I have written on this before but after a couple recent brief conversations, I promised I would go into it further.
I have called plenty of pitches from the dugout (never every pitch though). Always with the intent to help my pitcher on the mound work on developing a certain pitch they need to build some confidence in or to show them how effective a certain pitch/location can affect the hitter and their comfort level.
With this though, there was always an understanding with my catcher that if the pitcher shook him off, he was to go with what they wanted. If they have a plan, are thinking, and feel confident in another pitch, then by all means, go for it. If they believe in a certain pitch in a certain count/situation, they will throw that pitch with more conviction than they will the pitch that I am suggesting.
If it ends up being a poor choice in pitch selection/location, then we can talk about it after the inning is over, or after the game is over and work through thoughts and ideas. With that in mind though, believe this…a pitcher can throw any pitch in any count and if they EXECUTE that pitch, their chances of success are very high. Too often we will get caught up in saying “That was the wrong pitch to throw, that’s why it was a hit” but it ALWAYS comes down to the execution of the pitch. Everyone on the field, and in the stands, may know the pitcher is going to throw a breaking ball and if he throws it where he is suppose to, he will win. If he leaves it up, the hitter should do with it what he trains to do, and he will win. BEFORE YOU SECOND GUESS A PITCH SELECTION, FIRST LOOK AT THE EXECUTION OF THE PITCH.
Now, if we have a young, raw pitcher, on the mound who is so new to it that there is no way they can try to repeat their delivery, focus on the glove and think about pitch selection, at the same time, AND a you have a young catcher who lacks experience too, then sure, let’s help them with pitch selection.
As you all know, I am a strong believer in development. Calling every single pitch for your pitcher and catcher, is not development. If you have a pitcher and/or catcher who has shown you that they are out there thinking, then let them go with it. If you feel that they made some poor choices in pitch selection, then talk through it later. Let them learn. Let them make some mistakes. Let them build some confidence in their own choices. LET THEM LEARN AND FIGURE IT OUT.
It always amazed me when we would get a pitcher, who was just drafted, and he had no idea how to call his own game. At that level, you are expected to be able to do this and when a young pitcher has his hand held every time they took the mound, as an amateur, this is the product. All talent, no smarts. The player who can think, play the mind games and out think their opponent, is the player who will advance quicker.
Coaches, please give the kids, your pitchers and catchers, a chance to call their own pitches. You saying that the pitch you call is the final word, that the pitcher has no option to shake off the catcher, is you saying you have one thing in mind, WIN.
Once again, it all comes down to development. Develop first, win second.