White Sox pitcher Chris Sale
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/
It sounds simple. Just learn a good set of throwing mechanics and repeat it over and over every time you pitch. Like most everything else in baseball, that is easier said than done. Most pitchers, from the Little League level all the way up to the Major Leagues, struggle with this at some point – some more than others. It is why a Little League game can last so long. The pitcher throws a good strike and then cannot find the zone on the next ten pitches. It is also why a Major League starter can cruise for four innings and then completely fall apart in the fifth, losing all his command, and be taken out. The ability to repeat your delivery is so important in pitching and takes (usually) many, many focused reps to master. Many never get there.
Repeating your delivery over and over has a couple benefits. First, it helps with accuracy. If a pitcher can repeat his mechanically sound delivery when he throws a strike, it makes sense that he will throw strike after strike because everything is the same. Second, it also helps as the game procedes and the pitcher starts to tire. Although his velocity may drop a little as he gets tired, if he can repeat his delivery, he usually can continue his success for a bit longer. When most pitchers get tired, they unintentionally alter their mechanics by dropping their elbow or not using their lower half enough. Not surprisingly, many lose their command along with their mechanics.
Consistency as a hitter depends
on repeating good swings.
A baseball player's goal should be to develop consistency with all his mechanics. Many players who underperform or do not play as much as they would like do not lack ability. What they lack is consistency. Chris Sale got to the Major Leagues in part because of his ability to consistently repeat his delivery. Whether he stays will depend on his ability to continue to do so.