Baseball Magazine

Command of Your Fastball is Priority #1

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Command of your fastball is priority #1Home plate is 17 inches wide.  Baseballs are about 3 inches in diameter which means the strike zone is going to be at about 6 baseballs wide.  In reality, it often is 7 baseballs.  At the younger levels one can argue that it is likely to be more like 9 baseballs wide.  For our purposes today, we’ll go with 7.

Look at the diagram I created above. Most of your success over the course of the season will depend on your ability to throw your fastball to numbers 1, 2, 6, and 7.  Notice that I didn’t say “or” 7.  A pitcher must be able to hit the 1-2 area when needed AND be able to accurately hit the 6-7 area when needed as well.  Miss the area you want to throw to or only be accurate to one of them and you are asking for trouble.  You’ll hit more batters, will fall behind in the count, and probably will be ducking a few line-drives as well.  

This off-season, work to become more athletic and iron out those mechanics but never lose sight of the primary purpose of successful pitching – to have great command on both sides of the plate.

I’ll leave you will this quote from Hall of Famer Greg Maddux during his pitching days.

“I try to do two things: locate my fastball and change speeds. That’s it. I try to keep as simple as possible. I just throw my fastball (to) both sides of the plate and change speed every now and then.”

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