Pitching is art. Yes, I said art.
Don’t believe me? Well bear with me as I break it down for ya.
Art – the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power
Okay, so is pitching an “expression or application of human creative skill and imagination”? Well if it isn’t, then if the count is 1-2 with 2 outs and a guy on first, what pitch do you throw? If pitching isn’t art, then there must be a set number of answers to this scenario, but there isn’t a defined anwer or set of answers to that question. Pitching is different for every pitcher, every situation, every hitter a pitcher faces, etc. It requires creativity and imagination, and that’s part of what makes it so great!
I could go on, but hopefully my point is already made, because we’re here to discuss pitching, not argue over what is and isn’t art.
Pitching is a beautiful combination of physical ability and mental ability.
A good baseball pitcher must physically train his body to memorize proper pitching mechanics in the muscles, as well as train his muscles to be able to execute these mechanics with power so as to throw the ball as fast as he can.
At the same time, a good pitcher must also be able to handle the mental wear-and-tear the art brings, so as to strategically throw the right pitches at the right times to each hitter, and control the emotions that success and failure evoke while on and off the mound.
Both the physical and mental properties are essential to achieving consistent success in pitching. I’ve played with and against many talented ballplayers in my days, as well as heard stories of even better ones, and an overall theme that I’ve noticed is the players that make it to the college and professional levels display an aptitude in both areas.
Buff, talented head-cases and scrawny, raw players with a great baseball IQ and mental toughness don’t usually make the cut for the big boy leagues, and with good reason. If you can throw a 98 mph fastball, but are at risk of being kicked out of games constantly, or you’re a genius at pitching strategy, but are constantly injured, no college or pro organization will find you worth the investment.
The key to pitching success is to excel at both sides of the art, and it’s my hope that this blog will help young pitchers in doing just that.
The aim of this blog will be to provide information in order to help pitchers improve upon both of these areas, mental and physical.
For the physical aspects, I cover categories such as Mechanics & Drills, Physical Training & Conditioning, and Maintenance & Recovery. For the mental aspects, categories include strategy, ‘coachability’, and emotional control. Each of these categories contain posts with my thoughts and advice on the subject(s), as well as links to other resources that back up what I say and sometimes elaborate on the topic.