Monday, December 27, 2010

Switch Pitchers in the News



Switch-pitcher comes to Rays with 42nd pick
Despite rare ability, Vettleson likely to make name in outfield
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com  06/08/10

ST. PETERSBURG -- Drew Vettleson, a high school outfielder/pitcher from Silverdale, Wash., became the third and final pick of the Rays on Monday, Day 1 of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

The Rays selected Vettleson with their "sandwich pick," which was the 42nd overall of the Draft.

Vettleson is also a high school player and possesses the rare ability of being able to throw right-handed and left-handed. Though he can touch 90 mph on the mound, he is known as a better outfield prospect with power potential from the left side.

Read More


Switch-pitcher: More than just a novelty act
Carla Swank | Rivals High  April 19, 2010

New York Yankees pitcher Pat Venditte got the attention of the sports world last month when he became baseball's first "switch-pitcher" in a spring training game - throwing to batters as both a right-hander and left-hander.
Drew Vettleson, a senior at Central Kitsap High in Silverdale, Wash., was watching more closely than most.
Vettleson is an ambidextrous pitcher, too.
Read More 

How do you beat a guy who throws righty and lefty? You don't.
by Rick Reilly | ESPN The Magazine

You'll probably never witness an unassisted triple play in your lifetime, right? (There have been only 14.) Or see an intentional walk with the bases loaded. (Six.) Or watch one player hit two grand slams in an inning. (Once.)
But you can see something right now that hasn't been around in baseball since the late 1800s: a switch-pitcher.
His name is Pat Venditte, he's 23, and he's pro baseball's only ambidextrous pitcher.

Yanks fond of switch-pitching Venditte
In relief of Sabathia, 24-year-old gets results from both sides
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com  March 30, 2010
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Listing Pat Venditte's name on the Yankees' travel roster on Tuesday was born out of curiosity for manager Joe Girardi, who has been scouring the organizational reports on the switch-pitcher with a certain level of fascination.
Yet for the 24-year-old Venditte, coming out of the bullpen to relieve CC Sabathia against the Braves represented an opportunity to showcase his stuff -- with both arms -- while hopefully demonstrating that his career is more than just a popular Minor League gimmick.
Read More 

Girardi intrigued by 'switch-pitcher'
Venditte likely to appear in Yanks' game against Braves
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com  March 29, 2010

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Manager Joe Girardi does not usually have input on which Minor Leaguers accompany the Yankees on Spring Training road trips. This spring, however, Girardi made one special request.
Pat Venditte, the ambidextrous "switch-pitcher," will accompany New York to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Tuesday for a 1:05 p.m. ET split-squad game against the Atlanta Braves on MLB.TV. There is a good chance that Girardi will call on Venditte to pitch in his first Major League Spring Training game.
"I've wanted to see it all spring," Girardi said. "I think it's interesting."
Read More 


Switch-Pitcher Venditte Impressing Fans but Not Many Scouts
By ALAN SCHWARZ | NY Times June 13, 2009
CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Yankees, whose bullpen is among the worst in the American League, have two arms in Class A ball leading the minor leagues in saves. The left-handed one has kept hitters to a .121 batting average; the right-handed one has not walked anyone in 20 innings. This would all be rather straightforward, except that both arms belong to the same body.
Pat Venditte, the only switch-pitcher in professional baseball, is one of the most dominant — and well-known — players in the minor leagues. National news organizations travel to Charleston, S.C., to revel in his uniqueness. Fans see his statistics and dream of matchup mayhem. But experienced talent evaluators see not just one underwhelming fastball, but two. Sorry, kid.
Read More


The Switch Pitcher
Minor League Ball Player Blessed With 2 Great Arms, Prompts New Pitching Rule
By Jim Axelrod, CBS Evening News  May 21, 2009
Pat Venditte is a pitcher who puts on his pants just like every other minor leaguer. But when it comes to his glove …

It's a six-fingered glove," Venditte said. "There's two thumbs. There's one pocket here in the middle." 

That's when you realize he is unlike any pitcher you've ever seen, blessed not with one great arm, but two, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod.

The reversible glove allows him to switch pitch in a moment's notice, throwing a 90 mile-an-hour fastball with his right arm, then unleashing a collection of baffling curves with his left. 


Baseball Players Change-Ups
CBS Evening News  July 15, 2008

Ambidextrous Staten Island Pitcher, Pat Venditte pitches lefty and righty. Brooklyn's switch-hitting catcher, Ralph Henriquez attempted to switch accordingly. This charade went on for several minutes.
Watch the Video


Creighton's Venditte is two pitchers in one
by Sam Miles, Columbia Missourian, May 6, 2008 

It’s the eighth inning of Tuesday’s Creighton-Missouri game, Creighton leading 4-1, and Bluejays pitcher Pat Venditte has just made Tigers outfielder Ryan Lollis look silly. Pitching left-handed and releasing the ball from a point just above sidearm, Venditte fired three consecutive nasty pitches, the final one resulting in a swing, a miss, and a return to the dugout for Lollis. He never had a chance. 


Pat Venditte is an oddity. He’s a pitcher, he’s ambidextrous, and he’s very good, good enough to be drafted by the Yankees last year. Because batters tend to hit considerably better when facing a pitcher throwing from the opposite side, Venditte always has the matchup advantage. When a left-hander comes to bat, he pitches left-handed, and when a right-hander is up, he throws right-handed. According to the Creighton media guide, he’s a natural right-hander who has been able to throw with both arms since he was three years old.

Ambidextrous Venditte turning heads 
Creighton University reliever a complete bullpen in himself
By Conor Nicholl / MLB.com  May 18, 2007

NORMAL, Ill. -- At first, Pat Venditte resembled hundreds of other collegiate pitchers. The Creighton University reliever entered Saturday's contest against Illinois State and started throwing left-handed. Every pitch was tossed sidearm and crossed the plate at 78-81 mph.

After a few throws, however, Venditte made a remarkable transformation.

He moved his glove to his left hand and started throwing right-handed. This time, every pitch was thrown over the top and hit the catcher's mitt at 88-91 mph. He repeated the process to three hitters, hitting a batter right-handed, coaxing a double play left-handed and striking out another with a right-handed curveball.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bob Feller - 'Rapid Robert'

#19 Cleveland Indians
nicknamed "The Heater from Van Meter", "Bullet Bob", and "Rapid Robert"
November 3, 1918 – December 15, 2010 (aged 92)

Position: Pitcher
Bats: Right

Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0"

Weight: 185 lb.


Bob Feller grew up on a farm in Iowa, and in his spare time he loved playing baseball. His father built a baseball diamond on the farm that he named "Oak View Park", then recruited his son and others to play for a team he named The Oakviews.


Feller was signed at age 16, by scout Cy Slapnicka for $1 and an autographed baseball. What a steal. Known for his high leg kick, this All-star pitcher could bring the heat - throwing the fastball over 100 mph. Feller credited his arm strength and ball speed to milking cows, picking corn, and baling hay.


Career Highlights
- Winningest pitcher in Cleveland Indians history (266 victories)
- 8-time All star
- Inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1962
- Record:   266–162
- Strikeouts: 2,581

Bob Feller - Wikipedia 


Bob Feller Museum 


Bob Feller Stats and History 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Three pitches for Little Leaguers

Forget about throwing the curveball when you are 9 years olds. Here are three pitches that a Little League pitcher can use to keep hitters off balance and mess up their timing.

1) 4-seam fastball
2) 2-seam fastball
3) changeup

These pitches can be thrown with the same arm angle and speed. The key is to locate the pitches on the corners or low in the zone for strikes.

4-seam Fastball - The Heater
Use the 4-seam fastball on most of your pitches. Throw the fastball on the inside or outside corner for strikes. If they start fouling it off, then switch to the two seam fastball.

2-seamer - The Sinker
Hitters have trouble tracking the movement of a 2-seam fastball, especially when thrown by a lefty pitcher. The 2-seamer thrown toward the middle of the plate, by a lefty, can run low and away from a right handed hitter. The pitch will run to the outside of a left-handed hitter, when thrown by a right-handed pitcher.

Cy Young award winner Félix Hernández throws a fastball that has been clocked at 100 mph, although he does not rely entirely on overpowering velocity. Instead he uses a two-seam fastball, which comes in a bit slower but with more movement and the ball sinks as it approaches the batter. (Wikipedia)

The changeup - Keeping the hitter off balance
The chageup works great for keeping a hitter guessing and makes them look silly when they lunge at the slow moving ball. The pitch is thrown with the same arm motion as the fastball, but using a loose three finger grip.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pat Vendetti - Ambidextrous Pitcher is Double Threat


by Kevin O'Donnell, FOX 13 Tampa Bay
TAMPA - Pat Vendetti causes a lot of double takes. He's not a twin, but he's two different pitchers -- actually ambidextrous. He started at the age of three.
"It was my Dad's idea," Vendetti said. "He's been working with me ever since I started. He's been very supportive of me and I wouldn't be here without him today. I'm very appreciative of that."
For Vendetti, throwing with both arms comes natural. What makes it easier is his specially designed six-finger, two-pocket glove.
"It's a six-fingered glove," he says. "Two-thumbed glove with the pocket in the middle. You just kind of catch the ball over here, your makeshift pocket on either side. Depending on which hand you are catching with."


In 2010, Vendetti was one of the top relievers for the Tampa Yankees with an ERA of 1.84 in 24 games.

Little Leaguer's Elbow

WHAT IS LITTLE LEAGUER'S ELBOW?

Little Leaguer's Elbow is pain on the side of the elbow that is closest to the body. In Little Leaguer's Elbow, the growth plate is irritated or inflamed. This problem is often caused by overuse of the throwing arm by pitchers.

The most important treatment for Little Leaguer's Elbow is to not throw if the growth plate is inflamed. Rest the arm and see a doctor for treatment.

Read more

Source: University Sports Medicine, University of Buffalo

HOW CAN LITTLE LEAGUER'S ELBOW BE PREVENTED?
The best way to prevent Little Leaguer's Elbow is to limit the amount of throwing a player does. Since this problem occurs the most in young pitchers, there are guidelines for how many pitches or innings a child can throw in a week.

Even without overuse, poor throwing mechanics can lead to arm injury, so it is important to learn proper throwing techniques from an experienced coach.


Little League Pitch Count Limits and Mandatory Rest Rules Remain in Place for 2011
In an effort to stem the alarming increase in elbow and shoulder injuries among young baseball pitchers,  Little League Baseball adopted important new rules in 2007 to limit the number of  pitches a pitcher can throw in a game and how much rest he must take pitching appearances.

Read more


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Throwing Strikes - Changeup

The changeup is thrown with the same arm angle and speed as a fastball, but using a looser three-finger grip instead of two. Players with small hands often use the claw grip, while players with larger hands can use a circle changeup. 


According to pitcher Steven Ellis - The key to an effective changeup is deception. A changeup must look like a fastball, but come in slower and lower in the strike zone.


A fastball is held tightly with the index and middle fingers. With the change up, you hold the ball lightly, keeping the wrist loose, and there is more contact with the ball to create friction. 


Think fastball arm speed
The arm speed of a changeup should be the same as a fastball. Young pitchers tend to slow their arm motion down and good hitters will soon recognize the pitch as being off speed. A good changeup looks like a fastball on release, but is 8-10 mph slower than the pitcher's fastball. The slower velocity of the ball causes a hitter to slow down their swing and lunge at the ball. The result is often a swinging strike, foul ball, or a weakly hit ball put into play for an out.


In addition to the unexpectedly slow velocity, the changeup can also have a significant amount of movement, which can bewilder the batter and throw off their timing. The best changeups utilize both deception and movement.

How To Throw Changeup - Steven Ellis
Usually, with a fastball, you have 100 percent of your strength in these two fingers, the index and middle fingers. You take 50 percent of that strength away by removing the index finger. So you're holding the ball real lightly. ... Your wrist is real loose. The ball is real loose in your hand. And you just throw a fastball.

ViewDo: How to Throw a Changeup (video)

...


A fool for you: Changeup an effective weapon

Off-speed pitch that looks like a fastball can mess with hitters


Video of Jason Vargas talking about how he uses his changeup

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ambidextrous Coach - Joe Vavra

Joseph Alan Vavra
Born: November 16, 1959 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Bats: Left
Throws: Right or Left
Positions: 2B, 1B, SS, 3B, OF, C
College: University of Wisconsin-Stout


Joe Vavra, htting coach for the Minnesota Twins can throw right- or left-handed. This talent comes in handy when throwing batting practice. 



Vavra threw right-handed as a player, going from Wisconsin-Stout to the Dodgers' organization and reaching Class AAA.
At age 11, he began toying with throwing left-handed, too. He tried it only once in a game, pitching to one hitter in an amateur contest and inducing a ground out. (source: StarTribune.com)


Twins fail first test vs. lefties | StarTribune

SEATTLE - Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra usually throws batting practice with his right arm, but the schedule has taken a strange twist, so there he was in the batting cage Tuesday, pitching lefthanded.
Vavra is ambidextrous, an uncommon bonus at a time like this.
The Twins don't have a lefthanded batting practice pitcher, and they're in the process of facing six lefties in a row.


Joe Vavra - Wikipedia


Joe Vava - Managing and Coaching History



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Throwing Strikes - The Curveball

Curveball - The curveball is a type of pitch in baseball thrown with a characteristic grip and hand movement that imparts forward spin to the ball causing it to dive in a downward path as it approaches the plate. (Wikipedia )


Explains the curveball grip and throwing technique.


When Should Young Players Start Throwing a Curveball?



One thing that I've noticed in my 15 years working with pitchers is that there are more pitchers who hurt themselves from throwing fastballs due to poor mechanics or because they aren't functionally strong or because their workloads are too high - than ever hurt themselves throwing curveballs.


Any one pitch thrown with the proper mechanics is not going to hurt your arm. Any pitch thrown with improper mechanics can and will lead to arm problems. (www.hardballacademy.com)

Know when to throw the curveball


Once a Little League player learns the curveball, they fall in love with the pitch. When they start striking out hitters with the breaking ball, they tend to throw the pitch too frequently in games - in the wrong situations. Some tournament players throw the curveball on 70-80% of their pitches. This pitch can be very effective against young hitters who don't see the curveball in league play, but it doesn't work as well  against a skilled hitter who can lay off the pitch or blast it into the outfield.

Ask your pitching coach when to use the curveball. You want to reserve the pitch for special situations. Don't use it on a batter who is not going to swing at any pitches.

If you have two strikes on a hitter with the 0-2 count, then forget about throwing a breaking ball. Throw the fastball low and away. Lots of young pitchers try throwing a curveball is this situation, but will leave the pitch hanging over the plate - resulting in a hit to the outfield. This happened several times in the Little League World Series.

Remember, the primary pitch should be a good four-seam fastball. The changeup is a good second pitch to use in Little League. 



Nicknames for the Curveball
Popular nicknames for the curveball include "the bender" and "the hook" (both describing the trajectory of the pitch), "'Uncle Charlie," "the hammer," "yakker," and "Public Enemy No. 1." It is also referred to as "the deuce" or "number two" because catchers have traditionally signaled their pitcher to throw the curveball by showing two fingers.


The Truth about Breaking Pitches

By Bill Ripken
There are many young pitchers who enjoy tremendous success as 10- , 11- and 12-year-olds. They have a pretty good fastball and develop a breaking pitch that seems to baffle most of their opponents. Unfortunately, many of these successful young pitchers are never heard from again once they move to regulation-sized diamonds. What happens to them?

Pitchers who fall in love with their breaking balls at young ages often risk or even ruin their futures on the mound for the sake of winning a few games that really won’t have a whole lot of meaning in 10 or 15 years. The more breaking balls a young pitcher throws, the fewer fastballs he or she is throwing. Kids develop their arm strength by throwing fastballs. Developing arm strength by throwing fastballs with proper mechanics helps build the foundation for a successful pitching future.



Monday, November 22, 2010

Pitching Velocity

Is pitching velocity overrated?

Yes, maybe. Young pitchers with a strong arm often have trouble locating the fastball in the strikezone. An experienced umpire commented that pitchers would do better if they took a little off the fastball - maybe 3-5 mph and controled the location of the pitch. The best pitchers have success locating the fastball low and away for strikes.

It is more important to locate a pitch, have movement and change speeds. This will keep a hitter off balance and mess up their timing.

My son prefers to have a low pitch count inning - under 10 pitches.  By locating his pitches and changing speeds, he is able to get out of an inning quicker than the power pitchers.

A Little Leaguer can use three pitches to keep a hitter guessing:
4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball and change up (10 mph slower than the fastball).

Add in a splitter or a knuckle ball and watch the hitter walk back to the dugout shaking their head. Remember, a ball with movement is very hard to hit.

Why can't anyone throw a baseball faster than 100 mph?
By Noam Scheiber, Slate Magazine
When baseball's elders swap stories about fireballers, the name that ends the conversation isn't Nolan Ryan or Sandy Koufax. It's one that never appeared on the back of a major-league uniform: Steve Dalkowski. Legend has it that the 5-foot-11-inch, 170-pound lefty threw his fastball well in excess of 100 mph. We don't have an exact number for the same reason Dalkowski, who toiled in the minors in the late 1950s and early 1960s, never made the big leagues: He was too wild to time. 
In the last two decades, baseball managers and GMs have focused less on speed and more on injury prevention. According to Fleisig, whose clinic has diagnosed mechanical problems in professional pitchers since 1990, "[Baseball executives] don't come to me and say make this guy a few miles per hour faster. They say, help this guy stay on the field."
Read More 

Where can I get an ambidextrous baseball glove?

A baseball glove for switch pitchers is available from Akadema

Until recently, ambi gloves were custom made and very expensive ($400 - $600), so players used two separate gloves. Now you can order a high quaility ambidextrous glove for $135 from Akadema or $100 from Amazon. This can be cheaper than owning two separate pitching gloves - plus it's really cool.

My son has been using an Akadema ambi glove for six months and likes being able to switch between throwing arms without changing gloves. The six-finger glove is stiff out of the box, and requires breaking in like other quality gloves. I tried it out and it's fun to use.

The glove doesn't have webbing like a standard glove - which is actually ok since it means you use two hands on the catch. When you get it down on the ground to snatch ground balls it fans out like a large scoop which is really nice. Sure beats the old flattened gloves.
Akadema's Ambidextrous Glove




12" Trap design. Each year Akadema makes a limited 100 gloves for Ambidextrous players.
Akadema website
Information about glove options for young ambidextrous players.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stephen Kenkel - Ambidextrous Pitcher

IKM-Manning High School (Class of 2011)
Manilla, Iowa
#5, Wolves Baseball

Positions: RHP / LHP
Glove: custom ambidextrous glove TPX $400
Bats: Switch hitter

Stephen Kenkel, a high school switch pitcher, hopes to follow Pat Venditte's example and play professional baseball. He says he still has some work to do. Sometimes when he switches sides, he gets confused and forgets his form. Kenkel also said he needs to work on his velocity.


KETV.com feature (YouTube)
Interview with Stephen Kenkel, ambidextrous pitcher - shows him pitching from both sides.


Ambidextrous Pitcher Jeered, Cheered - Sports News Story - KETV Omaha


World Herald honors area baseball players

August 19, 2011
The Omaha World Herald released its All-Western Iowa baseball teams on Wednesday.


IKM-Manning senior pitcher Stephen Kenkel was named to the second team in Class 2A/1A.



Kenkel two-hits West Harrison in Wolves’ victory

June 17, 2011, DBRnews
Kenkel also hurt West Harrison with his bat, going 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two runs batted in. Stephen Kenkel tossed a complete-game two-hitter and struck out 19 West Harrison batters on Monday night, as IKM-Manning claimed its sixth consecutive baseball victory with a 6-4 triumph at Manilla. Read more


Kenkel pitches, hits Wolves past West Harrison

June 10, 2011
IKM-Manning extended its winning streak to four games on Wednesday night, as the Wolves dumped West Harrison 10-4 in Western Valley Conference baseball action at Mondamin.
The win moved IKM-Manning to 5-1 in the WVC and 6-2 overall.
Stephen Kenkel went the distance to get the pitching win. He allowed four runs on four hits and struck out 13.
Kenkel also went 3-for-4 with one RBI at the plate. Read more


Kenkel, Blake power Wolves past Westwood Sloan

July 9, 2010
Stephen Kenkel blasted two home runs, including a grand slam, and Rick Blake added another long shot, as IKM-Manning claimed a 17-7 victory over Westwood Sloan in action during the Western Valley Conference baseball tournament on Tuesday night.
The win was the ninth in a row for IKM-Manning, which concluded its regular season with a fine 20-5 overall record.

Joey Watson - High School Ambidextrous Pitcher

Joey Watson, a switch pitcher, was featured in the news during his junior year in High School.

HS School Team: Harselle Tigers (Class of 2003)
Harselle, Alabama

College: Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, Alabama - 2005

Dominant hand: Naturally right-handed
Glove: six finger custom glove with two thumbs

LHP: 83-84 mph fastball; curveball
RHP: 86-87 mph fastball; curveball

His father taught him to throw with both arms when he was five-years-old. Practice throwing a bucket of balls every day. Started switch pitching in games at 10-years-old.

If he is pitching well with one arm he will usually stay with it until he gets tired, then he can switch and fool everyone. According to the coach, nobody notices the switch since he is so smooth.
Averaged 10 strike outs per game. The coach said that his best pitch is the curveball - on both sides.

News feature in 2002

48 WAFF - Double Duty (YouTube)

Fox News feature story (YouTube)


Two armed pitcher (AU Baseball forum)
I trained a ambidextrous pitcher from the time he was 12 years old. He is my best friend's youngest brother and since his dad knew I worked with pitchers, he had me start working with his son. Joey Watson is his name and he pitched at Hartselle High School and then Wallace State Community College (they finished third in the JUCO CWS his sophomore year). He transferred to UAT and was on the team there, but he never got any time on the mound.

His dad had special gloves made for him that would fit both hands, because he could not change gloves in the middle of a batter, so this way he could change arms if he wanted too. However, he very rarely changed arms in the middle of a batter. Most of the time, it was pretty much set which way he was throwing to a particular batter.
Read more


High School Stats - Baseball America, Preseason Top 50 Poll (2003)
19. Hartselle, Ala., HS (39-8). Tigers return their top two pitchers, RHP Tyler Eddy (12-1, 1.47) and LHP/RHP Joey Watson (8-1, 1.91), along with Auburn-bound OF Blake Heym (.455-4-40).

College Stats - Wallace State Community College - Hanceville (2005)
3-1 record, 3.38 ERA, 14 SO in 29.1 innings



Friday, November 19, 2010

Throwing Strikes - Control the Glove

It is critical for a pitcher to have good glove control. Pitchers who control the glove side throw more strikes and reduce their chance of injury.


This young pitcher finishes a throw with the glove up behind his back - with the body totally exposed to a hit up the middle. The uncontrolled glove arm puts a lot of strain on the shoulder. Blocking the glove, in front of the chest, would help solve the problem.

Problems I see with young pitchers:
- glove side elbow moves behind the center of gravity creating counter rotation
- no glove control; the glove goes way behind the back causing shoulder strain
- yanking the glove into the armpit causing them to open up to early
- glove flops to the side and causes release point to be off

Lack of glove control results in fielding problems:
- no glove protection from a line drive
- glove is out of position for fielding ground balls
- pitcher is off balance, falling way off the mound, with their back to the hitter



Midshipman 2nd Class Tom Van Dam throws a pitch during the U.S. Naval Academy season home opener game against University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Note the glove position. photo credit


How to maintain glove control:
- "block the glove" by keeping the glove out in front of the body
- watch slow motion videos of pro pitchers for examples
- practice blocking the front side in front of a mirror

Pedro Martinez controlling the glove side.

Advantages of controlling the glove side:
- blocking the front side leads to a consistent release point
- serves as a timing mechanism
- creates leverage for a stronger throw
- glove protection from line drives
- reduce arm and shoulder strain
- better fielding position with the glove out in front
- better balance when throwing
- easier to locate pitches
- throw more strikes

Note the glove position of Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux controls the glove side on release

Blocking vs "Pulling the Glove to the Chest" (video clip)
Demonstrates the benefits of "blocking the front side" as used by pro pitchers. Quarterbacks, tennis players and other athletes use blocking the front side to improve technique.

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Suggested Reading

The Importance of Good Glove-Arm Action by Phil Rosengren

Stabilizing the glove arm - with examples of pro pitchers
...

Felix Hernandez wins AL Cy Young Award

Thursday, 18 November 2010
Right-handed pitcher Felix Hernandez captures the AL Cy Young Award. Henandez did a great job on the mound despite the lack of run support by the struggling Mariners team.


Felix Hernandez wins AL Cy Young Award


Felix Hernandez wiped away tears of joy and praised the support of Mariners teammates in helping him capture the AL Cy Young Award.
But the support of Baseball Writers' Association of America voters came through in a far bigger way for Hernandez on Thursday than did most of those bat-wielding teammates. The voters overlooked, in unprecedented, historic fashion, the fact Hernandez won only 13 games in 2010 and chose instead to laud his statistical dominance in most other categories.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pitching Tips

Pitching Tips:
- do dynamic warmups before pitching
- have a plan for each hitter 
- communicate with the catcher and know the signs
- keep the batter guessing; change the tempo  
- take your time, don't rush the delivery
- stay balanced and keep your head steady
- control the glove side - move your chest to the glove
- keep the elbow up and inline with the shoulder
- stay closed as long as possible 
- use the lower body to generate power
- keep the glove in front of your chest 
- follow through with the delivery
- relax and have fun


Practice, Practice, Practice 
- play long toss twice a week 
- do mirror drills to work to improve balance and mechanics
- get the mechanics perfected on the dominant side first, before switching to the other side
- if you don't have control of the fastball, then try slowing down a little 
- after you have the pitching mechanics down  - go faster
- work on developing a good changeup

- get feedback from a pitching coach


Get Help:
- learn from the best - checkout videos and pictures of Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan and other 300 game winners.
- read books about pitching by Tom House 
  (The Picture Perfect Pitcher; The Pitching Edge; The Art & Science of Pitching)
- take pitching lessons from a coach who knows about good biomechanics
- get visual feedback: capture videos of your pitching technique, then have the coach review the video clips and make suggestions




Pitching Mechanics 101

Pitching Mechanics 101 explains how to teach proper pitching mechanics to new pitchers, regardless of their age.

Proper Pitching Mechanics
Proper pitching mechanics are those that allow a pitcher to throw the ball...
   1. As hard as necessary.
   2. With exceptional control.
   3. With exceptional movement.
   4. With exceptional deception.
...while minimizing the risk that the pitcher will experience an injury.