1. Throw at least 70% first pitch strikes- A pitchers life motto should be: Get ahead, stay ahead. Think about it this way, every strike that you throw makes the batter’s chance of a hit go down. Have someone keep track of your first pitch strike percentage and make 70% your goal.
  2. Attack hitters with 2 outs and nobody on- Two out walks are UNACCEPTABLE. Go after the batter and attack the strike zone.
  3. Be able to throw 2 types of breaking balls- One, you should be able to throw for a strike when needed and the other you should be able to throw in the dirt when you want to make the batter chase it.
  4. Use both sides of the plate- Too many pitchers will miss inside early in a game and then stay away the rest of the game. To keep hitters off balance you need to be able to command both the inside and outside of the plate.
  5. Have a pickoff move that gets to first base in 1 second or less- Get a stop watch and have someone time you. A solid move will get the ball to the first basemen around one second.
  6. Focus on one pitch at a time- A good pitcher doesn’t get caught up with things he can’t control. His focus is always on the upcoming pitch.
  7. Start strong- Come into the game sharp and ready. If you are a starting pitcher who is a notorious slow starter, pretend like you throw the first inning in the bullpen. Visualize going through the first three batters in the pen and go into the game as if you’re in mid game form.
  8. Practice throwing from the stretch- When Greg Maddux used to warm up in the bullpen before a start, he would throw 70% from the stretch and 30% from the windup. Why was this? Because Maddux knew that the most important pitches he would throw would be from the stretch with runners on base.
  9. Get the most out of your bullpen sessions- Don’t just go through the motions in the bullpen. Always throw bullpen pitches with a count in mind. 0-0 curveball for a strike, 0-2 fastball off the plate, etc. That way every pitch has a purpose and you never feel unprepared for a game situation.
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