The game of softball is always a cat and mouse game full of making adjustments. The best players are the ones that can make the minor tweaks throughout a game when something may be a tick off. Players and coaches prepare for hours upon end for competition but even when you are fully prepared some days it just doesn’t click and that is completely normal. Location for a pitcher is extremely important and if the location is off even a little bit, it can mean the difference between an out and a hit. But just because you may be off a bit, adjustments do not have to be so difficult because the mechanics may not always be the issue.
While talking with a golf pro he once said that when normal people drive they just try and look at the middle of the fairway and aim for that. The average golfer is happy just to land the ball safely somewhere close to the fairway. He says he picks out a blade of grass in the middle of the fairway so if he misses, the miss is minuscule. That to me says so much when it comes to hand eye coordination and self adjusting. His motto is aim small, miss small. That may not work for everyone but it goes along with what I will talk about on how to make sight adjustments when dealing with the pitch location.
Some days a pitcher is stronger, some days they are weaker so the pitches just are not breaking enough, or breaking too much and the location can be just off. Throwing a certain pitch is a combination of strength, release point and mechanics, but if on a certain day a pitcher is a little stronger or weaker it may throw the release point off just a touch. This does not necessarily mean that there is a mechanical flaw, it just means your body is reacting a bit different on that given day. This is where communication verbally and nonverbally between the catcher and the pitcher come in, and even sometimes the catcher just tricking the pitcher into making an adjustment.
For instance if a pitcher is consistently missing in a certain spot, as a catcher you can move your target to trick the pitcher into hitting the location that you truly desire. So if the pitcher is missing down, you may want to move your target up just a bit so that if they still miss down its closer to where you actually want the pitch to be thrown. Same thing can be done in any direction.
Another thing that is very easy for a pitcher to do is change what they are looking at. Some pitchers may look right at the glove, some may choose a spot on the catcher’s body, Pitcher’s have their own system of what they like and are comfortable with. Let’s say the pitcher is consistently missing high with the rise ball, the catcher should talk with them ask them what they are focused on and what they are looking at. If the pitcher is looking at the shoulder on the catcher then they may want to pick a spot a little lower on the body and see if that works. If they are still high than keep moving down the latter.
The reason why I am a firm believer in sight adjustments is because as I have said in previous articles, this game can be very complicated and the best way to succeed is to try and simplify it as much as possible and if you try and correct something mechanically to compensate for missed locations during a game it can ultimately create a bad habit down the road. Why make something more complicated when it does not have to be.
When making these adjustments it is vital for the catcher and the pitcher to be communicating so that they are on the same page. The pitcher has the best feel for their own body and the catcher has the best view of the pitch, the spin of the ball and the plane at which it enters the zone. Honesty is a must between the Pitcher and Catcher when making adjustments like this because if anything is held back is can affect the execution in a negative fashion.
Hand eye coordination is something that we used almost constantly in life and sometimes in sports it just is not clicking the way that you want. Sometimes you just have to trick your body into doing something else. Again, this game is a game full of minor adjustments and minor tweaks and the ones that do that the best are the ones that will end up on top.
|Bryan Ingalls : Bryan began coaching Softball at 19 years old while still playing baseball and began coaching at the college level at 21. He has spent 5 years as an assistant for Herkimer County Community College an SUNY Cortland and one season as a Head Coach at SUNY Canton. Bryan has also played competitive Men's Fastpitch for the last 6 years through the USA and Canada as a Catcher. Currently he is completing his degree in Sport Science as well as constructing a multi sport indoor and outdoor facility in Central New York along with instructing youth in all phases of the game while trying to instill the passion and enthusiasm that is needed to succeed.|
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