The Art Of Pitching: Hiding The Baseball From Opponents
It's important to hide the baseball from the batter and opposing team when you're pitching, especially at the higher levels of the game. Good hitters can pick up even the most subtle variations in your stance and delivery. Work on developing consistency in your delivery, no matter what pitch you're throwing, so your opponents don't know what's coming before the pitch is actually delivered.
Here are some tips to help you hide the baseball from opponents...
If you stay "closed" in your delivery to the plate, the batter literally cannot see the ball until the last moment.
The way to achieve that is to keep your shoulder and hip "closed" -- hiding the ball in your pitching hand -- until the last possible moment. That's when hitters will say the don't see the ball very well.
When your shoulder "flies open," you tend to bring the ball by your leg more, making it easier for the hitter to pick up how you are holding the seams of the baseball sooner.
Of course, please realize that we are talking about hundredths of a second, here. But, in the major leagues, that can be enough. These guys can get an advantage from even that.
So, hiding your grip on the ball is important. Even hiding your glove is important -- when you first grip the ball, that can be very important if you have a runner on base.
But, even if there's no runner on, the way a pitcher takes a grip on the ball when getting ready to throw is important. For instance, get your glove ready like you are about to throw to the plate -- then grip for a fastball. Now try gripping for a curveball. An experienced hitters will pick up on which one is coming by what you hold -- unless you are careful to disguise it.
By the way -- This is especially true with pitchers who use smaller gloves. Believe it or not, smart hitters zoom right in on that. They look to see if "more palm" or "less palm" is showing in the glove -- because that might tell them what is coming. And that can give them a edge. Any little advantage the veterans can get, they will jump on it. (Maybe that's why they are veterans.)
Let me take that further. It isn't just the batter at the plate try to catch a glimpse of that, vets do it from the dugout. They aren't in there "chewing the fat," they're studying every move the opposing pitcher makes.
Seasoned veterans pass this information along to younger teammates -- which makes a team all the better. And, if a younger player thinks he can maintain his ability to just hit a pitch, he can then make use of that info. (By the way, some guys like knowing what type of pitch is coming, and some do not. The latter just like "reacting" to what comes.)