I always believed that I was the only one who really knew what pitch I had confidence in throwing at that particular time.  I believed if I was prepared as far as knowing the scouting report, I had a better chance of pitching well, because I could control the tempo of the game and not have to wait for the coach to relay the pitch into my catcher.

At Jacksonville University, I allow my catchers and pitchers to call their own game as long as they prove to me that they can handle that responsibility. 

For example, if I have a young pitcher who is inexperienced and needs to just concentrate on his mechanics, then I will step in and call his game.  Sometimes I might have a catcher that is young or just does not have a good feel for his staff or the game, and then it is my job to recognize that and take the game over.

If I do call a game, I need to be prepared in two very important aspects. 

  1. I must know my opponent.
  2. I must know my pitchers’ strengths and weaknesses.

Sometimes a scouting report is overrated.  I feel a coach can be so consumed with all the information he has gathered that he makes the game more complicated than it should be.

In addition, what good is it if a hitter cannot hit a slider, but at the same time, your pitcher’s “out pitch” might be his two-seam fastball?

Do you throw that particular hitter a below average slider, because the scouting report says to do so, or do you concentrate on your pitcher’s strengths and what his dominant side of the plate is?  This is a very important question I feel needs to be addressed when a coach is deciding what particular pitch should be thrown at a crucial point of a ball game.

The benefits of a pitcher/catcher calling their own game are two-fold. 

  1. They are gaining valuable experience that will help them advance their career if they are lucky enough to play professional baseball.
  2. It helps the tempo of the game and keeps the pitcher in control of the at bat.  The pitcher becomes the aggressor by saying, “Let’s go, hitter.  Get in the box, I am ready to go…”

No matter what you decide to do as a coach, make sure your staff believes in your philosophy.

They need to have a 100% conviction rate when they are on the mound, and remember it’s not the pitch that is called that is always right; more than not, it is the location of that pitch!

“Keep it Simple”

Click here to read more information about how to read pitchers.

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