The three essential ingredients to the PitchPerfectly Fast Pitch Pitching System.
To be successful it is essential that pitchers and coaches understand the hierarchy of the three parts of pitching process. Their order of importance is the order in which they are listed above. Location is the most important. Movement is the second most important. And finally Speed is the third most important.
It is also important to understand that the correct combination of the above will produce a high level of performance.
The most important part of pitching is location. Why? Pitchers who consistently hit their targets will reduce the number of opportunities any given hitter has to get a hit. All hitters have what I call “leaks in their swings”. By that I mean all hitters can handle certain locations of the strike zone and other locations they struggle with. In some situations a flaw in a hitter’s swing will not allow the hitter to handle pitches in certain locations.
For example, hitters who have a long swing or “cast” usually have a leak in their swing (or a swing leak) low and inside. If our scouting indicates that a hitter has a long swing the first place we look to attack is the low and inside location. If they cannot handle this, and are unable to adjust, as long as we can hit that location we will get them out. It’s as simple as that.
However, if we can only hit our locations 25% of the time then the odds are, even though we know what location will get the hitter out, since we will miss the location more often than we will hit it, the odds are we will leave a pitch out over the plate and the hitter will put the ball in play and may even put it in play with authority.
So the first and most important ingredient to the PitchPerfectly System is the more consistent a pitcher is in hitting their locations, the more success they will have.
The second most important part of the PitchPerfectly process is movement. The more movement a pitcher has the more difficult it will be for the hitter to get the barrel head of the bat into the center of the ball. Any time movement can prevent the hitter from contacting the center of the ball they will either ground out of pop up.
Even better than movement is late movement. If the movement is gradual from the moment the pitch leaves the pitcher’s hand then the hitter can anticipate the contact point. But if the pitch appears to be headed to one location and then at or after the hitter commits, the pitch moves or increases movement, this will greatly increase the odds that the batter will not hit the center of the ball.
If the movement is significant enough it will result in a swing and a miss. This is the ultimate goal of every pitcher. Throw past the bat.
There is much emphasis placed on speed. Especially at the younger age levels. I have parents, dads, and even pitchers come in all the time and all they want to work on is speed. But speed is over rated. It is true that speed has an effect on the game. But unlike location and movement, it is possible to counter speed.
My teams tracked everything. We tracked what pitch was called. The location of the pitch. We then recorded the location it was actually pitched to. From this we could calculate each pitcher’s “location percentage”. That is the number of times they pitched the ball to the location we had called.
One year I had two pitchers who were almost identical in the types of pitches they threw and the speed at which they threw the pitches. But one pitcher was very successful while the other pitcher at times struggled. What we discovered is the pitcher that was successful hit her targets a little over 80% of the time while the pitcher that struggled was under 60% on her locations percentage.
I have also had pitchers who threw over 60 mph and then another pitcher that threw in the mid 50’s. The pitcher in the mid fifties was more successful because she had a higher pitch location percentage.
So remember, the most important part of pitching is location. The second most important is movement and especially late movement. The third most important is speed. This is why our pitchers in the PitchPerfectly system spend a lot of time working on hitting their locations. In fact they are to finish every workout with a location drill.
See the PitchPerfectly pitching drills for more information on this.
© 2010 – 2012, Greg Loveless. All rights reserved.