Become a Pitcher NOT a Thrower
by Doug Besherse
In the fall of 1981 in Tampa Florida I was setting beside a pitcher in the bull pen during a college game. We were watching another pitcher on the team get shelled which was becoming common place for said pitcher.
I made the comment "I don't get it. He has the best stuff on the team but gets killed on a regular basis." The other pitcher smiled at me and said "that's because he's a thrower, not a pitcher."
That was the first time I had ever heard that phrase. It was a great description of what was happening. This guy had a really good fast ball and he thought he could just throw it by these batters, just like he had done his whole career, but he couldn't.
In many ways that was the starting point for The Strike Plate® pitching trainer. This was the point in my life where I saw first hand on a daily basis, what a roster full of great hitters were capable of.
I was reminded of the 1981 event while reading the 3/25/16 issue of Collegiate Baseball which had an lengthy interview with Ken Macha, former big league manager of the Oakland A's and Milwaukee Brewers.
In part he talks about the irrelevance of velocity alone.
Here that portion of the article:
With so much emphases being put on gaining velocity these days it's refreshing to see a coach the caliber or Macha address this.
I teach players that even if you can throw an upper 90's fast ball, at some point you will get to a level where virtually every batter on the opposing team can spin on it and hit it over the fence. You cannot just rare back and try to blow it by them anymore.
Additionally having great stuff does not equal strikes or more importantly outs. However having good stuff, changing speeds, throwing inside the strike zone with good location does equal outs which is the most important thing and in a nutshell that's the difference between a pitcher and a thrower.
Pitchers in training need to be taught all this from as early an age as possible. It's as much a mindset as anything.
I developed The Strike Plate® so that young players would grasp the idea of throwing away from the middle of the strike zone, developing to the point where it becomes the only natural thing to do.