I had the good fotrune to have a conversation with big league pitcher Jamie Moyer in Spring Training, when I was pitching in the Chicago Cubs organization. Of course, the first question I asked was, "How the heck do you do it? How have you been so successful without an overpowering fastball?"
Here are some of the pitching tips and strategies he shared with me from that conversation.
You Are Your Own Pitching Coach
The sooner you realize that you are in complete control of your baseball career, the better off you're going to be. That's because ultimately you are the only person responsible for the direction your baseball career takes you. To become more successful, control your thoughts, emotions, and body language every time you step on the baseball field. This control of mind and body will correlate to success on the pitcher's mound, where the pressure is intense.
Challenge Yourself To Get Better Every Day
There is always someone out there working harder than you right now. You can never rest, you can never be satisfied with your pitching performance, and you should never turn down an opportunity to learn from the baseball coaches and players around you. In my career, I've found that I learned just as much from my teammates as I did from my coaches. The key is to have an open mind because learning the art of pitching is a life-long process.
Pitch Aggressively To Both Sides Of The Plate
Being aggressive to both sides of the plate doesn't necessarily mean you have to throw a fastball. In fact, many successful baseball pitchers use all of their pitches to both sides of the plate — and sometimes that can be more effective than a 95-mph fastball right down the middle of the plate.
Always Look For Weaknesses In Hitters' Swings
Whether you're on the bench or on the pitcher's mound, you can analyze a hitter's swing just from watching his warm up swings in the batter's box. See if he is diving into the plate when he swings – and, if so, pitch him inside. If he opens up his hips early, throw him off-speed pitcheson the outside part of the plate. The more you take advantage of studying and analyzing your opponents' tendencies, the better prepared you'll be to beat them.
Throw Your Fastball At Different Pitching Speeds
Don't be afraid to throw a "batting practice fastball" to a hitter to start him off. Take a little off. It will make your "real" fastball more difficult to catch up to when you throw it later in the count. The BP fastball is the most underrated pitch at the major league level. Instead of rearing back and always trying to overpower hitters, sometimes taking a little off your fastball will get the results you're looking for.
If it's successful in the big leagues, it can help you be successful at any level - just ask Jamie Moyer.
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