January HSPC – TIP of the MONTH

Coach Jerry “Kal” Kalista

Coach Jerry Kalista - C.M. Wright Varsity Pitching Coach
Coach Jerry Kalista – C.M. Wright Varsity Pitching Coach

FROM January 2, 2014


Most pitchers, no matter what their age, want to know how fast they throw the baseball. While velocity is important, throwing strikes is a higher priority! As a pitching coach, I want my pitchers to throw 80% first pitch strikes and 65% total strikes. The best pitch in baseball is a first pitch strike! A pitcher has a chance to throw the best pitch in baseball every time he faces a batter.

For a long time, velocity was thought to be genetic. Now it is known that velocity can be increased in a number of ways. It can be taught. It can be enhanced through hard work. Velocity will happen if you do enough things right.

At the top of the list, in my opinion, is good pitching mechanics. Good pitching mechanics starts with good posture and good balance throughout the delivery process (ready position, set, stride, explode, follow through and finish).

Another factor in velocity is the overuse of the breaking ball, which can lessen arm speed. Arm speed is a factor in velocity. Increasing arm speed may increase arm strength. However, increasing arm strength may not increase arm speed. Arm speed and arm strength may or may not correlate. Other factors that affect velocity are athleticism, arm angle, leg strength, core strength, wrist strength, hip rotation, ball rotation, use of the glove arm and balance.

Running can enhance a pitcher’s velocity. Distance running (poles) is good for stamina. Increased stamina allows a pitcher to maintain velocity into the later innings of a game. Each pitch is an explosive movement. It is now believed that sprints are the best way for a pitcher to imitate the explosive pitching delivery. A pitcher should do thirty yard sprints (2 sets of 5) on days not pitching. Take about a 20 seconds rest between each sprint. Take about a two minute rest between the sets.

The transfer of energy from the legs, to the core, to the arm, to the wrist, to the fingers, is where the art of pitching resides. Pitchers should work inside the “Pitching Lane”, which is an imaginary lane that is as wide as the pitcher’s plate (rubber) and runs from the pitcher’s plate to home plate. The pitcher should remain balanced within the “Pitching Lane” during his entire pitching motion/delivery (wind-up/stretch, ready position, set position, stride, explode, follow through and finish). Pitching accuracy (throwing strikes/hitting spots) is achieved by practicing good mechanics on a regular basis (year-around). It can take up to five months, depending on the amount and length of practice to develop good mechanics into good muscle memory.

Be sure to perform a good warm-up sequence before any throwing, strength or conditioning exercise or drill.

Always be Positive!     Always Give 100%!

Coach Jerry “Kal” Kalista

NOTE: Direct any questions or comments to Coach Kalista at kalbaseball@comcast.net