I always believed that I was the only one who really knew what pitch I had confidence in throwing at that particular time. I believed if I was prepared as far as knowing the scouting report, I had a better chance of pitching well, because I could control the tempo of the game and not have to wait for the coach to relay the pitch into my catcher.
At Jacksonville University, I allow my catchers and pitchers to call their own game as long as they prove to me that they can handle that responsibility.
For example, if I have a young pitcher who is inexperienced and needs to just concentrate on his mechanics, then I will step in and call his game. Sometimes I might have a catcher that is young or just does not have a good feel for his staff or the game, and then it is my job to recognize that and take the game over.
If I do call a game, I need to be prepared in two very important aspects.
- I must know my opponent.
- I must know my pitchers’ strengths and weaknesses.
Sometimes a scouting report is overrated. I feel a coach can be so consumed with all the information he has gathered that he makes the game more complicated than it should be.
In addition, what good is it if a hitter cannot hit a slider, but at the same time, your pitcher’s “out pitch” might be his two-seam fastball?
Do you throw that particular hitter a below average slider, because the scouting report says to do so, or do you concentrate on your pitcher’s strengths and what his dominant side of the plate is? This is a very important question I feel needs to be addressed when a coach is deciding what particular pitch should be thrown at a crucial point of a ball game.
The benefits of a pitcher/catcher calling their own game are two-fold.
- They are gaining valuable experience that will help them advance their career if they are lucky enough to play professional baseball.
- It helps the tempo of the game and keeps the pitcher in control of the at bat. The pitcher becomes the aggressor by saying, “Let’s go, hitter. Get in the box, I am ready to go…”
No matter what you decide to do as a coach, make sure your staff believes in your philosophy.
They need to have a 100% conviction rate when they are on the mound, and remember it’s not the pitch that is called that is always right; more than not, it is the location of that pitch!
“Keep it Simple”
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