One of my ALL-TIME favorite guys to watch pitch was Mariano Rivera…
Few pitchers in the history of the game were as consistent as Mariano over the long run.
Few repeated their motion as well.
Few commanded their fastball (or usually “cutter” in his case) as well.
But one thing he WASN’T was particularly quick to the plate…
(Here’s an old post where you’ll see what I mean: The Importance of Setting Your Feet)
Which is why I’m convinced that a lot of AAU and High School coaches would have changed his mechanics.
Because it seems like this time of year, as young pitchers begin working with their teams, I get these questions and emails a lot from pitchers and parents.
“My coach wants everyone to use a slide step… He says runners are going to steal on us left and right if we don’t.”
And it drives me nuts. Because half the time the pitcher is never shown how to slide step properly…
He ends up losing power and throwing “all ARM.”
I get it. You want to control the running game…
But you can still do that without a slide step.
How? Lot’s of ways – but here are two simple ones:
- Develop a decent pickoff move (doesn’t have to be great, just DECENT)
- Vary your looks (don’t be predictable with your timing to home plate).
Rather than ramble on, I’ll just share a couple of posts (blasts from the past) where I discuss my thoughts in more detail:
Now here’s the thing.
I’m NOT anti-slide step.
It can be a great tool in your toolbox.
In fact, even the great Mariano added it to his repertoire late in his career. But he SAVED it for key situations.
And understood one KEY thing (this is where most young pitchers miss the mark)…
It’s good to be quick to the plate…
But NEVER sacrifice the quality of the pitch.
Okay, that’s all for now.
Until next time…
Committed to Your Pitching Success,
PS – When a pitcher learns to load better into his back leg, not only will he become quicker to the plate, but you often see a nice jump in velocity.
In fact, It’s not uncommon to see a pitcher gain 2-3 MPH from the stretch instantly once he gets this down. You can find specific drills for creating this feel (and becoming faster and more explosive) inside the Ballistic Pitching Blueprint.
Keep Learning. Keep Growing. Get Better.