I have read a zillion books on baseball—maybe more than any other subject other than real estate. And there may be more baseball books than real estate books.
One of the best is one I am now reading: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches by Tyler Kepner. It is a bad title. The book is about the grip and other techniques and actual performance details and mostly mental aspects of pitching each of those pitches. Also, the basic idea of what pitchers are trying to do and what batters are trying to do.
For example, I couldn’t find it just now but it says pitching is something like four things: placement in relation to the strike zone, late movement of the ball, something else, and velocity, and that velocity is the least important.
I was not that good of a player, but I played semi-pro for years and even I could hit straight really fast fastballs. I did it in the batting cages. It is just a timing issue.
But I faced some former pro pitchers. They were fast AND they could put every pitch “in the black” meaning over the black edges of the modern rubber plates. That is very difficult to deal with. You do not have time to see if it is a strike or a ball. And if it IS a strike, it is a pitcher’s pitch not a hitter’s pitch.
I do not remember seeing any fastballs with movement. I never faced a former MLB pitcher. Those guys have moving fastballs. I faced former minor leaguers and their fastballs did not move, which is probably why they did not make it to the majors.
Young would-be pitchers should focus less on velocity and more on the ability to get accuracy and movement and the whole Zen mental aspects of the game.
I read so many baseball books that I ran out of them and had to read books about the front office and stadiums and such. I normally read about 100 pertinent books for every book I write. For my Youth Baseball Coaching book, I suspect I may have read 300.
One reader told me he read every youth baseball coaching book there is and that mine is not only the best but better than all the others combined. I told him, “I know. I also read all those books. I incorporated the good stuff from each into my book and added my own discoveries as a coach.”
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