One of the biggest changes your pitchers will see in the game as they get older is the importance of the set position. As you get older and the threat of a runner stealing bases becomes more and more present, your pitcher is going to have to be able to assess the infield and make a decision from the set position before proceeding.
By teaching them to work the set into their throws from a young age, we help prepare them, so that as they get older they have a level of comfort with the set position, where their peers are still just learning it.
Today were focusing on how to work the pickoff out of the set position, but I’ve also written a post about how to fix the most common set position mistakes.
The key to remember is that you can’t become predictable. If you always wait the same amount of time before pitching, your basically giving the runner a bag – don’t let him anticipate, make him react.
To avoid this, our pitcher needs to come to the set position and vary the amount of time until the pitch is thrown. Come set. 1001, 1002. Now he throws. We don’t want to get in and become a creature of habit, where we walk up, set, throw.
Also, sometimes a good movement to keep him in check is just to step off. He comes set and then he just steps off for the heck of it. But once he steps off, we don’t want to make a throw over because he knows we’re not going anywhere.
Another thing we want to do is when we decide we’re going to go for our total pick-off move, we’ll set him up with the long arm action. As you bring the pitch back extend your arm fully, trying to bait him into taking off early to see if we can get the runner to get off. And then once we get ready for the kill, we’re just going to pivot, get the arm up, make a snap throw, and if it’s nice and accurate we’re going to get him.
When your pitcher goes for the pick-off, we’re going to do is ask him to throw at the first baseman’s right knee. By throwing at the first baseman’s right knee, the runner’s coming right back into it. We get tired of having throws all over the general area. If we focus and pick up the right knee, he comes right back into the tag.
What we’ll do is have him simulate some more then we’ll work on the actual pick-off with the first baseman, so that they can get some reps as well.
But what about actually throwing at home plate? If your looking to help your pitcher expand their pitch arsenal as well, check out this great post on how to throw the changeup!
That’s it for today! And if you’ve got any other questions or comments, jot them down below, or come check out our Facebook page for daily updates!