Pitching With Rhythm is Very Important
Pitching with rhythm is very important for pitchers of all ages. It allows them to use their body correctly and efficiently. It creates a good flow to the game and keeps them on track, and it also lets the pitcher and catcher get into a good groove together.
If you missed the first installment in this series about how to pitch with more rhythm you can read that one too, the order doesn't much matter.
Rhythm On The Mound Is More Than Just Physical
In this second article on the subject we want to point out that rhythm doesn't always refer to movements. Sometimes rhythm can refer to the mental game as well.
There are many ways that pitchers can get out of mental rhythm on the mound:
- Frustrated by an umpire
- Coach/catcher taking too long to call pitches
- Coach/catcher calling pitches pitcher doesn't want to throw
- Bad mound
- Sore arm
- Couple solid hits in a row
- Lopsided game
- Too hot
- Girlfriend in the crowd
- A million other things
As you can see, a typical pitcher can allow himself to fall out of rhythm for just about any reason. While we can't change the girlfriend's mind, we can address a few of these other things to make sure they don't negatively effect the pitcher's mental rhythm.
Call Your Own Pitches
We love it when the pitcher and catcher call their own pitches. This article is about much more than this subject so we won't dwell on it too much here, but we'll work on a good article and post it here when it's finished. Follow us on Twitter or join our newsletter at the bottom of this article so you don't miss a thing.
This is a really great way to allow a pitcher and catcher to get into a good rhythm, even if just for parts of the game or certain innings. Even if the coach and catcher are getting the signs in really fast, the fact that the pitcher has no say in what is being called can disrupt his rhythm.
Only he knows how he feels and what he's most confident in, and confidence is a big piece of mental rhythm.
Focus On One Pitch At A Time
It's really not important what the umpire calls if the pitcher is focused entirely on executing the next pitch based on the last one. We work with our pitchers constantly on varying location and speed so we can maximize our chance of getting a swing and miss or weak contact.
The count really is much less important that your last pitch. If the last pitch was high and in (high perceived velocity), you want to come back with something with lower perceived velocity (off speed or low fastball etc...). This approach makes it easier for the pitcher to be focused on what he's doing and less on outside factors.
The umpire, the crowd, the count, the score, the number of runners on base, all that stuff can kind of take a backseat and not be distractions because the pitcher is simply executing based on his last pitch's speed and location.
This is a very simplified version of our pitching approach, but for the subject of pitching with rhythm it's very important.
On the subject of moving the ball around and pitching off of your last pitch, we wanted to bring this tool to your attention. It's perfect for a bullpen session where the focus is different targets with different pitches. Throw at one target and then just keep pitching off of that last pitch. This is a great addition to any program.
Take A Long Term Approach To Pitching
We wrote an article recently about taking a long term approach to baseball in general and it really is a great way to clear yourself from distractions. If the third inning is simply a little card of experience that you can learn from to become better, its' meaning shrinks a little and some pressure may be lifted.
So many pitchers place all of their worries into each moment. The truth is that all of the moments in a baseball game are just opportunities to try like heck to execute, learn, and move to the next one. Overthinking, overplaying, and over-stressing will not make it easier to perform or to stay in a good rhythm.
Players who can truly focus on the trend line instead of each dot on the chart will be players who can keep proper focus and good mental rhythm.
Mental Rhythm Will Make You A Better Pitcher
There's no doubt that getting into a good mental rhythm will make you a better pitcher. The downfall of most pitchers in any outing is when they lose their mental focus and rhythm and the momentum of the game shifts to the offense.
We'll continue to write about the benefits of pitching with rhythm and posting them as we do, please subscribe to our newsletter below to stay in touch!