As the year draws to a close, it’s always a good time to reflect, assess, and set some meaningful goals. And I’ve written before about the importance of setting goals, being self-motivated and dreaming big. And dreams and goals are important, no doubt about it. But here’s the thing:

[h3]Goals without Action are meaningless…[/h3]  
See, once you have those goals, then it’s about having a plan and taking the necessary action to make those goals and dreams a reality.

[circle_list] [list_item]Maybe your goal is to gain velocity this off-season. How do you plan on doing that?[/list_item] [list_item]Maybe you want to develop a more dynamic, consistent pitching delivery…[/list_item] [list_item]Maybe your goal is to get bigger and stronger…[/list_item] [list_item]Maybe you want to improve your fastball command…
[/list_item] [list_item]Gain a better feel for your off-speed pitches…[/list_item] [list_item]Or maybe it’s adding a new pitch to your arsenal (and getting that pitch game-ready by next season).[/list_item] [/circle_list] [h4]In some ways these things are all linked[/h4]  
A powerful, well-synchronized pitching delivery is a great start for maximizing velocity. But once you have that foundation, getting stronger and more explosive will help you put more force into the ground (and throw harder). A well constructed strength program will also address mobility issues, helping you move better, again improving consistency and velocity.

[h4]But in other ways your training needs to be specific[/h4]  
Just developing “good mechanics” doesn’t guarantee you’ll throw harder. Your training should be tailored to meet the desired end result. If velocity is the goal, you need to work towards that specific goal.

Follow a consistent throwing program. Set benchmarks. Track your progress.

If you want to improve your fastball command, again mechanics play a role, but there’s no substitute for time spent throwing to a target. And it’s not just “throwing strikes.” Work on throwing to a location. Break the strike zone up into quadrants. Spread it out and work on hitting spots off the plate. Up and down, in and out. If you get good at hitting targets outside the zone, you’ll improve your feel and your ability to hit your spots in the zone.

[h5]And let’s say you want to add a new pitch by next season.[/h5]

Curveball-Video-Training
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Of course learning HOW to throw the pitch is important. But do you have an actual plan for developing it? Or are you just winging it…

For example, one of my high school pitchers is working on adding a good curveball by the spring season (he’s already got a good fastball/changeup combo). And a good curveball is a nasty pitch, but it can also be one of the toughest pitches to master. It takes time, patience and a solid plan of attack.

So he’s using this time of year to work on getting the feel for the pitch while keeping his throwing very light. He’s doing a lot of drill work and getting used to throwing with the right hand and wrist position so he’s getting the right spin on the ball. Then with that feel locked in, he’ll be able to hit the ground running in January and February as he starts gearing up for the season.

And it’s a process, but that good curveball is starting to take shape, and I have no doubt he’ll have that nasty hammer in his toolbox for attacking hitters next season. And a lot of what he learns in this process are things he’ll be able to use later for working on developing any pitch.

[h4]Dream big. Set goals. Take action.[/h4] [hr] PS – if you’re interested in the exact process you can use for developing a nasty Curveball, stay tuned… I’ve got something special coming soon that you won’t want to miss.

In the meantime, click here to get your free Training Videos: CurveballMastery.com/video-series

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.

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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

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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