By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
Every great pitcher possesses certain skills that make them so great. They are accuracy, velocity, movement, mental toughness, and a healthy arm. The more of these skills a pitcher has, the better they will generally be.
Accuracy is important because a pitcher needs to be able to locate their pitches. If they don't have good accuracy, they will walk too many hitters. Also, an inability to hit certain locations will often give the hitters too many pitches in the middle part of the plate resulting in some big hits. A good pitcher should have great accuracy with all of their pitches.
Velocity is a skill that some pitchers have and others don't. The harder a pitcher throws, the more they can get away with mistake pitches. A mistake pitch is a pitch that does not go exactly where a pitcher wants it to. If a pitcher throwing 85 mph throws a fastball down the middle, it is likely the hitter will get a big hit. If another pitcher throws the same pitch 95 mph, they will have a much better chance of making the hitter miss.
A fast pitch can only take a pitcher so far. The best hitters can hit even the fastest pitchers in baseball. Having movement on your pitches is what makes the slower pitchers have such great success. If a pitcher's fastball has natural movement, they will have more success with it than a pitcher with a straight fastball. Movement is also very important with the off speed pitches.
Pitchers need to be mentally tough. Sometimes, they will be faced with adversity and need to overcome it. They can't let a few hits bother them. Also, they can't be intimidated by a good hitter. At times, it can be very hard to concentrate while pitching, but a pitcher with good mental toughness should be able to overcome any distractions and pitch like normal.
Every now and then, a pitcher goes down with an arm injury. It happens to almost all pitchers at some point in their career. Being able to avoid these arm injuries and recover quickly is a very important pitching skill. It does a team no good if you are constantly injured or suffer from a sore arm.
Having these pitching skills in your possession will help make you into a great pitcher. Some of them come naturally, and some of them you may need to work very hard to obtain. But once you have them, your success will skyrocket.
If you'd like to receive more of my best tips and techniques to throw harder with better control while reducing the risk of injury, I invite you to subscribe to my free baseball pitching tips here: www.pitchingtips.com/free
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