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View Full Version : "Don't aim your pitches"--Huh?


CookingWithGas
05-02-2006, 09:08 PM
I am managing a little league team, and in my reading about coaching I have seen twice in the last week the admonition to pitchers, "Don't aim your pitches." But in neither case did they explain what that means. They can't possibly mean, "Don't pay any attention to where you want the ball to go."

I get the impression this is some longtime baseball adage, but what the heck does it mean?

RealityChuck
05-02-2006, 09:10 PM
Basically, don't overthink. Throw the ball, and don't get wrapped up in being concerned about what part of the plate you're aiming for.

dolphinboy
05-02-2006, 09:12 PM
I think they are referring to pitchers who try and place the ball as opposed to just letting it go. If you consciously try to aim a pitch it rarely goes where you want it to anyway and you end up taking the speed off the ball. Reaching back and letting it fly will get you the speed you need and you can learn to control the pitch at the same time.

Try to aim a pitch and it ends up right in the middle of the strike zone ready to be launched out of the park...

Colibri
05-02-2006, 09:23 PM
How can you think and hit at the same time?

-Yogi Berra

It's just the pitching equivalent.

silenus
05-02-2006, 09:28 PM
Ya gotta see through your third eye, like the iguanas of Tierra del Fuego.

Joe Reardon: He walked 18.
Larry: New league record!
Joe Reardon: Struck out 18.
Larry: Another new league record! In addition he hit the sportswriter, the public address announcer, the bull mascot twice...
[Joe laughs]
Larry: Also new league records! But, Joe, this guy's got some serious shit.

saoirse
05-02-2006, 10:04 PM
If a kid uses proper form, the ball should go over the plate, no problem. I don't know how it is in your little league, but my boys never got to throw sliders or curves, since they don't allow those pitches at the the level they went out (not that it was strictly enforced, but I wasn't about to tell them to break the rules). It's more important to work on how your body is moving than on how you want to release the ball, which is what "aiming" comes down to.

asterion
05-02-2006, 10:14 PM
Out of curiosity, was this a "don't throw sliders and curves" rule because the kids couldn't generally hit them or because throwing pitches like that can hurt young arms?

RaftPeople
05-02-2006, 10:14 PM
I am managing a little league team, and in my reading about coaching I have seen twice in the last week the admonition to pitchers, "Don't aim your pitches." But in neither case did they explain what that means. They can't possibly mean, "Don't pay any attention to where you want the ball to go."

I get the impression this is some longtime baseball adage, but what the heck does it mean?

Use the entire motion (legs/body/shoulders/arm) as it has been practiced and feels natural and the ball will go where you want it. If you alter that in an attempt to control the ball, you will actually end up with less control (because it's not what you practiced, etc.)

Unsolicited advice from a former pitcher (high school, not pros or anything):
The best advice I ever got when pitching was that my left shoulder points to where the ball will go (I'm right handed). As I stood on the mound, if I was positioned sideways with my left shoulder pointed to the plate at the start of my motion, then there was a high probability the ball was going to end up there also. On the other hand, if my left shoulder was pointing off by 10 or 15 degrees, then the ball rarely went over the plate. Certainly there is more to it than this one thing (like following through properly), but it seemed to be the foundation for the rest of the motion.

CookingWithGas
05-03-2006, 09:23 AM
I don't know how it is in your little league, but my boys never got to throw sliders or curves, since they don't allow those pitches at the the level they went out Nothing in our local rules discuss types of pitches. I don't know what LL International says. One book I have says young pitchers should start with only a fast ball and change-up to learn control. Avoiding injury may also come into play.

saoirse
05-03-2006, 01:08 PM
Nothing in our local rules discuss types of pitches. I don't know what LL International says. One book I have says young pitchers should start with only a fast ball and change-up to learn control. Avoiding injury may also come into play.

I think it was mainly to keep the HBPs down, both to cut down on injuries and to keep the focus on hitting, running and fielding.

brianjedi
05-03-2006, 01:18 PM
Nothing in our local rules discuss types of pitches. I don't know what LL International says. One book I have says young pitchers should start with only a fast ball and change-up to learn control. Avoiding injury may also come into play.

Throwing curves and sliders too early in a pitcher's development can cause serious elbow problems (witness the number of guys getting Tommy John surgery in their 20s.)

Most experts now recommend that pitchers not start throwing breaking balls until high school, and even then to mix them in slowly and infrequently.

RaftPeople
05-03-2006, 02:15 PM
Throwing curves and sliders too early in a pitcher's development can cause serious elbow problems (witness the number of guys getting Tommy John surgery in their 20s.)

Most experts now recommend that pitchers not start throwing breaking balls until high school, and even then to mix them in slowly and infrequently.

In addition to that, there is at least one study that shows pitchers with an easier load early in their pro career (even to the point of no pitching) last much longer. Apparently tendons/muscles etc. are still developing in the early 20's.