By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
So you are trying to find a good, reliable, knowledgeable pitching coach for yourself or your son?
Well there are a few things you need to remember when choosing who will be giving you instruction. It is very important to take your time and consider all your available options when selecting a pitching instructor, as there are a lot of them out there.
First, you must consider what your intentions for hiring a pitching coach. Do you want to throw harder? Develop a new pitch? Work on your footwork? Etc. Different coaches might specialize in different areas of the pitching game, and it is important to find a coach that will be able to really help you work at what you want to accomplish.
Look for an instructor who adapts to your needs instead of forcing you to fit his wants. Avoid instructors that have a cookie cutter approach, such as forcing a specific arm slot. Avoid instructors who base their teachings on unconventional or sketchy wisdom. You want a coach that knows how to teach the game the correct way without teaching it the same way to every one of their clients.
Make sure that the instructor is a pitching coach and not just a generalist coach or somebody who has “been around”. Also, be sure to ask him some questions about the game, and listen to the language he uses. If you are having trouble understanding him, imagine how your son will feel.
Take into consideration the age group the instructor teaches. If you are a 17 year old in high school, don’t take lessons from a coach who mainly teaches 12 and 13 year olds. The fact is, younger athletes will need different styles of coaching as well as the need to be taught different skills.
Before starting pitching lessons, ask the coach for a detailed training itinerary for you or your athlete. It should specifically point out the when/what/how of the training sessions, such as when your athlete will work on certain things, how they will work on it, and how long it will take to accomplish.
Also be sure to ask the coach about certain aspects of the game that may pose a problem for your pitcher’s age group. Don’t accept an answer of, “Well every pitcher is different…”. That is true to a certain point, but an expert in the field of pitching should know which parts of pitching cause problems for certain age groups.
Once you find a coach that fits all of your needs, hang onto him! A good baseball pitching coach is tough to find, so once you find one you like, be sure to stay in touch with him over the years.
It may be hard to find baseball pitching coaches depending on what area you live in, but asking other coaches and general instructors can sometimes yield some good results. Also, the website Find A Pitching Coach has a nice directory of baseball pitching coaches searchable by location.
The most important question to ask yourself when selecting a pitching coach is, “Am I (or my pitcher) learning from this coach?” If the answer is no, then there is no reason to be paying money to not learn. There are other coaches out there to learn from, so find one that works for you!
For more information about selecting a good pitching coach, check out this thread on the Let's Talk Pitching Baseball Forums.
Related Pitching Materials
Want to learn more about coaching pitchers and teaching pitching? Arm yourself with the most innovative and up-to-date baseball pitching training available. These related pitching materials from former Chicago Cubs pitching pro Steven Ellis are guaranteed to help you or the players you coach pitch better and reach the next level faster!