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Friday, January 21, 2011

Protecting pitchers

Today's post is a continuation of yesterday's in which I described the problems and a remedy for not finishing your pitches correctly.  Today I focus on what picthers can do to better prepare themselves for a ball hit directly back to them.  Below are three important tips to keep pitchers safer on the mound.

Finish balanced.  A pitcher who has good balance and body control when they finish has a better chance to react to anything hit back at them.  Falling in any direction after the pitch is a sign that their balance needs work.  It not only will make you a better pitcher, it will keep you safer as well.

Finish with your head up and eyes level.  The eyes see best when level.  Try walking or playing video games with your head tilted to the side.  Very difficult.  A tilted head/set of eyes has the potential for serious injury if the pitcher's vision or perception is off even a little.  Finishing a pitch with your head/eyes tilted is a dangerous habit.

Greg Maddux.  One of the best fielding pitchers ever.
Balanced, head up, eyes level, glove on the hip.
Finish with the glove near your hip.  A pitcher's best protection is his glove.  All pitchers should end up with outside of their glove on or near their glove side hip.  I tell young pitchers that it is similar to a seat belt of a car.  The first thing you do to protect yourself in a car is to pull the seat belt down to your hip and click it.  A glove that ends up at your hip keeps the finish point more compact and balanced but also puts the glove in a better position to quickly get it out in front to catch or deflect balls hit back.  Some pitchers finish with their gloves well behind their body.  In that case, there is no way the pitcher is going to catch a shot hit right back.  They can only hope it doesn't hit their head.

Tomorrow's post:  Long-tossing and "Long-throwing"

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