Throughout time, there have been ongoing battles between two sides. Intelligence versus power. I make the relation to weapons because I consider a player’s attributes consistent with weapon systems of war. The actual weapon systems, the strength and power at which they can destroy or dominate a target, are completely worthless without an ability for application, targeting, strategy, and execution of the weapons. The same holds true for the pitching motion, throwing arm, and pitch types of any given pitcher. Understanding how your motion works is vital. Understanding the goal of your motion is to get the hitter out is vital. Understanding that the location and execution of the pitch you throw is the most important aspect of getting the hitter out, is vital.
In the grand scheme of athletic life, the game of baseball is still a very young sport. We are stuck in an era where the culture continues to be awed by the measurables of the game—how far the ball can be hit, how hard the ball can be thrown. Unfortunately the farther you can hit it and the harder you can throw it does not make you a good baseball player. It simply means you can accomplish those things. Applying measurables to the game and being consistent in your performance is the ultimate goal—a goal many aspiring players fall short of. Many players go through their careers witnessing players at the highest level of the game, college athletes, draft-able prospects, and what scouts seem to show the most interest in. The game is played the way culture wants it to be played: powerfully. Yes, the best in the world produce quality results. In the end, producing players that yield quality results and help contribute to winning games are all that matter to professional organizations and college institutions, regardless of what culture thinks. Measurables go away, distance, player speed, pitch velocity, and “stuff” are all essentially worthless without correctly applying them to a particular skill set. Correctly and consistently applying just an average skill, can create an elite player with impeccable results. This is where the culture of the game gets lost.
The game wants power, measurables, tools, things that according to culture are moldable to create an elite contributor. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and the player ultimately suffers. Years and years of training/grooming players’ mindsets to excel at certain measurables eventually create a statue player, a player with the inability to make the adjustments needed to actually apply measurables to become adept. It’s not because they aren’t coachable, but because changing a thought process of constant improvement of said measurable for 8-10 years, to application for results over the course of 3 years in college, or 1-2 years professionally is an extreme feat. Especially while they are actively playing in collegiate or professional games. Many players with great measurables fail because they mentally cannot make the adjustment from power to application and intelligence, while fewer players with correct applications of their skills who are successful through their entire career may fly “under the radar,” in terms of prospectus, and may never be given the chance to develop physically or improve “measurables” after mastered application. It’s an epidemic among the game that needs further reflection.
Pitching is a particular skill set, and the art of pitching has nothing to do with how hard you throw the baseball. Elite pitching statistics can be produced with or without the attribute of good/great/exceptional velocity across any level of the game. The mission is to create pitchers who want to be successful first, while working toward their velocity goals and understanding there is a major difference in the chronology of training. Aspiring pitchers need to learn, train, and apply the skill of commanding a pitch’s location first and foremost, as this is the most important aspect to pitching success. Elite results can be produced by a pitcher’s ability to command correct areas of the strike zone. Applying intelligence of pitch type AND location can yield even better results in regard to a pitcher’s individual statistics. Notice velocity is not even in the equation yet as a pitcher with elite results is being discussed.
Our mission is to change the culture of the game, to adhere, praise, and build up pitchers who may be successful to extremely successful in nature due to their ability to command pitches to locations. This core ability can yield even better results when/if velocity is stacked on command ability. The mission is to encourage aspiring pitchers to achieve what is achievable today, commanding locations (see manual), while letting nature and science (see manual) take its course with velocity development.
The mission is to change the mind and perspective of evaluators and the people who invest in amateur pitchers. No longer should we be content with holding up a radar gun to determine worth or value. The game culturally accepts veteran pitchers who evolve their high velocity game, to a lower velocity and a higher command of locations. The finesse evolution exists within the game of baseball at the highest level. Yet we cannot scout a master of command without scrutiny, even though his results may yield elite results. No, we cannot scout a master of command, because culture doesn’t breed the immense importance of the skill, while knowing deep inside command is the most important attribute a pitcher may possess. The sad part is, when solid scouting finds true commanding pitchers, and may be given a chance by professional organizations; they are considered “anomalies” by culture, not regarded as an intelligent pitcher who understands the meaning of execution or considered an elite talent. We call it being mentored well, with the maturity and intelligence to decide they want to succeed and dominate regardless of what recruiters are looking for. There are many examples of pitchers like this every year, but won’t be as highly recognized due to culture. Too much recognition could upset the business of velocity.