Baseball Individual Goals or only Team Goals?

This is a follow up on an article titled “Baseball a Team or an Individual Sport” I had a little disagreement from a former MLB player on this issue a while back. We discussed the game numerous times on emails and also a couple of phone conversations. The conversation was going very well and I was excited to have this gentleman in agreement on how to improve the game. Then I sent him the article Is Baseball a Team or Individual Sport?  This did not sit very well with him at all as I think he had the opinion that I love selfish players. This is so far from the truth and I will explain my view and would love to see a lot of comments.

I love the challenge of giving players individual attention and to set the bar high, but attainable. Coaches, parents and teachers need to bring out the rugged take charge attitude and to expect the most from players and students! We want the players when they are on the diamond to say hit the ball to me, because they feel they are the best. They have the confidence because they have taken 100s of ground balls, because of working in small groups or individual drills.

Our players understand with the with a runner on second base and no outs, our hitter will know that he has to hit the ball to the right side, so at minimum he moves the runner over.  They will do all they can to try to get a hit to the right side. Our players will work hard in practice to do this correctly. This needs to be worked on at practice, and will be discussed in a later article.

What needs to be pounded into each player is they have to work hard to be the best individual player they can possibly be on the diamond. Our players will get there with individual drills, praise, and setting goals. They need to have the confidence that they are the best at their position and can go as far as their ability will take them. That is what a good coach does he sets goals for and challenges each player to be the best that he can be in life and on the diamond! When the individual player feels good about his ability, this helps the team to reach their team goals!

We are going to be pounding in education for our players as they are playing the game. Teachers have to push the average student to reach for higher goals and to work the C student to get the B or above grades! Coaches are like teachers you need to work players as individuals to bring the most out of them. We are responsible to our players to explain the importance of getting their education. Here is an article I wrote on this subject – Education for our Athletes

One of our goals is to improve the coaching at all levels, and I feel we are getting some very good people on our team. We do need to have everybody on the same page on this subject. Big Dog Baseball USA is going to make a difference in how the game is played and how it is taught at all levels.

We are going to discuss the youth levels and what needs to be done to prepare the players for the high school level. I have some connections that will be checked out on teaching coaches and them earning certificates for completion of their programs. Here is an article on coaching youth baseball. Great Information on Coaching Youth Baseball

It is important for the coach to find the best positions for the players to succeed at this level and also at the high school level. Every player should be able to play at minimum of 2-3 different positions.

The coach needs to pound into the individual player the importance of him to be the best player he can be on the diamond. For example if you have a stud shortstop and the team is taking infield practice, he needs to be pushed. Yell out to him and say you have a chance to be a very good shortstop at the next level and maybe all state! Push him to get the ball in the hole and gun the runner out at first! Get excited and say that is the way you play the game! If he has a problem going up the middle, you work him hard as an individual and give him confidence he will improve.

The catcher is working on drills throwing out the runner trying to steal second base. You explain to him when he is behind the plate he has to want the runner to try to run. He dreams about gunning the runner out at second base! You pound this into him that he has to want it! This is individual work on the ball diamond.

Then we proceed to the ball being thrown to second base. The shortstop or second baseman will be receiving the ball. This is individual talent and has to be practiced. I worked all my players on a drill of receiving the ball in the dirt and making a quick snap tag. This was always done after they got their arms warmed up. I would also take my infielders to second base and would stand close to the mound and bounce the ball and they would be expected to catch the ball and make the snap tag. There is a natural tendency on these drills to start the glove low and go up with the bounce and then come back down to make the tag. This is not the way it is done, they need to start high and come down for the ball and make the tag all in one motion. My players were 12-14 years old and were very good at this, because of individual drills. Push them and when they succeed give a lot of praise, laugh and have fun with them.

My first baseman Brett was excellent at scooping the ball out of the dirt, because I gave him a lot of individual work on getting the ball out of the dirt. I would throw him the ball in the dirt from close to the mound and challenge him! This one time he was smiling as I was throwing the ball like a bullet and he was coming up with the ball like a MLB player.  I was smiling and acting like I was getting mad because I couldn’t beat him! This is pushing the player as an individual.

A good coach needs to push each individual player to be the best he can be on the diamond and with this he is helping the team to win. My goal at the youth level was player development for the next levels and for my players to want to win as a team. I coached to win but wanted to teach the players the proper individual and team fundamentals to be good players.

Here is an example, we were in the field and there was shot to third and RP dove and fielded the ball cleanly and made a low throw in the dirt to Brett at first and the runner was called safe. The runner was probably out, my coaches gave the ump some grief and I said I had no problem with the play because our guys made a great play!

The high school level is the same as the youth except you pound into certain players their potential to play at higher levels. In the cage and batting practice you push the players to use the whole field if they want to play at the next level. The coach is constantly on the players to do their best to be all state and say they have potential to play at the next level or above. Push them and you need to hustle, teach and be enthusiastic. Article on high school coaching-Coaching High School Baseball/  Article on hitting program: The Best Hitting Program in America

When you sell the players on the importance of individual drills and the importance of being the best player they can be to help the team win, you have succeeded!

A good coach has individual meetings with his players before the season starts to discuss the player’s potential and what it means to be a team player. You are going face to face with the player and you will say Jeff you are a very good hitter and I want you to shoot for a 400 batting average this year and gun out more than half the runners trying to steal! Mention that he has a high ceiling and has potential to move up to higher levels. It is all up to you how far you can go in baseball. Be firm and enthusiastic in your conversation with all your players. You do the same with all your players and discuss their role, individual potential, and how important it is to be a good teammate and play for the team.

College level is the same as the above but you discuss with the individual player about his ability to play at the professional level and to be an All American or All Big Twelve! Set the individual goals for the player to strive for in the current season. The coach will say to the player that he will do whatever he can to get him ready for the pro game, but he will still need to play as a team. This will be stressed to the player to play as a team, if he doesn’t he will be taken to the wood shed!  Short article on college coaching-Coaching College Baseball/

The professional is next and I will discuss a couple of situations that occurred late in the Cardinal regular season.

The second to last day of the season Matt Holiday got a hit to reach 300 for the season and I think he hit one more time and walked, and was taken out of the game. Then he didn’t play the last game in order to secure his 300 batting average. I had no problem with this because each player needs to set his individual goals at all levels!

Matt Carpenter was sitting on 199 hits for the season and everybody was pulling for him to reach 200 hits! What is so bad about a player wanting to reach 200 HITS in a season? I think it is an individual ambition for a player to do his best to reach 200 hits within the team goal. I think he had 3 games to reach 200 hits and could not get another hit, Cardinal fans weren’t happy and I am sure Matt wasn’t jumping for joy! Watch how the Cardinals play as a team, but with a lot of individual goals and hard work!  Here is the previous article-Is Baseball a Team or Individual Sport?

Big Dog Baseball USA and our baseball family will make a difference in the game on the diamond and also to promote the game to the masses!

Here is some good information – Big Dog Baseball USA Words of Wisdom- Words of Wisdom/

Thanks

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

One person can make a difference but when you get many pulling in the same direction it can create a tidal wave of success!

Baseball a Team or an Individual Sport

I am a firm believer in team sports that there is a need to stress individual talents. I saw an interview with Stan Musial after he hit his 3,000 against the Cubs on May 13, 1958.  Stan was asked what he wanted to do next, and his reply was he wanted to finish his career as the all time hits leader for the national league.

I heard people say that Pete Rose knew exactly what his batting average was at all times. Before and after a hit he knew where he stood with his stats. He stated that he always wanted to see his name in the paper everyday among leading hitters. In them days he would have to be in the top ten in the league on batting average. He also had a goal to be the first singles hitter to make a $100, 000.00 a year and he succeeded!

Years ago an announcer would ask the hard hitting third baseman what he wanted to accomplish this year. His response would be something like I want to hit 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and to hit 300. This was typical for players to strive for their goals for the season. I am sure that when they reached these goals they would not all of a sudden quit trying for the rest of the year.  If they saw they were falling short, it is all the more reason push harder. That is not to say they shouldn’t be pushing hard every day. But MLB players are no different than the rest of us, they will have their good days and they also have some bad days.

I think it is very important to set your individual goals high and attainable. A good example is a hitter that is a career 275-280 hitter; he needs to set his goal to reach the 300 mark! Make this simple just one more hit a week and what do you need to do to reach your goal. This needs to be in the back of your mind.

This can just take some extra and smart work.  Get in the cage and work on a weakness, if it is bunting get to work. Here is some good information on how to improve your bunting skills.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/07/hitting-and-fielding-coach-for-pitchers/ If you are pulling the ball and not using the whole field go to our hitting program.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/the-best-hitting-program-in-america-3/  The most important thing to remember is there always needs to be a purpose when you are working on your hitting! Don’t ever go into the cage or hitting practice without a plan.

A base stealer needs to set his goals before the season starts and he needs to make sure that he is prepared to succeed. This may mean just doing the extra wind sprints or working on your jump. Push yourself to be quicker and have that explosion.

A goal for our pitchers is to hit 250 and that is why I would love to see a hitting coach just for the MLB pitchers.  Here is some good information to help the pitchers to hit in the major leagues.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/07/hitting-and-fielding-coach-for-pitchers/

A starting pitcher should start his season out by saying he wants to win so many games 15-20 whatever is a good goal for this particular pitcher. He needs to also set goals of complete games and innings per start.

Baseball is an individual sport played as a team.  Check out these 2 links. http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/baseball-is-an-individual-sport-played-as-a-team-2/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/drill-drilldrill/

When I was coaching I would look at my players and say Brett I want you to be the best first baseman. Jeff you are going to be the best catcher and on offense I would push them individually to succeed!

Now what you don’t need is a selfish player that is totally consumed with himself. This is the guy that will not hit his cut off or relay man, and has no desire to play as a team.  The player needs to give 100% percent on sacrifices and hitting behind the runner to move him up a base. You don’t want to be known as a selfish player that only thinks of his own personal stats.

The game today is totally different if you ask a player what his goals are, they will only state team goals. We want to win our division and whatever contribution I can make is just fine. I see nothing wrong with a player stating that he has a goal to hit 300 and drive in 120 runs. A base stealer should be able to say he wants to pilfer 50 bases in a season.

How does a player get paid in the major leagues? He gets paid for what he does as an individual player. If the players is a star, he will be paid more that the utility player. This is only right and the money is an incentive for the player to do his best. I think Jim Leyland said I will take all of my players in the last year of their contract and we will win the World Series. Money talks and how do the players make more money, by individual stats.

My reason for writing this article is to stress at all levels more individual coaching. Small groups and keep the players moving and active at all times. Push individually for each player to be the best they can be. I have seen high school practices last 3- 4 hours and nothing being accomplished.  They are running scrimmages and standing around, and the players become bored.

If you are pushing your shortstop during infield practice, say to him, I want you to work to be All State! Each player has their strength and weakness and it is up to the coach to know how to push the player to be the best he can be!  The second baseman may be a glove man and you may push him to work extra hard on his fielding. If he needs to work on his hitting, give him extra individual work. High individual goals that are attainable and with a large coaching staff to help each player, is very important.

The MLB level tell your stud player he needs to work his rear off so he can be an MVP candidate!  Look at the pitchers that are capable and say you have the ability to win 20 games and our staff is here to help you reach your goals. High individual goals and coaches that will work as hard as the players is the Goal of Big Dog Baseball USA!

Coaching Articles for Amateur Baseball– http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/great-information-on-coaching-youth-baseball-3/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/coaching-high-school-baseball/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/coaching-college-baseball/

http://baseballcommentary.com/category/words-of-wisdom/

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

White Sox – Royals Game 7-27-13

I was watching the White Sox and Royals game and a couple of plays caught my attention. One of the plays should not happen in a major league game. The other was a repeat of a play in the post season of 2012 between the Cardinals and the Giants.

The first situation had Alex Rios on third base with less than two outs. Jeff Keppinger is the batter and he hits a hard sinking line drive in front of the Royals right fielder David Lough. He comes dashing in and dives and makes a great catch and is rolling around on the ground afterwards. Then he gets up and throws the ball to home plate, and to my astonishment Rios never tagged up on this play and did not score. I was shocked as was the announcers because this shouldn’t happen in high school ball.

Rios was half way down the line and didn’t have time to get back and tag up to score. What needs to be understood is the ball was deep enough if the ball is caught the runner has to be tagging up or very close to the bag.

The only time there can be some confusion is on shallow pop ups to the outfield. In these situations there is a need to give this some practice time. A good rule of thumb is if the outfielder is coming in and he catches the ball. His motion is coming towards home plate and there is a chance that the runner will not be able to tag up and score.  It is a different story if the infielder is running out to catch the pop up. His motion is going out to the outfield and he has to stop and plant and then make his throw. There is a real good chance of scoring on this play.

The next play had Adam Dunn on first base with less than two outs. There was a ground ball hit to the left side and the Royals attempted to turn the double play. Dunn is running hard and slides over the bag and nails Chris Getz, and he breaks up the double play. Getz got barreled into pretty good and shakes it off. The announcers call it a good all out play by Adam Dunn to break up the double play. I agree that it was a very good all out hustling play by Dunn!

My point is this was no different than what happened in the playoffs in 2012 between the Giants and the Cardinals. Matt Holiday was on first and a grounder was hit to the left side and the Giants attempted to turn the double play. Holiday did the same as Dunn and barreled over Marco Scutaro. A large number of the press was all over Holiday, but it was his responsibility to break up the double play. In this situation the runner on first is all geared up and saying to himself, that they will not turn two with me running!

My next point is the players take care of issues like this on the diamond. I am not sure but I think Holiday got hit by a pitch in the series to even things up. Guess what that is baseball!

Bob Brown

Stealing Third Base…Your 3 Biggest Targets & Other Tips

This is a good article for the player or coach that want his players to be aggressive. You want to know what to look for to give you the edge, in your attempt to steal third base. This article is written by Rick Johnston of The Baseball Zone.

http://blog.thebaseballzone.ca/baseball-blog-toronto/bid/65717/Stealing-Third-Base-Your-3-Biggest-Targets-Other-Tips?utm_campaign=Summer+HPP+2013&utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_content=455004

Rick Johnston

Baseball Pitching in the Future

I have written five articles in the hope of improving pitching at all levels. Before we go any further, I am not an expert on pitching. But I will give my opinion on the subject; this will tie in with my articles on Starting Pitchers as Closers, Drop and Drive VS Tall and Fall, Pitching for Accuracy, Professional Pitch Counts and Pitching Deception.

The goals of these articles are to help our pitchers to have fewer injuries and to be able to pitch more innings.  We are having so many injured arms and I am hoping with these five articles we can make a difference.

The AMTA is the organization that will help us with the massage therapy for our pitchers.  I will be discussing the pitching issue with other professionals, trainers, doctors, and pitching coaches. I want readers to add to the discussion and as many professionals in the field to give their comments and write articles.

We want as many different ideas on pitching as possible. There are so many different views on what needs to be done but hopefully we can all learn and bring something to the table. Big Dog Baseball USA will have different articles from other writers that will add to the education.  We all need to be open minded on the subject and respect other views.

Starting pitchers as closers is very outside of the box thinking, but it has some merits and I will look forward to the comments or articles from others.

Drop and Drive vs. Tall and Fall will have me in the minority. The majority of the baseball people are teaching the tall and fall. In the article I give you a funny story, and a short summary of the difference in the styles.

Professional Pitch Count deals with having a massage therapist in the dugout and in the bullpen. I discuss the advantage of using their services to help the pitchers increase their workload and to also decrease the chance of injury.

Pitching for Accuracy is my thoughts on help for pitchers to be more accurate with their pitching. The main theme is repeat, repeat and repeat some more. I will give examples of how this has worked in the past.

Pitching Deception is about messing up the timing of the hitter. I will show several ways this can be done. I think this article can help the player that has hit his ceiling and can help him move up to the next level. I think there are a lot of ideas that can help the professional pitcher to give the hitters something else to think about.

I have a link for a site that I love that you can video tape your players and be able to dissect their hitting and pitching. They also have a good video discussion on drop and drive vs tall and fall. They use Mark Buhrle and Randy Johnson as examples.

I also have the links to my other articles that tie all of this information together.

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/04/starters-as-closers/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/06/drop-and-drive-vs-tall-and-fall/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/05/professional-baseball-and-pitch-counts/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/pitching-for-accuracy/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/06/pitching-deception/

http://blog.powerchalk.com/2012/06/drop-and-drive-or-tall-and-fall/#comment-2806

Bob Brown

Throwing and Catching

This is a good article for the younger players that are looking to improve. The article is written by Rick Johnston of The Baseball Zone. I cant say enough in order to be a better hitter, fielder, or thrower is to repeat, repeat, and repeat some more. There is a need to use the proper fundamentals and work your tail off. Check out the article-http://blog.thebaseballzone.ca/baseball-blog-toronto/bid/65387/Throwing-and-Catching-Quintessential-Defensive-Baseball

Bob Brown

 

Working the Count Larry Baseball

This a very good article written by Larry Cicchiello on the subject of working the count as a hitter. This is a subject that does not receive enough attention from coaches at the youth level.

I pounded this into my players when I was in the dirt. There will be a lot of teaching coaches at the youth level to improve the quality of coaching. I am getting a real good team together that is real excited about improving youth baseball. We will all be sharing a lot of information that will help the coaches at the amateur level.

http://www.larrybaseball.com/component/content/article/34-free-tips/74-you-really-should-read-the-benefits-of-hitting-ahead-in-the-count-

Bob Brown

 

Pitching Deception

In order to be a good hitter at the higher levels of baseball, there is a need to have good timing. This is why in MLB they have spring training and it takes about that amount of time for the hitters to get it together.

Hitters are taught to look at the release point of the pitcher and expect the ball to be thrown from an imaginary box. The hitter then has to identify the pitch, velocity and what he is going to do with it.

The pitcher is the opposite; he wants to mess up the timing of the hitter. This typically gets done with an assortment of pitches cutters, curves, changes and etc.

Most pitchers have the same delivery and arm angle with each pitch. They stand on the same part of the rubber with each pitch thrown, and don’t vary one bit in approach or delivery.

I want to go back to the 60s and the 70s with a pitcher named Luis Tianthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_Tiant I loved Luis he was a showman on the mound and was always trying his best to deceive the hitter. He would look back at second base before a pitch while in his windup. With runners on he would be in his stretch and before he came set he would bring his hands down in a stop and go fashion, he would wiggle them on their way down. He would get set in several positions, and the hitter never knew when he would pause and pitch. We would be playing wiffle ball later in life and would be copying Luis! My best friend the Big Lew would imitate Luis all the time; Lew was a real good wiffle ball pitcher! Luis would give interviews after the game smoking a big cigar, and was always a very entertaining interview. Matter of fact my buddy the Big Lew is very entertaining and has smoked a big cigar from time to time! Maybe they were cut from the same cloth? Check out Luis– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md2k4NdOPmA

Don Drysdalehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Drysdale was a pitcher from the 50s and the 60s that we all imitated when we were kids. Don was a big man that would throw over handed and would drop down and throw sidearm to right handed hitters. There was a lot of times the sidearm pitches were curves, it was like he was throwing from the third base to right handed hitters. He had many big league hitters’ knees buckling, with his big curve!

I believe a pitcher can move up the ladder by using some of the techniques that I will explain in this article. The current baseball people will probably think I am nuts, but that is ok. I want to with all my energy to improve the game and promote the game to the maximum!

I think we will start with throwing from different angles. If you would talk to a good pitching coach, he will tell you that you can have your ball act different ways, if thrown from an overhand to submarine motion.

We can say your normal delivery is straight overhand and you are facing a right handed hitter in a clutch situation. Just think what his reaction would be if you come sidearm with a curveball. The pitcher has to understand that any time you can get out of the hitters box, change your release point, it is to your advantage. It is up to you to keep the hitter guessing where the ball is coming from. You want him to be confused and to throw off his timing. It will be easy to change speeds from all of these angles. I think the speeds can be changed just by taking a little off on some pitches.

Everybody will be different, some may change angles 10% of the time and others will be 50-75%.  The guy who has the power arm will only do this with maybe 10% of his pitches. But in the back of the hitters mind is the possibility of a pitch being delivered out of the box.

The pitcher who has hit his ceiling may be a 50-75% pitcher; this may be his chance to move up a level or more!

How about some deception in your windup? For example if you are in your full windup and you put a little hesitation before you release. This can really mess with the timing of the hitter! You will need to vary your hesitation, slow to quick. Be like Luis and look back at second base, you can even hesitate in this delivery. How about a real herky jerky delivery, with a hesitation? You need to have your throwing hand start from a different spot. Show the ball behind you and begin your throw from low to high. You can even wiggle your throwing hand with some hesitation. Why not different release points, some lower and some higher. Remember the hitter is taught to look for the box and pick up the release point.

Quick pitch to your hitter and really get him angry. You will want to frustrate your hitters, and get them mad, this works better for you. You will have a play with your catcher where you will call two pitches at a time. The second pitch will be a fastball 90% of the time. What will happen is on the second pitch, instead of going into a full windup you just take the ball when he is in the box and throw the pitch. He is expecting you to look for a sign and all of a sudden here comes the pitch! This can work also if you wait for him to settle in and you act like you get a sign and then you just throw the ball with no windup!

The quick pitch from the stretch can be done. It is basically the same way, you call two pitches and you receive the ball from the stretch position, as soon as the batter steps into the box you get in your set position and throw. You will need to give a slight hesitation so there is no balk called.  He is thinking you are going to look for your sign. The runner or runners will not know what to do; chances are they will have small leads.

The hitter will do his thing at the plate, to stay loose, and if you can pitch the ball when he is doing a little warm-up swing and surprise him. Do not do you windup, wait for his bat to start to come forward and just throw the ball!

Wiggle your glove and cause as much confusion as you can before releasing the ball. Your responsibility is to throw the hitters timing off as much as possible. Use your glove as a shield to hide the ball as long as possible. They will not know where the ball is coming from and if you can use the glove as a shield, this will benefit the pitcher.

I would pitch from different parts of the rubber. A righty is hitting you may get on the far right and crossfire “throw across your body” and throw a wrinkle or a fastball. The hitter will think you are throwing from third base. Experiment with throwing from different parts of the rubber. This will give the hitter a different look and will keep him thinking.

Pitchers use to do this more often years ago and I do not understand why you don’t see much in today’s game. Why not throw a curve and a slow curve? The hitter is thinking curve and he gets a slow curve, he will look like a fool!

The main thing is to change speeds and be as deceptive as possible.

This information should be looked at by all pitchers who have hit their ceiling! You have nothing to lose. Just try a couple of my ideas it might help you get to the next level.  

Here is a good article about Adam Wainwright of the Cards and what he does to hitters. This is written by Derrick Goold of the STL. Post Dispatch. http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/wainwrght-mixing-up-delivery/article_2eb38db3-cd82-590f-b70b-1fa949b3714c.html

Bob Brown

 

 

Drop and Drive VS Tall and Fall

I am a believer in the drop and drive method over the tall and fall. I even had a discussion with a former MLB pitcher several years ago. This gent is a very good pitching coach and is a tall and fall guy. He is very good at what he does and has a big following.

I think back on our discussion and just laugh about the whole scenario. What originally got me going was I asked him how a second baseman should throw the ball to first base. I am old school on this issue; the second baseman needs to stay low. The perfect example is to watch Manny Trillo and the way he threw the ball in the 80s, he stayed low and threw the ball ¾ or side arm. The runner from first on a double play attempt knew he had to get down because of the way Trillo threw the ball. I think it is very important for second basemen and shortstops to be able to throw from down under, and to stay low.

Before we could even get to the issue of throwing the ball, Scott gets into position of fielding the ball like an infielder. What got me going was he gave an example of catching the ground ball with the alligator style. Anybody that knows me, I am not a believer in this method at the least bit. Well we got mouthy on the walk back to the mound. I had my pitching coach with me and I can still see us all walking back to the mound and the look on Walt’s face, still humors me.

I think the next lesson we discussed the issue of drop and drive and tall and fall. It was the same thing to hot heads disagreeing, except I didn’t say too much, because he knows pitching. My strength is base running and fielding, and not pitching.

Scott Terry was the former MLB pitcher that was our pitching coach. Scott is very good as a pitching coach and is firm in his opinion. I just disagree with him on these two issues. I have seen Scott a few times after our lessons and he remembers me. Good Humor! We get along very well now and I hope that he will do some writing for us or make some comments.

I remember when Mark Pryor came up to the majors, and all the analysts were in awe of him and his delivery. The consensus was he was so nice and easy with his motion and had the perfect delivery. Pryor was a tall and fall guy, and I said from the beginning he was going to have arm problems. Pryor had arm troubles his entire career and never came close to what the experts thought he would accomplish.  

Tall and fall is exactly as it says, the pitcher stays as tall as possible to be able to throw in a more downward angle to the hitter. The pitcher then seems to just fall with his lead leg and not to drive on his back leg. It looks to me like the pitcher is using nothing but his arm and not using his body, legs or trunk.  The lead leg is not extended like the drop and drive.  It seems to me they don’t follow through on their delivery; it seems the back leg just drops by their side. If you are following through your back leg should be a little closer to home plate than your lead leg.

 

I like to give this example, a shortstop fields the ball and he throws to first base. He completes his throw and his body follows the ball towards first base. Watch Jim Edmonds play center field and see him get behind the ball and then he goes in the direction of the base he is throwing too. His follow through has him rather violently going towards the base.

Here is another example, Shawon Dunston at the tail end of his career he played for the Cards. He was normally a shortstop but with us he played leftfield. I saw him do this a couple of times where he would be charging the ball with the runner on second and was going to do his best to throw the runner out at the plate. He was in the one way charge and fielded the ground ball and he fired to home plate, and he gave it everything and fell forward after making the throw! Dunston and Edmonds did this the proper way where you follow the throw and sometimes falling forward on your face.  My point is I don’t think the tall and fall guys follow their throws to home plate.

Drop and drive is the pitcher pushing off the rubber and driving out to about the height of his body, towards home plate. His body drops so to be able to push off of the rubber and is driving hard to the plate. The pitcher is using his trunk, legs, upper body and arm to make his delivery to the plate. When you drive to the plate you also release the ball closer to the hitter, which makes your pitch quicker. The perfect example is Tom Seaver Hall of Famer that pitched for the Mets and the Reds.

I really prefer the drop and drive because you are using more of your body than just your arm. I will have the majority of people and the professionals disagreeing with me, but that is ok, I am a big boy.

I can’t wait for Scott Terry to get back with me and write some articles.

Bob Brown