Have you ever wondered what causes poor control pitching?
The obvious culprit, of course, is almost always poor mechanics.
In pro baseball, pitchers aim for a strike percentage of 65% or better. But even for college and high school pitchers, that’s often easier said than done.
Good mechanics linked to good control
Here’s what we know about improving a pitcher’s control:
The act of throwing strikes with good control is a direct result of a pitcher’s kinetic chain of movements that must be tied together with proper timing of all the parts.
Therefore, improving pitching mechanics is the first step in throwing strikes 65% of the time.
Clayton Kershaw is a good example of this:
The reason he’s got such great control is because he’s got really efficient and repeatable mechanics.
13 causes of poor control pitching
Here are 13 causes of poor control that you may not have considered:
- Does the pitcher have good posture and balance? The pitcher should keep his chin over his belt with an erect trunk.
- Is the pitcher tall and fully loaded over his back leg before moving toward landing, or is his back leg collapsing?
- Is the pitcher moving toward landing leading with his front hip but getting his pelvis moving using his back hip? Or is he trying to move using his legs, which will create problems?
- At what point does the pitcher start to move toward landing? Too early or too late? Does the back leg collapse?
- Does the pitcher’s lower body move toward landing prior to hand break?
- Does the pitcher rotate his hips too early? Does his back leg collapse where his back knee starts to turn down toward mound? He should be using a lunge-type move off the back leg.
- Does the pitcher’s nose stay over his bellybutton all the way until landing? Draw an imaginary line upon landing from the ground to the sky – the nose should be on or behind that line. This will indicate whether he is rushing his motion or not where he is not leading with his lower body.
- Does the pitcher land on the mid-line with his front foot slightly angled, or is he landing more toward first or third base? Both ways he will lose power and add stress to his arm.
- Does he land on a flexed leg and does the leg not begin to straighten until just prior to ball release? Big control problems occur when the front leg is beginning to straighten as the pelvis and trunk are rotating. This will indicate whether his stride is long enough or not. Should be somewhere between 85-90%.
- Upon landing, is the pitcher’s back leg nearly fully extended (straight) or is the back leg flexed too much? If it’s flexed, he is losing velocity and trying to get power from his arm instead of his lower body.
- Is the pitcher directing his body sideways so his trunk (front shoulder) is pointing directly at the target upon landing? Is his trunk erect with his head over his belt or is he leaning back with his head over his butt?
- Does the pitcher’s throwing arm elbow reach shoulder height just as his front foot is getting ready to turn and land or is his arm getting up too early or never reaching shoulder height? This will indicate proper timing between his arm throwing arm and his lower body.
- Is the pitcher rotating his trunk before flexing his trunk forward?