The Baseball Zone Blog

Ryan Armstrong | Mar 1, 2015 7:00:00 AM

The "Inside" Pickoff Move to Second Base

With a runner on second base it is essential to hold the runner close. Holding runners close will serve to decrease the chances of the opposition scoring on a single from second and also serve to give your outfielders a chance to throw them out at the plate if they do indeed attempt to score. If we hold the runner effectively it will decrease the distance they can reach on both primary and secondary lead offs thus making it less likely they score. Holding runners at second can also decrease a runner's jump making it harder for them to steal third base. If they reach do third base, especially with less than two outs, it is much easier for them to eventually score.

At the high school and college/pro levels, runners are coached to be aggressive and to put pressure on the defense. Pitchers must be able to combat aggressive runners by developing the ability to hold them close to the base they are at. This is skill is essential at higher levels as runs are harder to come by, but don't wait until you are there to develop it - get ahead of the game and work on it. One of the most essential moves you can develop to help you in this regard is the "Inside" pickoff move (or simply the "Inside move") to second base. Here is a brief video demonstration and explanation of it:

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Topics: pitching, pitching tips, pitching instruction, pitching skills, pitching advice, pick off moves, controlling the running game, inside move

Ryan Armstrong | Feb 20, 2015 10:05:21 AM

How Pitchers Can Vary Their Looks On the Mound

In the second part of this series on Controlling the Running Game, we talk about varying looks. Varying looks can be thought of as varying your timing to the plate with runners on base, not necessarily how many times you look at a runner, although that can be considered an element as well.

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Topics: pitching, pitching tips, pitching instruction, pitching skills, pitching advice, holding runners, Defense, pitcher's defense, controlling the running game, varying looks

Ryan Armstrong | Dec 20, 2014 6:30:00 AM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Pendulum to Pelvic Load"

This week's Pitching Drill of the Week is the "Pendulum to Pelvic Load" drill.

This baseball drill is used to help players incorporate the hips into the delivery. Leading with the hips will help players establish a direct line to the target. Moving our hips toward the target will also help us with rotation. More rotation can result in more velocity and allow the arm to have more room to decelerate, decreasing the overall stress of the throw.

The pendulum aspect of the drill allows players to relax and find a natural spot to lift their leg. The pendulum swing also allows players to stay loose as they begin to move forward. This can be very effective for players who are to tense as they begin the delivery.This drill can be done by anyone who is looking to develop an efficient move forward; it is also effective for player who may lack rhythm and tempo. We do this drill in season and off season and is usually followed by the actual pitching motion.

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Topics: baseball drills, pitching tips, pitching instruction, throwing drills, pitching drills, pitching velocity, pitching rotation, pitching mechanics, velocity drills, delivery, rotation drills, pelvic load

Ryan Armstrong | Dec 3, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Mariano Rivera Drill"

This week's Pitching Drill of the Week is the "Mariano Rivera Drill" aka the Pre-set Pelvic Load drill.

This baseball drill is designed to help players lead with their hips in their delivery. Leading with your hips can help with velocity, rotation and finish. Using the hips to lead can also promote more of a total body throw. When we lead with the hips we are really initiating rotation starting with the back hip. If we don't do a good job starting rotation it will be very tough to continue rotation when we land. This can lead to more of an upper body throw and may place more stress on the arm.

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Topics: baseball drills, pitching tips, pitching instruction, throwing drills, pitching drills, pitching velocity, pitching rotation, pitching mechanics, velocity drills, delivery, rotation drills

Rick Johnston | Jun 12, 2014 9:13:00 AM

Scheduled to Start? 19 Tips to Help Pitchers Prepare on Game Day

Winning and losing, it is often said, is decided on non-game days and in the off-season, i.e. how you PREPARE to win will decide whether you win or not. We can also add to this thought that how you prepare to win on game day can also affect your success that day.

In this light, here are some tips for pitchers to help them prepare for their next start. I often see players who really have no idea how to prepare, simply expecting to stroll up to the mound and be successful. It is just not that easy and they usually find that out quickly, wondering what went wrong. Well, it could have been any of a number of little, preventable things that contributed to not being prepared.

These tips may seem simple, and it is hard to argue that they are not, however a failure to follow any of them can lead to interruptions, distractions, and ultimately less than ideal preparation and performance:

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Topics: baseball pregame, pitching, pitching tips, pregame drills, pregame observation, bullpens, pitching advice, long toss, pitching preparation

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