Baseball Pitching Coach
For a new baseball fan, the number of coaches filling the dugout and bullpen may be overwhelming. However, each of these coaches has specific roles and responsibilities before, during, and after each baseball game, and each coach plays a critical role in the team’s overall success or failure. This article explains the specific role a pitching coach plays on a baseball team.
Pitching Coach Definition
A pitching coach plays a similar yet opposite role to a hitting coach. Instead of working on the form and mechanics of the team’s offensive batters, the pitching coach is part of a baseball team’s defensive squad, working specifically to improve the team’s pitchers. Primarily, pitching coaches help improve pitcher performance by adjusting their pitchers’ mechanics, reviewing game footage, studying the opposition, and creating an arsenal of different pitches that the pitcher is capable of throwing.
Pitching Coach Roles and Responsibilities
The pitching coach is responsible for training, instructing, and communicating with a team’s pitching squad. Many of these coaches' responsibilities relate to pitching mechanics.
Successful baseball pitchers have a wide variety of types of pitches in their arsenals to use in different situations and on different batters. For example, a good change-up can take a batter off guard, causing him to whiff the ball. Throw a change-up at the wrong time, though, and you’re likely to get a home run blasted on you.
Pitching coaches not only educate players on baseball situations and the specifics of opposing batters, but they also spend a great deal of time working with pitchers on how to expertly throw a variety of different pitches. Pitching coaches play a front-and-center role in developing a pitcher's form and mechanics and in reviewing game footage.
The pitching coach is also responsible for recognizing when a starting pitcher’s arm begins to grow tired. At this point, they will work with the team’s manager or head coach, and the bullpen coaches, to begin warming up a replacement pitcher to take the mound. This is an important aspect of the pitching coach’s job, as leaving a pitcher with a tired arm in the game can result in additional hits and even runs being scored by the opposing team.
Pitching Coach Skills
A good pitching coach must be knowledgeable about different types of pitches, the mechanics of throwing those pitches, and the opposing team’s lineups. To prepare pitchers to play at peak performance, these coaches must be at the top of their knowledge game.
The best pitching coaches are strategic about when to use certain pitches and can communicate why to their pitchers. Pitching coaches work together with catchers, managers, and head coaches to call pitches during the game, depending on the game situation and the batter at the plate. This process takes a lot of strategy and communication between different members of the team.
Pitching is one of the most high-stress responsibilities in the game of baseball, as the entire defense depends on and reacts to whatever the pitcher does. When the game gets particularly tense, pitching coaches often visit the mound to communicate with the pitcher directly, another reason why communication is an important skill for these coaches.
Best MLB Pitching Coaches
Some of the best MLB pitching coaches of all time are:
- George Bamberger
- Dave Duncan
- Leo Mazzone
- Mel Stottlemyre
- Jim Turner
What is a pitching coach in baseball?
A pitching coach is an important member of a baseball team’s defensive squad. Pitching coaches prepare the team’s pitchers for games, keep them relaxed and well-performing throughout the game, and constantly work to improve mechanics. Pitching coaches primarily remain in the dugout throughout baseball games, but you also may see them on the mound between plays, encouraging and conferencing with their players.
What does a pitching coach do in baseball?
A pitching coach works with a team’s pitchers to develop an arsenal of pitches for game use. These coaches work tirelessly to perfect pitchers’ form and mechanics. They play a critical role in calling pitches during a baseball game, too. Perhaps most importantly, the pitching coach keeps tabs on their pitchers throughout the game, ensuring their arms do not get too tired and that the mental stress of the position does not wear them down.