Your best foot forward; get going in the right direction;
important to get a good start; all cliché terms that leaders use to describe
the importance of the beginning action and that it should be positive. Pitching
is no different; we want to get started on the best possible path to success.
In each at-bat there is a critical moment that a pitcher can begin the best
possible path to success…FIRST PITCH STRIKES. Any person, in softball or baseball,
will tell you there lay a dramatic difference in the success of an at-bat that
begins 0-1, than begins 1-0.
The reason lies at the most basic fundamental level, confidence.
A pitcher who is 0-1, feels confident to explore the strike zone, throw a
second or third pitch in their repertoire and know that if he or she misses or is
unsuccessful, the count is at 1-1 and is still in control of the at bat. A
batter who is 1-0, feels confident that a pitcher must rely on a fast ball or
some pitch they can throw for a strike and not nibble at the corners, the
pitcher must work to even the count before entering even more dangerous ground
of 2-0 pitches.
More than ERA allows for meaningful collection of first
pitch strike data in its postgame recap section of their pitching charts as
well as in their performance reporting. Pitchers after a game who do their own
postgame recap will begin to understand how their better performances have a
correlation to the number of first pitch strikes they have thrown. The More
then ERA performance reports allow pitcher and coach to monitor and track the
current situation, improvement and maintaining the goals that the coach has set
for the pitching staff. Your pitchers will astound you of what they are capable
of when you set a bar and ask them to jump over it, and a great bar for them to
continually jump over is getting ahead with a FIRST PITCH STRIKE.