Jim Crane's Pitching Tips

God gave each and everyone of us certain abilities; use them. Some were born with strong arms, with durable arms, and some with average arms. If you watch a big leaguer closely he uses his God given talent to the fullest. Some are overpoweringly fast, but all have one thing in common: desire and a smart head. Ask any pitcher if his fast ball is high he is in trouble, they keep it around the knees. If he cannot throw "asperin tablets" he is cute; he will set up a hitter by working the corners, so if you do not possess an overpowering arm use your head.

1. Position:
The proper position for a pitcher is to have the ball of his foot on the pitching slab (the right foot for a right-hander and left foot for a left-hander). The body is to be square with the plate, body loose, and head directly looking into the catcher. Your wind up should be a nice easy fluid motion like a well-oiled machine. Bring your glove hand together with your pitching hand about belt high in front of you. Swing both arms back in a normal downward motion, then swing back in front over your head. At this point, your pitching arms should fall with the ball gently hitting your hip with your body pivoting so that your glove hand side only is facing the batter. Now your weight should be set on your back leg with your front leg starting to kick. Here again is where you have the orthodox and unorthodox positions in baseball. Your kick should be governed by whatever is most comfortable to you--if a high kick keeps your off balance forget it, if a lower kick inhibits your fast ball try to come up more. Practice in your backyard, not in a ball game; by constant practice you should be able to get the correct form which will help you get the most out of your delivery.
2. The Release:
From your kick position you have to remember one important rule-- do not take your eyes off the catcher's glove--remember you're throwing to a target in front of you, not on the ground by your toe or in the dugout but in front of you. As your kick motion brings you forward, whip your arm around in a natural motion whether it is overhead, three-quarter, side-arm, or even underarm; use whatever is more comfortable and natural to you. Once you have released the ball
3. Remember to be a Fielder:
Once you have released the ball you become an infielder--don't forget it. This will help you with your follow-through; you should always be squared away facing your catcher ready for a ball being hit back to the box or being bunted. So when you follow through be balanced and be ready; you never know what bounce a ball will take and how you can help yourself win a game.
4. Pitching from the Set Position:
This is the point where the pitcher is separated from the thrower. With a runner on base, the pitcher must come to a set or stop position; this is done in one of two methods. The pitcher puts his rear foot in contact with the pitching slab (rubber), his front foot in front. His body is to be perpendicular to home plate; he then raises both hands above his head and brings them down closing the glove hand over the pitching hand at this belt line. An easier and more practical way is to assume the same position by simply placing his feet and body as mentioned above and bring his glove hand and pitching hand together at this belt line. One caution here is that there must be a full three second pause at this point before he can deliver the pitch to the plate. This does not apply to a pick off move to any of the bases.
5. Picking Off the Runner--Lefthanders:
A left-hander has a natural advantage with a man on first base since when he comes to his set position he is facing the baserunner. This advantage is compounded by the fact that if a lefthanded pitcher develops a kick movement between first base and home plate, he has a natural pick off motion. The runner must determine whether the pitcher is going to throw to first base or deliver his pitch to the batter. By kicking between first and home plate, the lefthanded pitcher has not committed himself unless by body movement. If a left hander practices his kicking motion, keeping his body control and an idea in his head of what he intends to do he can help himself keep the baserunner honest.
6. Picking Off the Runner--Righthanders:
A righthanded pitcher is at a slight disadvantage which he can make up by being smart and at times setting up the runner the same way he would set up a hitter. He can do this in various ways:
  1. throw over to the base when a runner is on base and a steal position presents itself (a close ball game and less than two outs)
  2. lob a few throws to be base, make the runner feel confident you are only keeping him honest. This will tend to loosen him up and he will take a longer lead than he should take and perhaps lean towards second base. At this point, a fast, snap thrown may catch him napping
  3. do not even look at the runner; have either the third baseman or catcher give a pick-off signal.

Again, you can practice your pitching motion by yourself and the only way to be a good ballplayer is practice. The art of pitching like hitting can only be achieved by long hard work and by thinking. As was stated before, by being cute setting up a hitter and working the corners you can be a good pitcher.