Glossary of champion pitching and baseball Terms
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We must use our thought processes to increase our effectiveness in the game if baseball. The following terms and fundamental thought processes of pitching will help you separate yourself from the pack.
This page is for the intellectuals…the ones who want to learn EVERYTHING they can. These terms, phrases, and/or thought processes are accumulated from over 20 years of playing and coaching in the game of baseball.
- Mental Aspect
- Baseball Concepts
- Coaching Tips
- Places to Play
- Health and Nutrition
- Outside the Box
@ = perform exercise for both sides, ie: left side and right side
5 P’s – “Perfect Practice Predicts Peak Performance” remind yourself of this quote every time you step on the field.
5-4-3-2-1 – Excellent pitching drill to do in order to train yourself to be quick to the plate. Watch our video about the “5-4-3-2-1 Drill for Pitchers to Hold Baserunners Close”
A-move – Your best pick off move. You do not want to show your best pick off move right away. It is generally more effective to show a less quality move early on in the game and save your A-move for a later time in the game.
Click here to see Lefty pick off move series.
Click here to see pick off move series for righties.
ABC – can stand for so many positive things in life and in baseball. It is always positive reinforcement for the player and/or individual. AB always stands for “Always Be”…
Always Be Crushin(working out, getting better)
Always Be Conscious(Observing other team as well as yours)
Alway Be Creepin(In with the pitch)
Always Be Chattin(in the field)
Always Be Chippin(never give up)
Always Be Consistent(Championship routine)
Accountability Partner – it is always good to have an accountability partner on your team. This should generally be your throwing partner. It is someone who pushes you and who you know will help you continue improving EVEryday
Actual velocity – the velocity that shows on the radar gun, this number differs from perceived velocity
Aggressive – You should have an aggressive approach to the game. If you do not have the ability to be aggressive on the field in all aspects of your game then baseball probably is not the right game for you
Appreciation – your ability to appreciate the game of baseball will directly correlate to your successes on and off the field. (Get MADE)
Arm care – It is vital that you take care of your arm. The last thing you want is an arm injury, especially a serious tear. If you get yourself in the right frame of mind when it comes to your routine, then you will throw harder for longer with less risk of injury. The key is to think of your routine as a constant state of strengthening and pre-habilitation. Here are some good exercise tools that will help you stay injury free.
Arm is a by product – This is a state of mind that keeps us focused on optimizing the weight transfer in our lower half from back to front while creating as much force as we can. Our arm is an afterthought. We must think of our arms as wet noodles while our legs are the engine behind our throw and/or pitch. The main three “jobs” my arm has are to:
1-keep the elbow slightly higher than the shoulder as I come through the zone towards extension
2-to stay behind the ball for as long as possible to allow my arm to create optimum extension
3-let it feel loose through the zone
Athletic – Pitchers, just as much as any other position on the field, need to be athletic. The more athletic you are as a pitcher the better the chance you will perform at a higher level.
Attack – When you step on the field you need to be ready to attack hitters And attack the game. You are in a war and it is your job to win battle after battle. Your team mates are your fellow soldiers.
Attitude – Easily the single most significant factor in a players makeup, especially at a young age. Even if you are the best player in the league, nobody wants you on their team if you have a terrible attitude about the game. We always say that your attitude is your single most valuable resource in your life and in baseball.
Attitude of gratitude – Use this reminder on an EVEryday basis to ensure that you stay connected to how lucky you are to be able to play baseball. You are blessed with the ability to move.
Backside drive – Pitching coaches will often tell you to drive towards the plate using your backside or your drive leg meaning the leg that is connected to the pitching rubber.
Bang box – In professional baseball, most teams have a “Bang Box.” You can put someone on your team “in the box” if they wear the wrong belt, forget their glove, etc. There are a number of funny and creative things that teammates will each other in the box for.
Baseball Websites – baseballsavings.com, eastbay.com, rawlings.com
Baseball Personality – Have a personality on the field. The game is fun! Be disciplined and do not show too much emotion, but make sure that you allow yourself to be who you are on the field.
BCDs = Brain Conditioning Drills, a series of throwing drills that
Behind the ball – Stay behind the ball for as long as you can when you are pitching or even throwing in the field
Be an intellect – We are taught on the baseball field that being smart is very important, that mental errors can not be tolerated. Although not often are we taught to be intellects and to take pride in our ability to speak and communicate clearly, and to look at situations on and off the field from an outside of the box perspective. It is important to be a student of your craft at all time if you truly want to be the best. You need to study the game, you need to constantly be pushing yourself to find the edge that others may not find, simply because you are smarter and more aware than they are.
Be water – Be fluid on the baseball field. The best players make the game look the easiest because they are graceful and fluid not only in there mechanical make ups but also in the way they respond to failure. The truest champions are very graceful in the media eye as well.
(Bruce Lee Baseball)
Body Language – Having the body language of a poised champion is going to be one of the most key aspects to competing as well as showing a high level of maturity in the game. It is one of those intangibles that allows you to separate yourself from others in the game. Don’t be a baby if the umpire has a small zone, just be better. And especially don’t show up any of your teammates if they happen to make an error behind you. When your teammate makes an error that is the time you need to have excellent body language and show your teammate that you have confidence in him that he will make the next play.
Bonus Baby – The term used to refer to high round draft picks who receive large signing bonuses in the draft, often times over a million dollars.
(Bonus baby, prima donna, real deal? How to determine who will fizzle and who will make it.)
Breath – Connect to your breath when you are on the field as well as when you are training off the field. Connect to your breath as much as you can through out your day. Use your breath to remind you that life is an ongoing cycle and journey and that your only job is to keep showing up. The value of this concept grows with a mastering of the conscious breathing craft.
(The art of the baseball breath)
Build your battleship – EVEryday you come to the park you need to think of yourself as a canoe and your arm as a cannon. You must have a championship routine and build your mechanical game as well as physical game through focus and awareness of what you are doing. The foundation you create as a person and a player from a young age will often times dictate the success you experience later. Thinking of building your battleship and realizing that EVEryday is a process will help separate yourself from the pack.
(Build your battleship)
Bulldog spirit – If you don’t have some bulldog spirit in you, then don’t be a pitcher, and probably not a baseball player. You must be fierce and focused on the baseball field, similar to how a bulldog is in a fight. Being a bulldog means wanting the ball when it matters the most and believing in yourself wholeheartedly.
Bush League – A term used to refer to those who partake in dubious acts on the field. There is a long list of offenses that can be classified as bush league.
“7 things baseball players do that are ridiculously BUSH LEAGUE”
Championship Program = why do we play this game? So chicks think we look good in our baseball unis? So we can tell our friends we are ball players? Or is it because we love winning championships? For me, I always loved
Championship thought process – when you are an athlete you compete to win. From day one of the season and/or your training off season your focus needs to be acute and crisp if you want to be successful. You need to be envisioning yourself winning the championship at the end of the season. During the difficult times you need to push yourself in the direction of that championship. If you are in, the you need to be all in.
Change your times – Often times, young pitchers get too predictable when they are holding baserunners on. They tend to take the same amount of time each time they come set before their pitch. It is a small aspect of the game that can do wonders for a pitcher’s confidence and his ability to keep both the baserunner and hitter from getting too comfortable. Watch our video on “How to Effortlessly Hold Baserunners Close and Not Allow Them To Steal”
check-in = a pitcher’s ability to check-in to what he is doing pitch by pitch in a game will always be proportionate to his rate of success. You must have a plan, you must have a purpose, and you must have an intention for every pitch that you throw! Don’t waste any pitches due to a lack of focus!
Club baseball – Club Baseball, also often referred to as “Travel Ball” is where players go to play who want to face (generally) better competition against teams who play 8+ months out of the year in tournaments in state and/or out of state. Many young players will play little league until they are 12 and then begin playing on a club ball team there after. Although there are some club baseball teams start as young as 7 years old. It is generally a big advantage for a team that has grown up playing together from a young age as it helps greatly to know the tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses of those on your team. Watch our video about “How much club baseball is too much for my son?”
Little League Baseball– Little League is the best. It is a sacred time in a child’s life to be able to be involved in little league baseball, especially if he happens to get the chance to make allstars and maybe even all the way to the little league world series. Often times, little league is deemed to be the less competitive option for a young player to play in as opposed to joining a travel ball team.
Tee Ball – This is the level of the game where you will potentially find outfielders looking in the opposite direction of the field of play, picking their nose while they are on second base, and forgetting where to run after they hit the ball. Quality baseball coaches must do their best to have fun with the players while still making sure that they are teaching the kids the proper way to play the game. Often times in tee ball, the coach is on the field and should take moments to teach all the players on the field what is going on in certain situations.
Australian Baseball– I never even knew that it was possible to play baseball in Australia until my third year of playing pro ball. I had a friend named Drew Miller that played in Adelaide, South Australia for the previous two years and I asked him how I could play there. Long story short he got me on the team he played on and it was a blast. It is not the most competitive place to play, but it is a great experience for any young player. Click here to keep reading more about what it is like to play baseball in Australia.
Mexican League – The Mexican League, or Liga Mexico, is a very competitive league and the league that you can get paid the most in. I was lucky enough to play there in my fourth year of pro ball and it was the first place I made good money.
Click here to watch a video about “how much money do minor leaguers make?”
Men’s League Baseball – Men’s league is where guys that never quite made it to college or pro ball have a chance to play in their local community. Often times ex-pros and ex college players will play on mens league teams and make them very competitive.
There are usually mens league available in all major cities and two organizations that are responsible for sanctioning many of the mens leagues around the USA are NABA(North American Baseball Association) and MSBL(Mens Senior Baseball League). Men’s league is often referred to as “Sunday League,” especially by our boy Domingo!!
Domingo Ayala – If you don’t know about Domingo Ayala then you must be living under a rock. He is a youtube sensation and a hilarious baseball character. If you want some good laughs, you should check him out. The funny thing is that he is very smart and he knows a ton about the game based on the funny videos he makes. If you know baseball and have been around the game then you will relate to just about every video he makes.
“Sunday League” – The league of Domingo Ayala! “Man, wachu play Sunday league?”
Baseball coach – a coach should think of himself as a motivator first, a teacher second, a coach third. A good baseball coach will not take credit for wins but will take fault for losses. Baseball coaches are often some of the biggest influences in a young player’s life and the things he will teach his players will stick with them forever.
coachable – to be extremely coachable will not only always put you in the good graces of your coach, but it will also be a determining factor on whether or not you will continue to move up the ranks in the game of baseball. To be coachable means that you actively seek out instruction, you are consistently striving to better your game everyday, and you are smart enough and athletic enough to consciously apply small changes to your game when and where needed and/or told. Another big aspect of being coachable is having a strong ability to respectfully filter out information when needed. This means that you may not want to try putting your hands in the place your current coach tells you to put them because it doesn’t feel comfortable, but doing it anyways and trying it out in order to get some feedback.
Coaches Eye = Start of the art application that allows you to break down your mechanics through slow motion and frame by frame video. Use tools like drawing angles and side by side video comparison to really break down your pitching mechanics and improve your game
come set = the movement during the time a pitcher takes his sign from the catcher, to when he gets himself ready to pitch in the set position
Compete = Always compete!! When things are not going the way you would like them to be going ie: you don’t have your best stuff that day or maybe you feel like the ball is the size of a popcorn kernel when you are at the plate, sometimes you just need to dig deep and find a way by being the competitor you know you are. You can not except the fact that “today is just not your day.” You need to treat every game like it could be your last and if you are going to go down then it will not be without a viscous fight and your 100% best effort until the last pitch.
Concrete boots – The act of having the ability to keep the timing of both the baserunner and the hitter off beat. When you change your times as a pitcher, and sometimes mix in a long hold, then(assuming you execute properly) when you do decide to mix in that long hold prior to making your pitch, you will get the baserunner stuck in his lead and make it more difficult to have a quick first step.
Create your pitch – Before you throw every pitch you need to have a precise plan for what you want that pitch to do and you need to see it happen in your head before you throw it. A big aspect of creating your pitch(when throwing in the bullpen) is giving your catcher the sign of the pitch you want to throw. Watch our video here about “The Importance of Giving Your Catcher a Sign”
Crisp – We love using this word at MADE. You need to be crisp and have a precision about the things you do on the field and off. Whether you are doing a drill, speaking to a coach, or getting ready for the game, be crisp in your approach and be aware of all things at all times. Know that there is always someone watching.
Crossover symmetry – An excellent product designing to strengthen the muscles in a pitcher’s arm necessary to optimize performance and minimize risk of injury.
Dead Arm – This is what happens as a result of the arm needing rest. To say that it is the result of ‘throwing too much’ would be incorrect, because ‘too much’ is an arbitrary term. Watch our video on “Why am I not overly concerned with pitch count in my pitchers?”)
Do it right – If you are going to do a drill, then do it right. Going through the motions not only makes you look stupid, but it always creates bad habits and puts you at a higher risk of injury. If you find yourself beginning to slack off in the drill you are doing then just stop doing the drill and take a break. In baseball there is a point of diminishing returns in most drills, once you have done enough reps to make you extremely tired, it is wise to be aware of the time that your body tells you to take a break.
Down the skate ramp – This is an analogy that helps some young pitchers understand the type of path that they should be taking with their lead leg when driving towards the plate. Watch our video on “What does it mean to go ‘Down the Skate Ramp’ as a pitcher?”
Be deliberate = aka over exaggerate. Slow, mindful, conscious, the opposite of rushing, over-exaggerating your pitching mechanics and your hitting mechanics will help you feel how your body is working and create higher quality muscle memory at a more rapid rate. Performing drills deliberately and mindfully, when appropriate, as opposed to just “going through the motions,” can really help you improve at a much quicker rate. Focus is the key.
Be Different – Take pride in being different. You want people to wonder what the heck it is that you do that makes you so dang good. Don’t worry about fitting in with what everyone else is doing if you know that you are focused and you have a plan. This does not mean that you want to always be on your OFP all the time, it simply means that you maintain an awareness of your goals on a daily basis and you stay in line with what it takes to achieve those goals by defining yourself with every decision you make relative to progression or digression.
Division 1(D1) School– The coveted place to play for any high school prospect. Playing at a Division 1 school with a quality baseball program is probably the best treatment that you will get second to the big leagues. D1 schools will give you endless amounts of awesome gear, have food available all the time, and have all the resources you need to keep improving your game and developing. The treatment that you get at a D1 school is far better than that of even the minor leagues where you often get peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, depending on the organization that you play with.
Doggin’ it – playing the game lazily and/or lacking hustle, something you should never ever ever ever ever ever ever catch yourself doing if you are serious about baseball!
Draft – The draft is the selection of each year’s new prospect for all 30 major league teams. Many quality young ball players have absolutely no idea how the draft works and what they should expect should they be a candidate to be chosen. Watch our video, “How does the MLB draft work and is it possible that my son could get drafted?”
effectively wild – The art of making your inability to command your pitches work on your behalf. Often times, guys that are effectively wild are great competitors because they are able to harness whatever it is that they need to harness at that time in order to make the pitch they need to make at that time. It is much better to be effectively accurate, but it is possible to throw too many strikes. If you are too predictable and you are always in the zone then you will inevitably get hit around more often, unless you throw cheese. But even if you throw cheese and you are not able to spot up, then you are still likely to get your pitches smoked.
effortless = this is a personal opinion of a 5’11 lefty. This is a state of mind that can greatly benefit you as a pitcher. Avoid feeling yourself try to throw the ball at 100% all the time. You want to be the guy who looks like he’s not even trying yet the ball is popping out of your hand on a line all the way to your target…that can only happen if you maintain focus on the lower half and allow the arm to be more of a by product than the primary focus
Elasticity – those who are more elastic will be stronger and will resist injury longer. As a pitcher and as an athlete, you should think of yourself as a rubber band. You want to be the thickest, stronger, and longest rubber band you can possibly be. This will create power on your pitch and longevity in your starts and your career
Elevate your focus – you need to be asking yourself how you can continue to elevate your focus more and more throughout your career. Pitching is a craft. There are so many ways that you can get a hitter out; noticing his tendencies and preying upon them is much easier when you train your brain to constantly elevate your focus and to make adjustments in the moment, pitch by pitch
European/Overseas baseball – There is baseball all over the world. Many players out of college that don’t get drafted or on with an independent ball team do not know that they can potentially play oversees if they reach out to the right person and/or know someone. Some of the cool places you can play are
Now, it is not to say that the level of baseball in these countries is elite, although there is some decent competition in some places. In many cases, the environment of baseball in these countries is such that of a club ball organization and one that many times has involvement of multiple generations of a family, i.e.: son, dad, and grandpa all play baseball in different levels/age groups. Usually, at least from my personal experience, players in these countries have to pay to be involved in the club and essentially it is what they do outside of their jobs. Players will often time feel like the club is their extended family and they will invest a great deal of their own time in helping to raise funds for the club, work on the field, etc.
Import players will often have a deal worked out where they will get free travel to and from the country, a free place to live(often times with another one of the baseball team members in a host family situation), a lot of meals provided, possibly a job provided, and possibly a monthly stipend of some sort. Some countries such as Italy will often time offer a much more financially significant package for veteran players with a lot of professional experience. If you have played in the big leagues and are looking to keep playing overseas in Italy for example, it is likely that you could be offered a package of something like $3000/mo, free car to use, free house to live in, and flight for you and possibly your whole family to come stay with you. It really all depends on how much value the team sees in your and if they determine that you are worth the investment.
mr-baseball.com – a great baseball website that has a directory listing of all of the places to play baseball, pretty much anywhere
EVEryday = Motivation, Appreciation, Dedication, EVEryday. Get Better EVEryday. Get MADE. EVE was the name of my mother and when she passed away on May 22, 2005 I decided that I was going to keep living positively and motivated EVEryday in honor of her. Capitalizing her name in the word EVEryday was a constant reminder for me to keep striving towards what I wanted to achieve and to keep making quality choices to help me get to where I wanted to go, which was the big leagues. This state of mind became something that I engrained in myself into everything that I did and now do. It has been a driving force for me and a tangible tool that I created for myself to overcome the adversity I faced in losing her so early and unexpected.
Expand the zone – When you are ahead in the count as a pitcher it is important that you try to expand the zone with your pitches and see what you might be able to get the hitter to chase and what you might be able to get the umpire to call for a strike. This does not mean that you throw an automatic ball, or “waist pitch,” if you get 0-2 on a hitter, it just means that you don’t want to feed the hitter a cookie down the pipe if you are in control of the at bat. Also, sometimes umpires will give you 6 inches off the plate outside or inside(if they are a bad umpire, Watch our video “Why is it important to understand and remember that all umpires suck?”) because it does happen a lot. If this is the case then you have to play the game and be smart by using what the umpire will give you.
Extension – The feeling of getting extended on your pitch. This means that you are releasing the ball out in front of your body as far forward as possible while still being able to stay behind and on top of the ball. Watch our video on “How do I get good extension on my pitches?”
Fastball Command – Hands down, fastball command is the most important part of being a great pitcher. If you can not have command of your fastball then you will not be a good pitcher. You will, at best, be effectively wild. From a young age, begin to harness what it means to command your fastball. When you throw your flat ground bullpens, make it a point to focus on spotting your pitches rather than throwing hard. Watch our video about “What is the most important part of pitching?”
Finish your pitch – This one is pretty obvious. You must finish your pitch when you throw it! This means that your thought process should be such that you are trying to throw the ball through the catcher rather than to the catcher. One way that you can finish your pitch without thinking about it is to attempt to get optimal extension, meaning release the ball as far forward as you can. (Watch our video “Pitchers Towel Drills Series” to help your youth pitchers learn how to finish their pitch)
First thought – When throwing a bullpen your first thought should always be, “This is going to be the best bullpen I have ever thrown in my life.” Before you step in to the batters box your first thought should be, “This guy beat me in last time, so I need to make sure that I get my hands cleared on the inside fastball.” Your first thought is your consistent awareness of your game plan and approach to whatever particular situation you are in at the time. It is a consciously dictated thought, realization, or proclamation that you make to yourself before whatever you are preparing to do. Your first thought is also very similar to your
Fuel – The components necessary to get you in your optimal performance state. Parts of your fuel will be what you eat, the music you listen too, the composed rage you still have inside you from losing to this team last year, the new spikes you just got that feel like you are running on clouds, etc. Your fueling system will change through out your baseball career. It should be consistently improved and refined as you move along your baseball journey.
Figure it out – When you don’t know how to do something, figure it out. Ask for help, practice, trouble shoot, experiment, test, keep trying. Do not simply resign to the fact that you are unable to do something. Also, apply the “figure it out” state of mind when you are struggling on any given day. Doing what it takes to win is not always getting a strikeout or hitting a bomb, figure out what you need to do in order to give your team a chance.
Fix your home = the mound is your home, you must fix it the way you like so you feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter hoe long it takes you so don’t feel rushed, the ball is in YOUR hands…everyone can wait!
Flat ground Bullpen – A pitcher’s practice session thrown from flat ground rather than off of a mound when throwing a bullpen. A flat ground can be thrown up to 3-4 times a week depending on where you are in your training program, off season or in season. The number of pitches you throw is determined by how your arm feels and what you need to work on, but usually it is around 15-30 pitches. This is the same as a bull pen, except you are throwing to your throwing partner rather than a catcher and you are only about 90% of whatever distance you pitch at away rather than the full distance. Also, you are throwing at a speed of about 70-80% of max velocity depending on what you are working on. It is much more important to focus on command of your pitches and mechanics, rather than increasing your velocity. You can use your throwing partners hat to act a plate so that he can center up his body inside or outside relative to where you want to throw your pitch. Watch our video about “What is a flat ground bullpen and how to use it?”
float = is to be light with your movements, avoid “yanking” your body around, instead feel like you float through your mechanics, you should feel like you float when you are running as well
Fluidity– I tell my players to feel fluid throughout their motion. I also tell them the great quote from Bruce Lee, “Be water.” (link to Bruce Lee video about being water). It is important to be both physically and mentally fluid. You have to be able to not only be smooth in your mechanics, but also be smooth in your ability to process thoughts so as to slow the game down.
flush with the rubber – the side of the drive side foot should meet the rubber and align directly up against it. The foot should not come set at an angle, it should be parallel to the rubber and the rubber should be used to drive the back foot off of.
Free agent – A free agent in baseball is anyone who is not under contract with an organization. Technically, everyone in the world who plays baseball that is not under contract is considered a free agent. A team can sign a free agent to a contract. Then the (playing) rights of the free agent are “owned” by the team who has his contract.
Give your partner a target– You should always make it a habit to give your partner a target when you are playing catch, especially from a young age. When you give your partner a target and make a game out of your throwing routine two things happen.
You help make your partner better by forcing him to elevate his focus on each throw
You help consistently remind yourself that you need your partner to give you a target, therefore you make yourself better because you know that you will ask your partner to give you a target on each throw. This while greatly accelerate your ability to command your fastball from a young age. Watch our video about “The four corner drill and giving your partner a target.”
Give the catcher a sign – It is important to give your catcher a sign. Try to teach your young guys how to do this from a young age. By giving a catcher the sign the young player is having to check in to what pitch he is throwing on every pitch, and the location of where that pitch is going. I also call the action of giving your catcher the sign “manifesting your pitch.” It is a means of having a young pitcher visualize the path the ball will take and allow him to have a higher rate of success.
Grab bag– when working out through out my pro career, I always liked having a plan to my workouts, and I was diligent about learning many different types of routines. Overtime, I learned what exercises were the best for me and which really helped me to work on my weaknesses. I now have my own grab bag of exercises that I can pull from by learning a variety of baseball exercises through out my career. The main key to growing your grab bag and ability to get more out of your workouts is experimenting with different types of programs and seeing what parts of each program you like the best.
graceful = sleek, polished, smooth, explosive, effortless…these are all synonyms for the word graceful when it relates to pitching. you should feel like your pitching mechanics are a choreographed dance that you work towards improving EVEryday
GUAC – “Give Us A Chance.” This should be your thought process approaching any game as a pitcher. Your #1 job is to keep your team in the game and leave the game with your team ahead. Sometimes you will not have your best stuff, and sometimes you will need to find a way to be crafty to get guys out. Don’t try to do everything your self and try to strike every one out. Be efficient, do your job, and throw strikes, and you will alway GUAC.
hand position = the position your hands settle into when you come into set position. It is important to keep your hands comfortable and also to allow your shoulders to be relaxed when you come in to your hand’s set position.
Hang the curveball – I teach my players to allow themselves to hang their curveball. Why would I do this? It is simple really. First off, most young players think they need a curveball to be nasty like they see in the pros. This expectation that I see the majority of the young players I coach and/or watch is detrimental to not only the health of their arm, but also the command of the pitch. The trick to throwing a curve ball is not to make it curve east and west, it is to get top spin on the ball so that you can get sharp north to south movement on the ball. A little east and west occurs naturally for most. Watch our video to see me go more in depth on this topic. Of all pitching topics in the game, this is probably my favorite. “Why do I teach my young pitchers to hang the curveball?”
head movements = a pitcher can keep a runner off balance by simply knowing how to effectively move his head. Watch our video on “The value of the head fake and how to use it.”
High school baseball – The level of baseball where it starts to get real. You start with realizing if you are good enough to continue to the next level based on whether or not you make the team. If you are reading this, then you are probably a stud and you will definitely make the team so long as you continue to work your butt off. High school is when the weeding out process truly begins. Mommy and daddy have no say over what happens anymore and they don’t get to help you make a team by paying monthly club fees any longer. You need to decide if baseball is worth it to you and if you are going to pursue continuing with the sport after high school.
Hit-Me-The-Ball – The four words that all seven players behind the pitcher should be saying before every single pitch. With each word they should be taking a small creep step in towards home plate in order to create some pre pitch movement. Watch our video about “Hit-me-the-ball Infield Drill”
Holistic approach – MADE Baseball was created with an entirely holistic approach to the game of baseball and life. The two are synonymous as all those who are heavily engrained in the game, be it a player, parent, or sibling, know that baseball takes up a great deal of time, energy and sacrifice. There is a balance that must be achieved in one’s life and baseball journey in order to make it to the highest levels. You need to know how to train, how to conduct yourself professionally and respectfully, how to take initiative in all that you do and how to be 100% accountable for yourself. These are all aspects of what is the bare minimum when it comes to what is expected of you are a high level player, i.e.: college and pro. Watch our video about “What does it means to take a holistic approach to the game of baseball?”
Impeccable balance – you want to feel so balanced that even if you are on one leg and a line backer came at you full speed that he would bounce off when he hit you because you feel so stable, balanced, and connected. Watch our video about “Explaining the meaning of ‘impeccable balance’”
I’m better than you – I was always taught to think this thought when I was on the mound. I come to the mound EVEryday with a presence and an underlying knowledge of the fact that I can get you out no matter who you are, where you have played, how big you are, or how many bombs you have this season. I am not scared, you are scared of ME.
Independent baseball – A professional level of baseball that exists right below affiliated ball. Many guys that are in the minor leagues of an affiliated organization will go play on an “indy ball” team and/or league after they get released from their respective club. Indy ball affords players the opportunity continue playing professionally and keep their dream alive. I played indy ball in just about every indy ball league that exists. Well, at the time of this writing I had played at almost every league that existed. Watch our video about “What are the best places to play in independent ball?”
Injury resistance – All workouts should be executed with injury resistance as the primary objective. You should not be in the weight room getting sauced out, especially as a pitcher. It is great to lift hard, but not if it is ever in a way that may be compromising to your functional movement. When you do any exercise, you should be training the movement with a link to a movement that you make on the field or at least understand what muscle you are working and why. The more in tune with your body you are, the much higher chance you will have to avoid injury and play and/or pitch in more games. Watch our video about “How to resist injury in baseball?”
Inside move = A pick off move to second. The pitcher picks up his front side knee and swings it backwards towards second base. Watch our video about “3 tips to executing the inside move to second base.”
International Baseball– many young American players do not know that baseball is played all over the world. There are opportunity all over Europe, Australia, Japan, and more. You do not have to be an extremely experienced player to play in these places, although it does help, and you need to have the right contacts
Internal/external rotation – The rotation of the arm internally. Most doctors say that you should have 180º of total rotation when adding your external and internal. Watch our video on “Internal and external rotation of a pitchers arm.”
“I know”– One of the two worst possible phrases that you can say to a coach. If a coach thought you already knew something that he was instructing you to do, then he would not have instructed you to do it. Even if the coach is telling you to do something that you feel you are already blatantly doing, your response should by default always be “Yes Coach”
“I can’t” – The other of the two worst possible phrases that you can say on the baseball field, and in life for that matter. This phrase simply should not be part of your make up as a human being. When you know that you are not able to do something, then you know that you are not able to do it. When you know that you are able to do something(even if you are subconsciously lying to yourself), then you know you are able to do it. If you absolutely have to convey the message of “I can’t,” then at least choose an alternate way of saying it, such as “Currently I am unable to do that but I know that I am able to do it if I work on it and make it a goal”
Junior college – A two year college that is an option for a player out of high school to take if he does not get a scholarship to a Division 1 school, or if the player wants only to up his status as a draft candidate by proving himself for another year and therefore potentially increasing his value which increases his signing bonus.
Kangaroo court – A time where a professional baseball team gets together to go through the “bang box” to figure out who has committed ridiculousness on and or off the field. If you get fined in kangaroo court then you put money into a pool that is added up at the end of the baseball season and generally used to buy fun beverages of some sort for all of the guys on the team. It is hilarious and often times guys get very embarrassed and/or defensive. I know this from experience because I lived in the bang box in my career because I was always do weird left handed stuff that nobody understood.
Knowledge Bible – any serious baseball player or athlete or one that desires any substantial amount of success should keep a journa. I have always called my collection of journals my knowledge bible.
Leadership – There are two types of people in life, leaders and followers. Be a leader. Lead by example and be confident in your actions by maintaining a consistently high level of integrity and excellence as you go about your business. Have a blast all the time doing what you do, but take pride in your inherent role as a leader. You are a champion if you know it. If you are a champion then you need to be a leader and you need to be consciously aware of the necessity of harnessing your ability to lead by example on a day by day action by action basis.
Lebron James/Flippers – A drill that is part of the BCDs series that is meant to help pitchers finish their pitch and get the most out of their entire arms by finishing with a whippy wrist. Watch our video about “How to increase your perceived velocity”
Left-handed specialist – A pitcher whose role is to come in to a game and face a left handed hitter. Often times in the big leagues a left handed pitching specialist’s sole responsibility is to get one left handed hitter out a game. Sometimes that lefty will be a guy that pitches an entire inning or maybe he faces 2-3 hitters, but his primary role in the bullpen is to get out lefties when the team needs him.
Life Optimization – The process of getting the absolute most that you can out of life by finding your own personal method of achieving the most fulfillment that you possibly can. Life is about feeling fulfilled in any given moment. I often associate one’s ability to live life optimally as relative to their ability to consciously appreciate the most amount of moments that they can while be immersed in what that moment can give them. This principle revolves heavily around balance.
Listen to your arm/body – You must pay attention to the things that your arm and your body are telling you on a daily basis. You should be in tune with the messages your body gives you and you should have an inherently profound respect for your body and the care that it takes to preserve it and use it at its optimum performance levels. That is if you want to be a champion.
Look the part – Always dress the best that you possibly can and always do your best to make “the best you possibly can” the best on the team. This means consciously investing time and possibly money into the application of both your game and practice uniform. Make sure that you always look as crisp as you possibly can any time that you put on a uniform or even a practice uniform. “You gotta look good to feel good to play good.”
MADE – Motivation. Appreciation. Dedication…EVEryday. Get MADE.
MADE crush session – A short work out session in which you do not finish until you are sweating. You use a grab bag of exercises and you turn it on and get after it. Watch our video about “What is a MADE crush session?”
MADEisms = Winners win, Teamwork makes the dream work, champs champ up, gon git, take a seat, have a seat, get better EVEryday, crush it, learn to love the pain, fall in love with the process, figure it out, crisp, grimey, scrapper, whatever it takes, accountability partner, impeccable balance, robotically graceful
master = it is important to check-in, EVEryday, to the idea that you want to become a master of your craft in all that you do. Say to yourself, “I will master this drill, I will master painting the outside corner at will with my 4-seam fastball, I will master my ability to respond to adversity when I am on the hill. To become a master, one must work on his craft for 10,000 hours
Manifest success – All day. EVEryday. (link to EVEryday Champ site)
Meditation – A great mental strengthening practice for any baseball player or person for that matter. Meditating is simply that act of consciously slowing down and just being present, something that is so highly necessary when playing the game of baseball. I always liked to think of each interaction I had with the games that I played or even the trainings I had was a mini meditation of what I was doing.
Mentor – A person that you can look up to and appreciate their influence on you. It is not possible to move forward in life without some form of mentor. In baseball it is the same. Having a mentor to help you understand and learn the game while taking an interest in your development as a player and a person is one of the most valuable presences any young man can have in their life.
Mirror drills – Any type of drills that you do in the mirror. I focus heavily on teaching my young players to practice everything I teach them in front of the mirror whether it be balance point drill, power V power L, slide step, pick off moves, etc. Everything you do on the baseball field has some element of choreography to it so it is important that players look at their movements in front of the mirror in order to maximize their mechanics and ability to adjust.
Motivation Music – The music that you like to listen to that motivates you and gets you in a place to either train as hard as you can or get your mind into space that is ready to be the most prepared for a game that you possibly can
Mound presence = the second most important aspect of pitching. Your mound presence can be the determining factor in a coaches decision of whether to pull you or keep you in the battlefield to compete.
Never give up – The simple principle that should be followed by all people that walk the planet, especially baseball players. If you love something and you continue to love it and know that it is your passion, then don’t give up on it. It is crucial to be consistently thankful for what you have in order to not give up on your dreams. Sometimes, your dream may change or alter organically, and that is completely ok, but whatever you identify as your next dream, you must not give up on it.
Ninja – I like to tell my players to “Think of yourself as a ninja on the baseball field.” What does that mean? Well, a ninja is light on his feet, he is confident while being inconspicuous, he does not hesitate, he is athletic, he moves swiftly and gracefully, and he is aware at all times. Why would you not want to be like a ninja? Ninjas are awesome. (link to a video of a ninja)
No one right way(to train) – There is not one exact, specific right way to do anything in the game of baseball except to show up EVEryday and have the best attitude you possibly can. Different coaches may tell you that this is the exact right way to
Perceived Velocity – The velocity that the hitter perceives the ball is coming in at. Watch our video about “What is perceived velocity?”
Pick off combos – The practice of using combinations of pitches, pick off moves, head fakes, pauses, and different leg kicks in order to manage your pick off strategy
Pitching Tunnels = one of the best pitching aides on the market. Pitching tunnels gives you an opportunity to practice your pitching mechanics and get repetitions without a catcher at any time. It turns baseball into a sport similar to basketball, where all you need is one person to get better.
pitching mechanics = the building blocks of your craft, your quest to improve your mechanics as a pitcher should never end as long as you play the game
Positive language – Actively using positive terminology through out your day to day, your games, your practices, and everything you do in life will help you beyond measure. You are constantly using uplifting words as part of your subconscious and your psyche will follow suit. Watch our video about “How to proactively use positive language.”
Post performance routine – The series of exercises a pitcher needs to complete after a bullpen or a game. The more a pitcher does the routine the more he will bounce back the following day with minimal soreness and minimizing risk of injury while obtaining maximum output. Watch our video about “Best pitcher’s post performance routine.”
Pound the Zone – The thought process of going into every game knowing that you are going to throw strikes and attack hitters. You are not going to knit pick the zone or feel like you have to be perfect. You are going to pitch to contact and you are going to win.
Pitcher’s pitch – A pitch where the pitcher gets to be more aggressive generally because he is ahead in the count. The pitcher can expand the zone and entice the hitter to try to chase pitches that he might not otherwise swing at solely because the hitter is behind and in defense mode.
Pitcher’s Hold – A hold is when a pitcher’s predetermines that he is going to come set after taking his sign from the catcher and hold the ball until the hitter calls time out. He will not make a pitch until timeout has been called and he resets. This is a more advanced tactic that is very easy to teach a young player and help him improve his ability to hold baserunners on very quickly. Watch our video about “What is a Pitcher’s Hold and How to Execute it?”
Prehabilitation – The proactive prevention of rehabilitation by undertaking the method of working out with injury prevention as a leading factor in the exercises you choose to do. Often times these exercises are low weight, if any, and focus heavily on quality form and functional movement.
Pull ups – One of the best exercises pitchers, all baseball players, all athletes, and all humans can do. I recommend getting yourself to the point that you can do at least 15 pull ups per set. If you can get there, then you know that you are getting very strong.
Push ups – One of the best exercises pitchers and all athletes can do. I recommend getting yourself to the point that you can do sets of 50 push ups. If you can get there, then you know that you are getting strong.
Push-up position – The position you are in when you are in the top of a push up. This is a great position to be able to hold for a long time as it stabilizes your shoulders, makes your tighten your core, and it helps you be conscious of what the rest of your body is doing in a pushup. I recommend making it a habit to hold push up position for at least 60 seconds a day. You can also add in scap push ups which are great for pitchers as well. Watch our video about “What are scap
Quality start – A quality start in the MLB is defined statistically as a game in which the starting pitcher pitches at least 6 innings and gives up 3 runs or less. It is kind of ironic that this is the definition of a quality start because this means that the pitcher would have a 4.5 ERA which is not considered to be a very quality ERA. Nevertheless, if you pitch 6 innings every game and give up 3 runs or less, then you will almost always win more games than you will lose in a season. If your offense is brutal then this may not be true. In my opinion, a quality start is any start in which you give your team a good chance to win.
re-group zone = a pitcher must be able to slow the game down and control it’s pace if it ever happens to get out of hand. Choose a spot on the outfield wall that you will focus on in order to re-group and start over fresh. I recommend re-connecting with this spot as the ball is being thrown around the infield after the throw down to second. Make yourself walk at least 3 big steps off of the mound and into the grass towards second base. Show the stadium that the game is being played at your pace and you will determine when you want to throw the ball. Don’t take too long, though! You wanna keep your infielders alert and ready by working quickly!
Respect the game – Play hard, don’t take it for granted. Hustle, be thankful, and always respect your coaches and team mates. Don’t leave the field without taking care of it first. Make sure that you are on time and that you always give a million percent. Treat it like it won’t be here tomorrow, because in baseball and in life, tomorrow is never guaranteed.
robotically graceful = a term coined by a Legit Lefty! In all the movements you make as a pitcher and an athlete you want to feel like you are turning into a robot. The more clean and crisp all of your preparation exercises and drills are, the more effective you will be on the mound. Watch our video about “What it means to be robotically graceful.”
Rookie– a first year player, in pro ball a rookie is tested. He must have thick skin and a positive attitude otherwise he may succumb to breaking down
Salesman– in certain situations on the mound you must be a salesman, picking off, throwing a change up, after giving up a bomb, or after throwing a wild pitch, you must be able to keep your emotions calm and you must be able to be a salesman
Scaps– the muscular structure on your back in between your shoulder blades, if you keep your scaps strong there is a much greater chance of resisting injury
Set the tone – Always approach each game, each at bat, each inning, with a tone of confidence and knowing that you can win. Hustle in and out to your position every inning, having a fire about the way you present yourself, and always be picking up your teammates. The tone you set and the attitude in which you choose to display on a day by day basis defines your character and the way coaches, team mates, opponents, and even fans will perceive you.
set position = the position a pitcher takes before he begins the delivery of his pitch. He must come all the way “set” and/or come to a complete pause before he delivers the pitch. Left handers can and should have multiple set positions they take if the are trying to hold runners on base more effectively
Slide step – A type of delivery a pitcher can use to make his motion home. With the slide step motion the pitcher is generally quicker to the plate making it harder for a baserunner to step. Watch our video about “How to use the slide step effectively”
Slow the game down – Remember this concept every game that you play. Remind yourself of these words when you are in situations that feel like you are losing control of what you are doing. One tangible way that I slow the game down is by stepping off of the back side of the mound, taking a couple of steps towards second base, and looking out into centerfield for a few seconds before locking back in and resetting on the rubber. I call it the “regroup sesh,” and it is one of the best things you can teach a young pitcher to add into his repertoire. Watch our video about “How to slow the game down when things aren’t going your way.”
“Shake it to break it” – When you shake a coaches hand you need to have a man’s handshake. It is the first impression he will have of you and it is vital that you have a strong handshake. I always tell my players, “Shake it to break it.”
Snap throw – A type of pick off move used by a left handed pitcher where the lefty steps off of the back side of the rubber and snap throws over to first base. Watch our video about “How to use the snap throw as a lefty pitcher.”
Soft contact – As a pitcher you want to pitch to soft contact meaning your goal is (almost) always to get the hit the ball early in the count to your defense so that they can make a play for you. All too often you will see young pitchers and old try to throw the ball by the hitter rather than throwing the ball with the intent of making the hitter hit the ball.
spacial awareness – the ability to know where your body and arm are in space throughout your pitching motion, the better spacial awareness you have, the easier it is to make adjustments pitch by pitch
Staples – the exercises, stretches, aspects, and details of your routine that you can’t live without, every athlete should have staples. For me it was pull ups, lunges, squats, push ups, scap push-ups, bee pollen, etc..
Stay closed – Keeping the front shoulder closed off as long as possible before unleashing your pitch is very important in order to get maximum velocity on your pitch, as well as protecting the health of your elbow. Often times pitchers young and old will overthrow and in doing so they will “fly open” with their front shoulder which causes their elbow to drop below the shoulder line and drag through the zone. You especially need to make sure you stay closed when you are trying to throw to your glove side. Watch our video about “How to make sure that you stay closed throughout your pitch”
stretch position = the position a pitcher is in while taking his sign from the catcher. There are multiple ways to set up your stretch position, and it is a good idea to be able to have a couple different looking stretch position if a runner is on base…click here to see some different left handed stretch positions that can help you hold runners on base more effectively.
Superfood – Just about any whole food could be considered a superfood. Organically grown fruits and vegetables are superfoods, as well as other foods like cacao, goji berries, maca
powder, hemp seeds, bee pollen, etc. Watch our video about “What are the best superfoods baseball players can eat?”
Swagger – If you don’t have at least some personal swagger then you are going to lose. You have to have the inherent confidence that you know you can win, you have what it takes, and you can play with the best.
Swinging gate – One of the most common problems in young pitcher mechanics. This is when the pitcher is bringing up his front knee and driving it towards the catcher first rather than back towards the ground first. Watch our video about “What is the swinging gate and how to fix it?”
Take Initiative – If you care about your baseball career and your life then you need to take the initiative to do the things you need to do. It starts with getting good grades and doing what it takes to make sure that you make that a top priority. Then it goes into getting into college and doing what it takes to fill out applications, research where you want to go, make visits to schools, etc, in order to get yourself into the best possible situation that you can. You need to be the one that cares the most all the time. Don’t expect mommy and daddy to do everything for you, even if they are they type that is willing to do that.
TeamSnap – A helpful software application for team managers that functions as an all in one message board, practice reminder and updater, and much more. If you are a baseball coach or manager, this app is for you. I also loved using the app because it helped me teach my young players accountability as they had to always update their team snap to inform the team if they were going to be at practice.
Tempo – One of the most important elements of pitching that great pitchers know how to manage. If you have good tempo then things tend to go your way, if you have choppy, bad tempo then it is likely that your defense will make more errors behind you and you won’t throw as many strikes. Learning to harness your tempo as a pitcher and be mindful of it is very valuable, especially if you can start from a young age. Watch our video about “How to maintain good tempo on the mound”
Throw it down the middle – You should be able to throw the ball down the middle of the plate with your eyes closed. You must have confidence in your ability to throw the ball down the middle and to throw a strike when you need one. Don’t feel like you always have to paint corners, especially if you are facing a bad hitter. It doesn’t mean you are feeding him cookies, it just means that you trust your stuff and you aren’t afraid to throw it down the middle and see what he can do with it.
Tool belt – Everything you learn throughout your baseball path adds more tools to your tool belt. Try to remember tangible things to do in order to implement valuable tricks and tactics to add to your game.
Trust it – When you are on the mound or at bat, you have to trust yourself and react. You can not be up there over analyzing every detail of your mechanics once you are in the heat of battle, that is what practice is for. Once you are in the live game you need to be able to trust in your ability and go to work.
Wet noodle – Think of your arm as a wet noodle when you are going through your day-to-day throwing program. This means that you want your arm to be loose and free through the zone opposed to tense and rigid, which generally happens you are trying to throw too hard.
Work down, work ahead – a primary FTP for a pitcher. Command your pitches down in the zone. Throw strike one consistently. You should be repeating this phrase throughout your outings.
Yoga – Hands down, one of the best forms of training for baseball players. Yoga not only helps baseball players obtain more flexibility
YouTube – there are no excuses these days. The resources are out there all over the place. Kids that really want to improve will use the internet and websites such as YouTube to find new ways to keep getting better