Here is the first installment of Bullpen Sessions, offering easy pitching drills, tips & techniques designed to help coaches and Baseball Dads assist in the development of youth baseball pitchers.
Youth pitchers first need to develop accuracy and location more than velocity. One mental barrier young pitchers often need to overcome concerns a fear of hitting the batter. This fear can cause them to throw “away” from the batter, thereby giving up use of half the plate and leading to walk-a-thons.
An easy way to fix this with an accuracy drill is to occupy both sides of the target plate with either an adult or another object like a barrel or chair in each batter’s box. This challenges the pitcher to consistently pitch down the middle, using the whole plate area without hitting either simulated “batter.”
The pitcher should always use proper mechanics for delivery, but begin by throwing softer. When the pitcher can consistently throw strikes, increase the intensity of the drill by adding velocity to the pitches. When the pitcher is up to a normal working speed and consistently throwing strikes, crowd the plate on one side to reduce the target zone. Again when the pitcher is consistently on target, crowd the plate on the other side.
Using this progressive drill, pitchers should learn how to throw in the strike zone with confidence rather than fear of hitting the batter.