Pitching Tips For Starting Pitchers
By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
The starting pitcher is one of the most prestigious positions in baseball. It is also one with the most responsibility. The ball is in your hand every play, and you have control over how the game goes. You set the pace and the tempo, and all eyes are on you every single pitch.
This can be a very nerve-wracking experience for some people. To others, it will come naturally, and some may even thrive off the pressure. Keeping your cool is one of the most important things you can do as a starting pitcher.
Before a game, you should clear your head of all distractions and focus on the task at hand. Your job is to throw strokes and get your team back into the dugout. Don't let any mistakes your fielders might make get in your head. Do your job to the best of your ability, and that is all anyone can ask.
Your job is to take your team as deep into the game as possible. Because of this, you will want to set the pace of the game to your liking. If you like to work fast, you can. However if you like to take your time on the mound, you can do this as well. You control how fast the game progresses. Take as much or as little time as you need during pitches. The play starts when you start, not the other way around.
One trick to going far into the game is to keep your pitch count down. The best way to do this is to stay ahead of the hitters. Don't fall behind in the count, and challenge the hitter. Make them hit the ball. My best games are the ones where I don't strike many guys out, but my pitch count is very low because I make the hitters ground out or pop up. It takes three pitches to strike a hitter out, but only one to make them ground out.
When you know you are starting a game, make sure to get a good night's sleep the night before as well as two nights before you pitch. Also, make sure to eat right the night before and have a good, energizing breakfast before you take the mound. Pitching can be an exhausting activity, so it is important to make sure your body is prepared.
Pitching is all about experience. The more you do it, the better you will get. The more starts you make, the more comfortable you will be on the mound. Having confidence is a huge factor in determining a pitcher's success, so no matter what happens out there, keep your head held high and keep doing your job.
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