Ever dreamt of surpassing Randy Johnson, who struck out over 329 batters in five straight seasons in his prime? Or if you’re left-handed, maybe you’re inspired to someday average an astonishing 5.73 strikeouts per walk, like Clayton Kershaw did at his peak. Whatever your goal is, start working on your pitch now.
It isn’t easy pitching to a target who’s 60 feet 6 inches away. Even the greatest pitchers in MLB history trained for a long time and played many games before they got a good command of the strike zone.
You won’t learn how to throw more strikes and reduce the walks you give overnight. It takes time to be consistently precise. Improve your pitch command by focusing on control, accuracy, and velocity.
Learn How to Control Your Pitch
Cy Young set the bar high for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s the all-time leader in career wins, boasting a total of 511 wins. He also holds MLB records for most innings pitched (7,335) and most games started (815). He led his league to victory for five seasons and pitched three no-hitters during his career.
The secret to his success seems simple. Control, he shared, was what kept him relevant in MLB for 22 years. Indeed, your long-term success as a pitcher depends on how well you control your swing.
There’s no use throwing hard if it isn’t consistent or if it rarely hits the spots. You’ll eventually advance to the major leagues if you can consistently throw strikes, get the ball over the plate, and limit free passes.
Accuracy is Key to a Strong Start
Once you have a better command of your throws, it’s time to work on the accuracy of your pitches. But how exactly do you become an accurate pitcher?
First, focus on the mechanical aspects. Observe your pivot foot alignment along the front of the mound. Start on your throwing hand’s side of the rubber for improved horizontal control. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed on your back pivot foot, not just on your heel, when your knee comes up.
Control arm extension, too. Make sure it isn’t too high, too low, or too far away from the body.
Your mental process is also important. Learn how to block out internal and external distractions to focus on your pitch. Be courageous enough to face stressful situations. Know your strengths and limitations. All these mental aspects of the game affect your confidence and, in turn, your accuracy.
Finally, you have to be in good physical condition to hone the accuracy of your pitch. Good posture and balance are important in the delivery of a clean pitch.
Gradually Increase Your Velocity
The third major factor that defines your future as an MLB pitcher is velocity. Start maximizing your ball speed because major league pitchers are only throwing even harder every year. There’s a rapidly increasing number of MLB pitchers whose pitching velocity is at least 95 mph.
It’s time to bring out your baseball radar gun and gradually increase your throwing speed. Major league pitchers are only getting stronger so start setting personal velocity goals and measuring the results.
Work on your speed and stamina — and make sure it’s accurate — and you’ll eventually reach your goal of being an MLB starting pitcher.
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