3 Tips on Becoming an Elite Pitcher


Being an elite pitcher is much, MUCH more than just throwing absolute gas. Everyone wants to be the next Gerrit Cole or Jacob DeGrom, but what a lot of people don’t see is that yes, they may throw in the upper 90’s, but that is only one component to their success. Pitching is like a game of chess. Every pitch should have a purpose, and getting a batter out is like a checkmate. Want to know how to up your mound presence? Check out these 3 ways to pitch like an elite pitcher!


  1. Own the Plate.

When pitching, location is everything. When you’re younger and sometimes even through your high school years, you can get away with mistakes here and there (Not always, but a good chunk of the time). If you want to be elite, you need to own ALL parts of the plate, meaning you have to be able to hit locations. When you are pitching and you can move the ball from the outside part to the inside part, then back to the outside, you’re already one step ahead. If you have the time, check out any highlight reel on Greg Maddux. First thing you will notice is that he did not have the velocity that some of today’s pitchers have, but the man could put the ball anywhere he wanted. Learn that location is everything and watch batters always be off balance.


  1. Velocity isn’t Everything.

I love comparing these tips to pro players because if you want to watch examples or see these tips in action, it is the easiest way to do so. For this tip, Bartolo Colon was the KING of perceived velocity. Like I said earlier, pitching is like a game of chess. Every pitch should serve a purpose and every pitch should be used to set up the next one. Colon was great in his early days because he DID have the velo like elite pitchers do today, but as he got older, that velo didn’t stay. As he aged, he found something that worked better: throw your fastball off your breaking stuff. If you can properly execute your off-speed pitches, your fastball looks 10x faster. He would execute his off-speed pitches so well, that, and I quote, his fastball looked and felt like a bowling ball. So he may have only thrown 88-90mph late in his career, but with great off-speed, his fastball appeared just like it did early in his career. Execute off-speed, spot up with your fastball and watch batters get blown away.


  1. Recovery

As an ex-collegiate pitcher myself, the one thing I wish I took more seriously was my recovery and arm care. Now more than ever, you are seeing more and more injuries in pitchers. Why is that? Well, lots of reasons. One is that baseball players are lifting and training now more than ever. Which means more power and velocity, which is great, but the downside is that it is adding much more stress to your elbow and shoulder. Your recovery routine should be something that a pitcher takes extremely seriously because not only does it help you play better, but it extends your career. Take days off when you need to, use weighted balls, prime your body to take on the strain that pitching causes, and most importantly: STRETCH! Whether it’s before, during, after, or all the above – take care of your arm and listen to your body. Too many kids try to be tough and throw through pain, but I can promise you, it is not worth it. Stay smart and play for as long as you can!