I can’t believe with all the years I played and coached I never gave this question any thought before. Going back to LL through college (recruited as OFer/pitched some relief first two years of college) I could fall out of bed throwing to location. My son was the same way (pitched through high school). Once coaching my 13u to 16u travel team we had a pitching coach with AAA experience. I didn’t give pitching detail much thought. 

I was having a chat with an ACC pitcher’s dad at a game. His father bemoaned against lesser non conference teams his kid has impeccable command and dominates. When he gets in ACC games he tries too hard, grooves a pitch and gets pounded. To me, this is mental. 

Through high school the dominant pitchers get away with smoking most of the lineup. Command isn’t as important. 

Where does command come from? Is it learned? Do you just pitch until it comes?

** The dream is free. Work ethic sold separately. **

Original Post

Command comes when you have the ability and the confidence to pitch without thinking about the outcome.  In golf, the good players see where they don't want to hit the ball and try not to hit it there (control).  The great players see where they want to hit the ball and hit it there (command).  That's the diffrence between a scratch golfer and the top 150 players in the world.

I know the definition. I was a pitcher and a coach. But command came naturally to me and my son. I’m wondering if either have it or you don’t or can it be learned. Or is it just pitching and focusing over the years it finally comes? Most college pitchers dominate high school. They get most hitters out with velocity. With the exception of a few flame throwers it all changes in college.

High school and college ball are so different. Freshman year of college I was asked if I was stolen blind in high school with my weak move. I asked, “What baserunners?” The response was good for a practice running poles.

Seems to me that, like just about everything about pitching, command can be honed and improved with good coaching and practice, but I don't think it can really be taught. Think about how many pitchers you have seen over the years with good (or even great) stuff, but poor command--or who can't even consistently throw strikes.  MLB teams have hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to figure out a way to teach command.  In the current era of super slow motion video and computer-aided analysis, I expect coaching techniques will improve.  But at bottom, I think you either got it or you ain't got it...      

i think it comes at a point when you realize that you are either a high velo guy and you are willing to give up command to have velo and hopefully control.  As I have thought about this, I think it partly comes naturally to have control but I think command is mostly a result of not having the velo and deciding if I can't overpower you I will outspot you.  I will throw the ball exactly where I want it to be.  I do not know of a high velo guy who has command and most don't have control.  We talk about the top 1% and as pitchers they are either high velo guys or excellent command guys.  My youngest son is definitely a high command guy who has always been able to put a ball right where he wanted it and is not willing to give up that great command for velo.  My middle son was a high velo guy who was not willing to give up velo to get command.  It was a mindset for each of them.  As I teach pitching lessons now, I see kids who have a mindset of wanting the command others who want the velo.   You have to teach each differently.  I remind some of the high velo guys to work on control and I have had one guy who had always been a control leaning toward command guy who grew and is now becoming a velo guy and now is less command mindset. 

So for my summation, partly mindset and party God given ability toward one or the other.  The sad part is I think there are a lot of mid 80's guys who could be P5 pitchers if they would change their mindset and become high command pitchers rather than control pitchers trying to get velo.

RJM posted:

I know the definition. I was a pitcher and a coach. But command came naturally to me and my son. I’m wondering if either have it or you don’t or can it be learned. Or is it just pitching and focusing over the years it finally comes? Most college pitchers dominate high school. They get most hitters out with velocity. With the exception of a few flame throwers it all changes in college.

High school and college ball are so different. Freshman year of college I was asked if I was stolen blind in high school with my weak move. I asked, “What baserunners?” The response was good for a practice running poles.

I didn't offer a definition, at least intentionally.   My point was that command comes when the right physical skill set is matched up with the right mentality.

Longenhagen from fangraphs has said he believes that generally athletic pitchers have more potential to add command than big klutz type of guys with little athleticsm.

This doesn't mean athletic pitchers can't be wild, just that they tend to respond better to training for command than less athletic guys.

I think as for the reasons of command there are several things

1) macro moves like balance issues, front leg stability, head jerk, deceleration

2) timing of movements and release

3)micro moves like grip, wrist, finger pressure

4) mental issues

And a lot of other stuff. Several things and if just one thing is off everything can go out of the window 

 

PGStaff aka Jerry Ford.

6/10/16

"When someone talks command, it includes control.

When someone talks about control, it may or may not include command.  You can not have great command without good control.  You can have good control without great command."

Where does command come from?  Difficult question to answer,  but IMO it's not something you can teach and very difficult for most pitchers to master for all of their pitches. There are but a handful of really elite arms in MLB that have great control and great command of 3 or 4 pitches.  

A pitcher that has great command knows exactly where to put any pitch where he wants it.  That's not easy for most pitchers to master.

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