VeloPRO Founder and former MLB pitcher Jim Parque is in high demand across the world due to his ability to teach pitching. There is a big difference between what it takes to throw velocity driven pitches for strikes - and just throwing hard.
As the President of Big League Edge Performance Baseball, Parque and his staff have cultivated over 450 NCAA and professional baseball pitchers. They have trained in 5 different continents, all ages, and at all levels. Reason being is their pitch-ING development is movement based and drives towards one common goal - winning ballgames.
No one knows everything, but having experience and expertise are crucial to developing pitch-ERS, and not just throwers.
VELOCITY MATTERS ONLY IF YOU CAN COMMAND IT EFFECTIVELY
Today's player development industry is infatuated with velocity. Although velocity matters and gets you noticed, it does not win ballgames. In fact, the more you throw to the radar, the less effective you become, as 2-0 counts come more often with max effort throws.
Reason being is that your mindset goes away from throwing strikes and just wants to light the radar gun up. One can mix both command and velocity, but command should always be first.
The rise of weighted baseballs has popularized the velocity craze. However, can velocity really overmatch command?
Obviously, we know the realities of radar hounds and their effectiveness towards winning ballgames. But velocity is crucial to winning, and here is why:
1. Velocity enhances pitch quality.
2. Velocity allows you to miss more often IN THE ZONE because it misses barrel.
3. Velocity increases the gap between pitch speeds - which is the hardest thing to combat against for hitters.
Look at the negatives:
1. Velocity requires you to throw harder, lose endurance, and lose command.
2. Velocity gets your mentality away from winning and towards the gun.
3. Velocity keeps you feeling like you never have enough because there is always someone whom throws harder.
4. Max effort means max amount of pitches and more hitter's counts due to overthrowing.
The "give and take" of velocity vs. command is a grey area that differs from individual to individual. In summary, the pitcher's ability, training process, and mentality are what drives the effectiveness of velocity.
PITCHING IS DEFINED AS GETTING HITTERS OUT
The objective of any pitch-ER is to win a ballgame. This requires you to throw velocity driven pitches in a series of pitches that keep runners off base. Basically, you have to miss barrel, BUT PITCH TO CONTACT:
1. Throw strike one. Batting averages decrease with the less pitches hitters see and the more often you are ahead in the count.
2. The fastball is the best pitch you have. Everything runs off your fastball and the more you can command it, the better your "out" pitches become.
3. Overmatch and undermatch hand speed. The hardest part to hitting is the "forward to back" rhythm of speed changes. Location is a part of this process, but speed changes determine pitch quality.
4. Do not plane change. Your pitches should all come out looking the same and change plane, move, or break after your release. The more plane change, the quicker hitters identify your pitches.
5. Change eye levels.
6. Stop throwing to the black and start throwing to contact. Remember that if you are sitting 85MPH (as a hitter), you cannot drive 80MPH or 90MPH. The goal is to miss barrel, not strike hitters out.
7. Stay in the game. If MLB pitchers are paid upon innings pitched, you should too. If you are a reliever, get hitters out as quickly as possible and this means throwing strikes and showing less of what you have per at bat.
8. Be relentless and pound the zone. The more you can make hitters swing or feel they have to swing, the more chance you have to get outs. A great hitter fails 7 out of 10 times.
9. Vary speeds more than location. If you throw 90MPH, start off with 85MPH on the outside. Then run it up to 90MPH later in the at bat. Granted, you may have to adjust this game plan depending upon the situation and hitter, but velocity is relative. Location is not.
10. If you do not possess velocity, manufacture it. Meaning, an 85MPH fastball down the middle looks 80MPH outside and 90MPH inside (to hitters). It will look even harder after an off speed pitch or slower if you throw it lower. Additionally, if you have plane, it looks harder. Again, velocity is RELATIVE to the hitter's hand speed, vision, and perceptual game plan.
SUPPORT YOUR PERFORMANCE
Supporting your arm leads to supporting your performance. The number one way to stay in the game, stay healthy, and be consistent is through core support. VeloPRO training harnesses build support through motor pattern realignment, and this creates balanced force.
Take a "tug of war" and you will know what balanced force is - one side working against the other. The key to throwing hard and commanding it is through this balanced force creation that builds explosive power, contains it, and then unovermatches one side to explode the other.
This is basically your back hip driving down the slope and then opening your hips at the right moment during your delivery. The issue is understanding when to open the hips.
Popularized weighted baseball programs ignore support or do not understand how it plays into your pitching delivery. Just 'Google' ballistic throws or run and guns. You will see contorted pitching deliveries, blown hips, and unsupported throwing shoulders.
Granted, there are exceptions to everything, but the common theme is unsupported arms trying to maximize velocity.
This is because weighted baseball users are overloading or underloading a fulcrum lever (arm) and trying to get it to move faster with force and acceleration. The issue is that the core is not supporting the faster moving arm - resulting in the aforementioned mechanical issues.
If you upload the outermost extremity (your hand) and do not support it, you create mechanical and movement compensations with support. Weighted baseballs can be effective if trained with support.