It’s not easy. It takes certain abilities. It requires work ethic and perseverance. It demands mental toughness. It takes knowledge which can only be acquired through opportunity and experience. And if you lack confidence, self esteem and belief, well then to be brutally honest, you have no shot.
To make it to the top is the ultimate goal. It’s what we all dreamt of as kids and what our current youth dreams of on the daily. Having been truly fortunate to make it briefly and spend the number of days I did in a professional clubhouse, I can confidently tell you that it’s most definitely possible and you can beat the odds but everything stated in the first paragraph is just the tip of the iceberg.
I’m a pitcher, so naturally I notice and pay attention to what’s being taught out there and what’s not being taught. I notice the neglect both on and off the field and the lack of preparation versus the approach to preparation.
I’m realizing there aren’t many “Pitching” coaches out there but what we do have is a growing number of “Throwing” coaches. With video analysis and the exploding obsession with velocity, it’s becoming much easier to attain short term success by tightening up some things in a delivery and letting it rip.
Truth is, velocity will open some doors that command at a lower velocity will not. Most recruiters and scouts won’t give a player a second look if the gun reading doesn’t start with a 9. So with this absolute, if you’re not working on getting the most out of your body, then your not working towards that goal.
Now, let’s talk big picture…Having spent nearly 20 years in professional baseball and having plenty of teammates who had amazing arms and getting to coach absolute studs right out of the draft, the ones who made it, or will make it, are the ones who could command that 90+. These guys came into professional baseball with the ability to throw strikes. The guys who struggled to throw strikes outing after outing and couldn’t command the bottom of the zone were weeded out, no matter what the radar gun said. I can tell you with 100% certainty, that if you can’t EXECUTE, throw the pitch where you want to when you want to, YOU WILL NOT MAKE IT!
We are seeing an overwhelming focus on throwing with little to no work on pitching. Having seen what I have seen and knowing what it takes, unless they can touch triple digits, we need to help these kids learn to pitch just as much as we help them learn how to throw hard.
Throwing is physical…Pitching is mental.
If your goal is to simply get a scholarship and possibly a signing bonus, then have at it, run into your throw, snap your head to the point where you have no idea where the ball’s going, throw under 50% strikes, walk a hitter per inning and light up that radar gun. Go get’em!
But if your goal is to get as far as you can in this game, start learning your craft, develop three pitches that you can command to both sides of the plate, learn how to read hitters, make them uncomfortable and get them to hit the ball where you want them to, learn how to prepare in between appearances and learn to compete like no other.
Get strong, train hard, get the most out of your body, take care of your body but never forget this…YOU MUST BE ABLE TO THROW STRIKES, HIT THE GLOVE 2 OUT OF 3 PITCHES, COMPETE MENTALLY AND STAY HEALTHY, IF YOU ARE GOING TO ACHIEVE YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL.