Coaching the Beginning Pitcher

This material is an excerpt from the Lifeletics Instructional Manual, Coaching the Beginning Pitcher, written by Dan Keller, founder of Lifeletics Sports Instruction and former All-American pitcher at UCLA. More information as well as purchasing information can be found at the Lifeletics Sports Instruction web site: www.lifeletics.com.

-Ch. 3 Coaching Beginning Pitchers p.35 (60-page manual) Teaching pitching is entirely different than knowing how to pitch. Chapter 3 gives an instructional overview of teaching a pitcher, where to start and how to progress from day one. Beginning pitchers are unique in their approach and response to new and difficult material. These helpful hints will assist you in being an effective youth pitching coach, and more importantly, place the pitcher in an environment where he is most likely to succeed.

STEP 1 - TEACH PITCHING FROM THE STRETCH FIRST

The stretch position is the core movement of the full wind-up. Both the stretch and the wind-up get the pitcher to the balance point. In the wind-up, a pitcher goes through the baby-step, lift and pivot, and leg lift to get to the balance point. From the stretch, all the athlete needs to do is lift his leg to get to the balance point. There are less variables in play, and therefore less potential difficulties. An athlete can focus on the importance of waiting back and moving to the throwing position, before adding the extra variables of the wind up. The bottom line: The stretch position is easier to learn for beginning pitchers.

STEP 2 - LEARN THE RHYTHM OF MOVEMENTS 1, 2, 3

From the stretch stance, break the pitching motion discussed in Chapter 2 into three, easily definable steps. Work to establish a comfortable motion before moving into more detail. The stretch stance has the plant foot directly in front of, and parallel to, the rubber. The feet should be shoulder width apart, with a slight bend in the knees. The hands are held comfortably in front of the chest and the eyes focused on the target. From this position, the pitching motion can be broken down into three distinct movements:
  • Movement #1 - Leg lift
  • Movement #2 - Step and elbows to throwing position
  • Movement #3 - Throw and finish
Go through these movements without a ball, stopping at each point to discuss. Take turns as player and coach, first showing the movement on the mound, then stepping back and observing the pitcher. Next, drill the pitcher with number commands ("dry work"). Starting in the stance, call out numbers to work forward and backward through the delivery:
  • "Stance, #1, #2... back to #1... #2, #3"
Mix up the numbers to familiarize the movements. Next, have the pitcher got through the entire motion without stopping?
Coaching the Beginning Pitcher provides youth coaches with the information to teach pitching safely and successfully, allowing room for growth and enjoyment. Chapters include Pitch Types and Theory, Coaching the Mind, Fundamentals, Coaching Beginning Pitchers (Executable Plan), etc. This material is an excerpt from the Lifeletics Instructional Manual, Coaching the Beginning Pitcher, written by Dan Keller. For more information and to purchase Coaching the Beginning Pitcher, visit the www.lifeletics.com.

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