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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tips and Strategies For Players on a Baseball Team

By Ruth Cracknell

The pitcher is one of the most important players on a baseball team. Above all, he needs to know when to throw. He should always try to throw when the runner is moving away, or leaning away, from the base. Getting off the mound to back up the bases is another important duty of the pitcher. Read this article to learn the important duties of the pitcher. The pitcher must always remember what a crucial role he plays.

The left-hander, obviously has a great advantage in holding runners on 1st. He is looking directly at the runner and that alone will make the runner cautious. With a runner on 1st, the lefty should have the toe of his pitching foot about even with the instep of his right. He should practice the head-bob and the same trick of throwing from the three different stretch positions.

His best move however is this: he takes the stretch. He looks at the runner. He looks at the plate. He turns his head back to the runner. And-just as he starts to turn the head to the plate again, he steps toward 1st. If the lefty works hard on this move, he will pick more runners off 1st than he ever dreamed possible.

On throws to 2nd base all pitchers should use the "jump" move, turning in the direction of the glove hand. (A right-hander would turn left, for example.) If the runner is safely back or if the shortstop or second baseman fails to cover don't throw the ball. (No balk on feint to 2nd.)

One more thing: if the pitcher is standing on the mound and suddenly sees the runner break, he should 'back-off'-take his pitching foot off the rubber, and move it toward 2nd base. When a runner is stranded between the bases, the pitcher (or any fielder) should charge the runner, favoring the base ahead of the runner. With runners on 3rd base, the pitcher may use either the stretch or full windup. If he uses the full windup, he should shorten the arm swing and quicken the move. He must never pump more than once!

Backing Up The Bases

As one of the most important players in a baseball team, the pitcher has the duty of getting off the mound to back up the bases. The pitcher backs up the third baseman on a single with a runner on 1st, the catcher on a single with a runner on 2nd. If both 1st and 2nd are occupied and the batter singles, the pitcher should hustle to a point off the left field foul line that is half way between 3rd and home. He can then back up 3rd or home, depending on where the play develops.

But like going to his left on balls hit to his left, the pitcher must start immediately. Any time a pitched ball gets by the catcher with runners on the bases, the pitcher should quickly cover home plate! In covering the plate, though, he ought to be careful of where he puts his feet. With his back to the runner, it would be foolhardy to stand in the base path. It's best to leave one side of the base open, with the feet straddling the other and the body partly turned to the open side.

If the ball is to the pitchers right, he should leave the right corner open; if to the left, leave the left corner open.

Beware the $1,000,000 Arm and 10¢ Head

A boy may have a strong arm and know all the mechanics of pitching, but if he doesn't think about the hitters weaknesses and strengths, he will become nothing more than a "thrower" and will not help his team much.

A pitcher, even more than a catcher or manager, will know which of his deliveries the batter can or cannot hit. That is, if he studies the hitter constantly. The younger the hitters are, the more faults they have. Thus the young pitcher has a great advantage if he thinks about the hitters.

Because he is one of the crucial players in a baseball team, the pitcher must always remember his important duties.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick