11 Tips For Setting Up Hitters

  • Updated on Dec. 17, 2016

2017 MLB Tryouts

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ATTENTION PITCHERS: One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.

If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

Jon Lester pitching gif
Jon Lester

In this article, you'll learn some of my favorite methods and pitching strategies for setting up hitters and keeping them uncomfortable and off balance.

1. Pitch inside on hitters

  • Many pitchers are reluctant to pitch inside to a hitter because they might hit them, but if a pitcher can pitch inside, he’ll be much more effective.
  • Learn to concentrate on an inside target at the knee or hip area. There is a big open area at those spots. When a pitcher throws up and in, the pitcher sees elbows and arms, so there is a tendency to get the ball out over the plate too much.
  • A pitcher can not worry about hitting a batter. The batter has to watch out for himself.
  • It is more effective for a hard thrower to pitch inside than a pitcher with an average fastball.

2. Know when to throw inside or outside

  • When ahead in the count pitch inside, since the batter is more protective and probably will wait longer with an inside-out swing.
  • When behind in the count, pitch on the outside 1/3. The hitter will usually try to muscle up and pull the ball more.
  • On an 0-2 count to a good hitter, pitch him on the low-outside corner.
  • If you can’t throw hard, don’t pitch inside often for strikes.

3. Move the ball around on the hitter

  • After throwing a strike, don’t repeat the same pitch in the same location. The hitter has just seen that one.
  • After a ball, it’s OK to repeat the same general location for a strike.
  • Try to make sure your pitches change plains
    • Curve and slider break down as well as out
    • Fast ball tails or sinks
    • Change up sinks and fades away
    • Split drops as well as changes speed

4. The mental process for control.

  • Verbalize the pitch to an exact location.
  • Visualize the ball to that spot.
  • Visualize yourself doing it perfectly and watch the ball to that spot.
  • Concentrate on the task at hand - program your thoughts - program your pitches.

5. Change speeds often

  • Change speeds on your various pitches
  • Change speeds on the best hitters - big swingers
  • Don’t change up on weak hitters, do them no favors!
  • Except for the big swingers, don’t change up with 2 strikes on a hitter.
  • One of the real secrets of being a successful pitcher is to destroy  a hitter’s timing.

6. Get your breaking pitch over or a strike

A good pitcher can throw the fast ball to spots; the curve ball for strikes; and change speeds to disrupt timing.

7. Be aggressive

Don't fear failure - you won't be able to accept the challenge - concentrate on positive thoughts - be aggressive

8. Stay relaxed between pitches

Keep your game concentration. Think only about pitching.

9. Stay ahead of hitters

10. Know the game situation

Know the importance of each runner on base.

11. Know the best pitch and use it when you’re in trouble.

Your most effective pitch may change game from game, even during the same game.

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Youth pitching program
One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.

If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

What do you think?

Now it's time to hear from you:

Are there any additional tips for setting up hitters that I missed?

Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this article even better.

Either way, leave a comment and let me know.




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