By Coach Baker, a volunteer pitching coach
For both the left-handed and right-handed pitcher, the act of throwing to first can be enhanced – accuracy wise, if the first baseman presents a target that’s easy to pickup during the look-see, motion towards first, and finally for the throw itself.
When the first baseman stretches the mitt out, holding the mitt UP just about cap high, can help a pitcher target his throw. Also, controlling the catch by the first baseman, and any resulting tag on the base runner is more manageable.
To demonstrate this, ask your first baseman to take his normal posture while holding a runner on. Usually, your teammate will hold his mitt down by his waist or stretch it out chest high. As you go through your set motion and progress – just as you would in a game, take special note of the picture in your mind just before you toss, then note the location of your throw. Now repeat the drill – this time ask your first baseman to HOLD HIS MITT UP just above his cap. Again, take note of the chain of events.
More often then not, you’ll notice a remarkable improvement in your first impression of where your target is, the control of the throw, the resulting control of the catch, and your teammates attempt at holding, or even tagging, a potential base runner.
In fact, this simple discipline by a first baseman on all resulting plays by any fielder’s throw can avoid a lot of throws being scooped out of the dirt – but without the extreme of throws going over the first baseman’s head.
I should mention that at the very high levels of competition, pitchers and first baseman are trained with a stricter regiment. However, for high school play and below, the suggestions just mentioned are both reasonable and manageable
Coach John A. Baker is a volunteer pitching coach in Sprinfield, Mass., who has published a free book for youth pitchers and coaches titled, "A Pitcher's Notebook For Amateur Play," at right. For more information about his book or his coaching services, please email Coach Baker at jab71945 (at) aol.com.
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