go, and throw it. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Whether you play sports for fun, or in a league, the information, technique and exercises in this article will help you increase your velocity and improve your performance.
How To Take A Pitch In Baseball
Although baseball is one of the favorite games of Americans, you can still learn how to take a pitch in baseball no matter where you stay in the world. Understanding how properly to take a pitch needs effort, dedication, knowledge of the pitching mechanics, and a fondness for the game. Every direction is for a right-handed pitcher. So, if you are a left-handed player, you can follow similar steps but copy every action.
You May Like: Display Case For Baseball Bat
Gain Lean Muscle Mass
In physics mass is correlated to momentum, and momentum is correlated to velocity. This means that when you increase your mass, your velocity will automatically increase. In the world of baseball, players with larger physiques throw faster with less effort than smaller players.
This is also why fitness is key. You could easily argue that an overweight player is a better pitcher, which is true, but your leg will absorb the extra force as you throw. An overweight or unfit player is therefore highly prone to injury. This means that lean muscle is a better alternative as you gain the strength alongside the weight. It will also mean that your leg will be able to dissipate the force as you throw.
Control is key in gaining lean muscle. Most muscle gains are gradual, but issues can arise if the pitcher gets too big too fast. Make sure to practice your throwing and technique as you gain muscle to be able to control this new momentum you are generating.
S To The Perfect Pitch
- Coach DonUpdated OnSeptember 09, 2013
In working with young pitchers, make clear that good pitching takes good practice. Pitching skills won’t develop by just throwing the ball, but pitchers can learn by throwing at a target, facing a hitter and trying to use a consistent, correct delivery. Break the pitching motion down to six component skills.
Gripping the Ball
Teach your players that holding the ball in their fingertips – as opposed to jamming it into the hand – will help them get good velocity and wrist snap for control . Have your pitchers vary their grips on the seams to experiment with the fastball and change – ups. For example, gripping the with seams causes the pitch to sink gripping the ball across the seams makes the pitch appear to rise.
As with general throws from the field of play, the overhand delivery is the most effective throwing motion for young pitchers. The overhand technique ensures maximum control and puts less strain on young arms.
The pitching motion begins with the windup. Keeping the front part of the ball side foot in contact with the plate side of the pitching rubber, the pitcher shifts the weight to the back leg and takes a backward step.
During the striding motion, the stride or the glove side foot remains closed . The moment before the foot lands, it opens and points towards the plate. When the foot opens, the hips open, which brings the upper body through
Read Also: St John’s Baseball Camp
Regular Season Pitching Rules Baseball
Any player on a regular season team may pitch.
Exception:Any player who has played the position of catcher in four or more innings in a game is not eligible to pitch on that calendar day.
A player who played the position of catcher for three innings or less, moves to the pitcher position, and delivers 21 pitches or more in the same day, may not return to the catcher position on that calendar day. EXCEPTION: If the pitcher reaches the 20-pitch limit while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch, and maintain their eligibility to return to the catcher position, until any one of the following conditions occur: that batter reaches base that batter is retired the third out is made to complete the half-inning or the game or the pitcher is removed from the mound prior to the batter completing his/her at-bat.
A pitcher once removed from the mound cannot return as a pitcher.
Intermediate Division, Junior League, and Senior League only: A pitcher remaining on defense in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher anytime in the remainder of the game, but only once per game.
The manager must remove the pitcher when said pitcher reaches the limit for his/her age group as noted below, but the pitcher may remain in the game at another position:
League Age:13-16 95 pitches per day11-12 85 pitches per day9-10 75 pitches per day6-8 50 pitches per day
Learning How To Identify The Most Common Pitches In Baseball: Spin Speed & Location Checklist
Learning how to identify pitch types is hands down one of the most underrated qualities of elite hitters.
With superior pitch recognition, your ability to judge balls and strikes lowers your swing and miss ratio and increases your hard-hit contact percentage.
Being able to see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand is also how you develop Hitter’s I.Q. and a powerful Swing Trigger.
Lastly, superior pitch recognition gives you the ability to slow the game down, which is how you make the adjustment to pitching at the next level.
If you’re not seeing the ball as well as you can, make sure your pitch recognition is on point.
Read Also: San Diego Minor League Baseball
The 8 Kinds Of Baseball Pitches And How They Move
Watching a baseball game can be deceiving. The viewer cant see the catchers hand signals, nor do they know what type of pitch from the pitchers arsenal will be thrown until later. While we can try to predict what the pitcher will throw next, such as a 4-seam fastball, changeup, slider, or curveball, were not 100% certain until the pitcher has released the ball. Afterwards we can analyze and see why he chose that particular pitch, and if it was effective.
Knowing how well batters hit different types of pitches, then its easier to decide what to throw. If a certain batter has a .100 average against right-handed pitchers who throw changeups, its likely that a well-informed manager will inform this player of that fact.
The more variety a high school pitcher has in his arsenal, the more effective hell be against hitters, regardless of batting average. Here are the types of pitches commonly thrown by high school players, how they move, and how difficult it is to hit them when pitchers perfect their technique.
What Is A Sinker Slider Pitcher In Baseball
A sinker-slider pitcher is a pitcher who relies heavily or even exclusively on a sinker and a slider. Many times these pitchers will also throw a changeup to offer an off-speed pitch.
The sinker-slider combination is particularly effective because the 2-seam fastball moves arm-side while the slider moves glove-side. This gives the pitcher movement both directions at almost identical velocity, which can be very difficult for a hitter to predict.
Don’t Miss: Youth Baseball Cleats Size 4.5
What Direction Should The Toe Face On Landing
The toe should face 1 oclock or 12 oclock for righties, 11 oclock or 12 oclock for lefties.
In the photo below, the pitcher looks great hes at perhaps 12:30 on his personal landing clock.
These are little details that can become important, because what the hips are doing, the foot will do. What the foot is doing, the hips will dothey both work together and against each other, but also indicate what the other is doing.
So, dont forget about the foot and toe when the stride concludes theyre both important pieces in the process of learning how to pitch.
Elbow Angles In Pitching
The elbow angle should be 90 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees, though erring on the side of slightly less, seems to be best for velocity.
Getting a pitcher who has an elbow angle that is more obtuse than 90 degrees isnt as simple as yelling at them to think about their elbow angle, or try to keep it at 90. That really doesnt work.
Rather, what happens earlier in the delivery often has a say in what happens at the elbow when its go time.
Basically, if a pitcher does the following, his elbow angle will increase beyond 90 degrees :
- Has a very long arm backswing
- Flies open too soon
- He rushes down the mound
All of these major problems will be the biggest influence on the elbow joint angle. Its important to address these, rather than the root cause .
Don’t Miss: Clemson Vs Nc State Baseball 2022
Understanding The Physics Of Pitching
Pitching a baseball is a balance between strength and knowledge. By understanding the technique and physics involved in your body movement, you can implement it regardless of your physical state.
Coach Bill Thurston from Amherst College in the early 90s was the first to highlight that pitching velocity is affected by a combination of rotational forces in your body, and if you can efficiently work these forces together it will greatly improve your pitching velocity.
Ultimately, a pitchers velocity depends on how quickly he can transfer energy from the lower half of his body and legs into the rotational forces of his torso, which brings the arm through to release the ball.
Imagine your body is like a space shuttle lifting off into space. The shuttle uses its largest boosters first to build up the momentum, and then gradually smaller boosters are used to maintain and add speed to the shuttle until its released into space.
In baseball, the pitcher drives first with their legs, then hips, then shoulders, arm, wrist, then fingers. This transfers momentum in a whip-like action to funnel and concentrate the energy through your body into the ball.
To improve your pitching mechanics, pick your knees up and rotate your torso and hips to build momentum. A pitcher’s body rotates around the foot he keeps planted firmly on the mound. Keep your elbows up as this maintains the force generated from your torso.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when pitching:
In The Stretch Position Pitchers Have Two Options:
Read Also: Youth Baseball Socks And Belt Combo
Why Is Landing On The Heel A Good Thing
A benefit of landing on the heel is that it gives a pitcher a little more time to get his hips into the right position, where they can full rotate open toward the plate a bit later.
If a pitcher lands too closed and on his toe, his foot will basically be stuck where he lands.
Landing on the heel allows the hips to essentially correct themselves a bit at the landing.
How To Grip A Baseball
When throwing a baseball, the most common grip is known as the four-seam fastball.
The number one mistake when gripping a baseball is holding it too tight, which causes you to lose control of the ball. If this happens to be your problem then practicing with a tennis or racquetball will help improve your grip. Remember good grip, good control.
Recommended Reading: Above The Knee Baseball Pants
What Is A Slider Pitch
The slider is a popular pitch that can be difficult to master. Most elite-level pro pitchers throw sliders as a way to make the fastball more effective, especially when located. The slider out of the hand looks like the fastball especially when not buried in the dirt.
For pitchers – throwing a slider can be harder than it looks, though. Some things about the slider, include:
- The difference between a curveball and a slider
- How a slider pitch got its name
- How to grip a slider
- How to recognize a slider