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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baseball Strategy Tips For Developing a Solid Pitching Rotation

By Jack D. Elliott

Everyone enjoys the excitement of the homerun; however, pitching tends to play a larger role in the importance of a winning Baseball Strategy. Let's use high school baseball as an example. For most high school teams, there are usually only one or two good pitchers on each team. One of the differences between good and great high school teams is how they develop the rest of their pitching staff.

To win at the high school level in the playoffs and beyond, a high school team should develop a rotation of 4 to 6 pitchers. There are several reasons for this Baseball Strategy:

Top pitchers will then get the opportunity to rest their arms during the season.
It provides an opportunity for younger pitchers to develop their skills for future seasons.
The coach has a number of options to choose from for certain game situations. (For example, have a left hander throw to a left handed batter).
May be able to use your top pitchers in other roles. This can be especially helpful if they are a very good hitter as it adds a strong bat to your lineup.
Allows you some additional protection if you lose one of your pitchers to grades or an injury.

Traditionally, pitchers on high school baseball teams tend to be those who throw the hardest and or have done it for a number of years. However, a smart high school coach should be scouting his team every year to look for players who could be turned into pitchers. Some of the skills a coach should look for in a prospective pitcher include:

Left-handed or a unique throwing motion (ex. sidearm delivery).
Strong arm (Fastball is above 80 mph).
Excellent control of throws regardless of fastball speed.
Natural movement on fastball.
Ability to throw a unique pitch (ex. knuckleball).

Once these players are discovered, the coach should have them begin practicing pitching at every practice. Over time, their skills would improve to the point where you could use them in game situations. Then, your baseball strategy could shift from relying on your two top pitchers to letting these prospects start pitching against weaker teams in your district or allowing them to pitch a few innings in certain games.

To help encourage players to want to be a pitcher, the coach should give extra praise to those who are participating and repeat the importance that pitching has on helping the team go far in the playoffs. In addition, a wise coach would recommend these players take additional pitching instruction from quality baseball instructors in the area. With a little encouragement, you can outsource some of this training. This will allow for these players to keep developing their skills and not take away from the team's overall practice time.

The benefits of developing a pitching staff over time should allow for your high school team to move from a good to a great program. Also, who knows, you just might stumble upon the next great ace pitcher.

Jack Elliott, is a former player and fan of the game. To read more tips and techniques like the ones in this article, please click here:

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick