Many coaches and players overlook the importance the glove hand plays in the ability to control the ball when pitching. When you watch a pitcher, a lot of times all you do is hear the slap of the glove on the thigh and think that the glove is used only as a way to make some noise, in order to perhaps distract the batter, or time the release of the ball.
While it can do these things, the main job of the glove in pitching is to aim the ball. Here are some points to conside when evaluating your pitchers' glove hand mechanics.
What the Glove Hand Does
In the normal delivery, the hands separate and the ball hand moves back and up in a rocker motion. For some pitchers, this motion is shortened and they come right out of the glove.
After this motion, both hands come forward with the glove hand pointing directly at the target as the stride is taken. This motion does a couple of different things:
- The motion of the hands going forward as the stride is being taken helps move the body forward
- It helps elongate the stride
- But the most important job here is the aiming of the pitch
If your pitcher is having problems with control, this is one area I would take a long look at.
What to Look For
This motion happens so quickly it is tough to see sometimes, but it is always there in good pitchers. Make sure your pitcher is pointing her glove at the target with the wrist pointing up, which will in turn point the glove webbing straight up.
A lot of pitchers get lazy, overlooking this mechanic, and then wonder what happened to their control. If the wrist on the glove hand is pointing to one side, chances are very good that they will be throwing to that side of the plate.
Tip: Video tape your pitcher if you cannot see this motion and run it back slowly. Watch the placement of the glove, the angle of it, and the angle of the wrist.
The majority of control problems I see are directly related to these two areas. The release of the ball is incorrect due to the pitcher working on the riseball, (that is another discussion for another time), and the pitcher not using her glove to aim at the target.
Make sure these two areas are correct and your pitcher will have much better control, and, in turn, will be more effective.