Curveball-GripSo I’ve been spending a lot of time recently on a new project, and I’m excited to say it’s finally getting close to being ready for release. I’ll never know the thrill (and pain) of childbirth, but this is probably as close as I’ll ever get… So today I’m just going to share a little bit of what it’s about (without completely giving everything away).

As a pitcher, your first priority should always be developing a good fastball. No question – that has to come first, and this is something I’ve written about before numerous times. See these articles for reference:

Pitch Grips: How Many Pitches Do You Really Need?

Fastball Command: Location, Location, Location

That said, once you’ve established decent command of your fastball, to be a complete pitcher you want to add quality secondary pitches to round out your arsenal. And developing new pitches (or expanding your skill-set) is something that can take your game to a whole new level – just ask Max Scherzer. But if you’re a young pitcher looking to add a new pitch, you better make sure you have a good process…

When I was a kid I was a mediocre ballplayer. I had some raw ability, but I wasn’t a standout by any means. Every day was a struggle, often ending in tears on the car ride home – embarrassing to say, but true (thankfully, baseball’s helped me develop better perspective over the years). It got so frustrating that I didn’t even play little league when I was 11 and 12.

But when I was teenager I learned how to throw a good curveball and my whole world changed.

I fell in love with pitching and went from being a kid who nearly gave up on the game completely to averaging 14 strikeouts a game by my senior year in high school, getting drafted and earning a division I scholarship to my dream school.

I mean it, you would have never seen that coming if you’d seen me when I was 11 years old!

Then one night, after years grinding in the minors playing all over the country, I found myself pitching back home for the Bridgeport Bluefish and buckled Hall of Famer Ricky Henderson with my curveball to end the game… a pretty cool moment for a kid who grew up a Yankee fan watching him on TV.

And the Curveball had such a huge impact on my career (and really the whole path of my life), that I’ve decided to put together some special training focused entirely on this pitch.

Curveball-Video-Training
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

3 Part Video Training Series for Developing a Good Curveball

See, as nasty as a good curveball can be, it can also be one of the toughest pitches to Master. And as a coach working with pitchers over the past 10+ years, I’ve seen all kinds of mistakes that guys make with this pitch that prevent them from ever developing a really good one.

So I’ve just put together a Free 3-Part Video Training Series for developing a good curveball. Just a heads up, I’m not giving this away to everybody – you will need to enter your email. But after that, you’re in! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Click Here for your free video series: CurveballMastery.com/Video-Series

Well it’s Thanksgiving time again, and while I’ve got so much I’m thankful for in 2013, it’s definitely been a year marked by lots of ups and downs. I talked about dealing with adversity in my post on 28 Ways Pitching Prepares You for Life. And one of the things you learn is that with every obstacle, every challenge, every setback, comes an opportunity to learn and grow.

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” ~ Peter Marshall

tree-wind-BP
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Image: Martin Smith

The summer before my freshman year in college I hurt my elbow… badly. It should have been the most exciting time in my life… I’d just gotten drafted, I had a college scholarship to my dream school… and there I was sitting in a doctor’s office listening to him tell me I might never pitch again. Scary stuff for an 18 year old kid.

For the first time in my life I wasn’t allowed to pick up a baseball. I showed up early for fall ball with the rest of the freshman recruiting class, but I did a lot of standing around and watching. It was tough. I was part of the team, but I couldn’t compete – I was there, but I wasn’t there…

And as any athlete will tell you who’s ever been hurt, when the game you love is taken from you, you learn to appreciate it more. You realize how much you love it, how much you wish you could be out there. And you find a determination inside you that you maybe didn’t even know was there.

Thankfully, I rehabbed my butt off and was able to get back on the mound late that spring. And that was definitely a rough year, make no mistake about it – I don’t wish it on anyone. But I also learned a lot that year. I learned that nothing is a given.

I learned to be grateful for every day I got to put on a uniform and throw a baseball. I learned that if you have a gift, you need to work at it and develop it. And as tough as it was having to sit out most of my freshman year, today I’m actually grateful for that experience. It’s what I need to go through at that time in my life…

[h3]Start with Gratitude[/h3]  
Those in my generation (pains me to say it, but I am getting older) often lament about the sense of entitlement that seems so common among kids today. I’m not going to get into that here – I can relate to the sentiment, but I also don’t think it’s something that’s totally new. No matter where you’re at in your life, it can be real easy sometimes to forget this basic principle…
[h4]The world doesn’t owe you anything![/h4]

We live in a time where the opportunities available to each of us is greater than it has been at any time in human history. It’s an amazing thing when you stop and think about it.

Be grateful…

There’s always something to be negative about. Play long enough and you’re going to deal with some kind of adversity. You’re going to have to deal with some jerk coaches and negative people (I’ve had my share). But you can learn to be grateful for them, too. They’re an opportunity to practice patience, develop a thick skin, learn how NOT to treat people…

The key thing I’m trying to get across is this… Don’t dwell on the negative things, the things that stand in your way, hold you back. The world has enough excuse-makers as it is…

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach

Jim-Abbott-excuses-BP
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Think this guy made excuses?

Every day is a gift of a thousand minutes… Be Grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Thanks for reading.

In addition to bringing you guys fresh pitching content with my own instructional articles, videos, etc., one of the things I like to do from time to time is share some of the great pitching-related content I’ve been reading lately. And this week there’s been some good stuff… And as you gear up for the off-season – whether you’re a pitcher, coach or parent – I think these articles provide great perspective and give you some important things to get the most out of your training.

[h5]1. The Truth About CC Sabathia’s Weight[/h5] Eric Cressey is as good as they come – in this piece about one of my former teammates, he does an outstanding job breaking down the Body Mass – Pitching Velocity relationship. Very detailed, with some great insights and factors to consider when assessing your conditioning goals this off-season.

[h5]2. When Should Baseball Players Start Their Offseason Throwing Programs?[/h5] Mike is one of best in the game when it comes to understanding the unique demands of pitching and balancing the goals of performance enhancement and injury prevention. In this piece he raises some important questions, addressing a timely and extremely important topic.

[h5]3. Why Your Conditioning is Hurting Your Performance on the Mound![/h5] Josh Heenan is one of the most knowledgable strength & conditioning coaches you’ll find. Plus, he comes from a baseball background and works with a ton of pitchers – he’s my go-to guy here in CT. In this article he does an excellent addressing some key considerations for maximizing the effectiveness of your conditioning.
 
 

And finally wanted to highlight a recent one from right here in case you missed it…[h5]28 Ways Pitching Prepares You for Life[/h5]I’ve gotten a ton of great feedback on this one, and at over 200 likes and counting it’s been one of my most popular posts yet. Let me know what you think!

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