Pitching Lab… Inside the Nets

By Robbie Aviles (Pitching Lab Coach, RHP, Cleveland Indians organization)

Pitching-Lab-and-Ball

As we get close to the start of the Pitching Lab, I am getting really excited to put to work what we have mapped out for our pitchers.  The Pitching Lab allows for 19 sessions of training inside the nets.  That means we will throw and pitch a good amount.  It will encompass everything from pitching correctives, to simulated long toss and extensive instruction on how to throw different types of pitches in different situations.  We will work on a variety of pitches including 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, change-ups and breaking balls.

Pitching Correctives

At the beginning of the Pitching Lab every pitcher gets video-ed for bio-mechanical analysis from 4 angles, similar to this:

Clancy Video Review

This video is then analyzed for any mechanical disconnects and every pitcher will be given individualized pitching correctives specific to each athletes needs.

I can tell you from personal experience that much of pitching is habitual and making adjustments requires a dedicated pitcher and a set of correctives. When I arrived at the Indians camp my first year they told me I needed to get stronger in the weight room and utilize my lower half more. So, there I was doing drills every day for weeks on how to lead with my hip first and learn how to engage my lower body in my delivery. I still do these drills to this day.

(Pitching Lab Tip #4 – Lower Half Engagement)

If you want to improve your mechanics then correctives are a necessity and we put them to work at the Lab.  Here are a couple of additional examples:

(1/2 Kneeling Pronations)

(Marshalls)

(Lead Leg Back Foot)

Different Types of Pitches and Situational Pitching

Everywhere you look these days everyone is talking about velo. But let me tell you from personal experience you need to know how to pitch as well. While velo is crucial, it only goes so far. We recently put out a number of videos titled Pitching Lab Tips covering different topics on pitching.  Here are tips #1 and #2:

(Pitching Lab Tip #1 – Change-up)

(Pitching Lab Tip #2 – Curveballs vs. Sliders)

If you are interested in reviewing the rest of the videos please click here.

We will be covering all types pitches extensively and reviewing when and how they could be most effective.  We will be working the corners and sequencing pitches.  We will review pre-game prep and game-day prep.  Every pitcher will have a folder where we will track pitches, record velos and monitor every pitcher’s progress.

Schedule

The 19 sessions in the Pitching Lab are progressive in nature.  We begin with 65%-70% intensity and work our way up to 100% just before the beginning of the high school season.  We will begin with a low pitch count in the early stages and work our way up to 40-50 pitches off the mound in LIVE situations with umpires on hand to call balls and strikes.  The following is a brief summary of the schedule which includes 19 total sessions:

  • Weeks 1-4 – Ramp-up, Simulated Long Toss, Pitching Correctives
  • Weeks 5-10 – Fastballs, Breaking Balls and Change-ups
  • Weeks 11-13 – Situational Pitching
  • Weeks 14-17 – Game Prep and Planning
  • Weeks 18-19 – LIVE

Growing up throwing with my dad was awesome. But I can tell you this, to find a program that utilizes all of the tools necessary (including strength training) to succeed at the highest level under one roof was impossible back then.  I honestly wish I had something like the Pitching Lab available to me when I was coming up through high school. The Pitching Lab, inside and outside the nets, is the most comprehensive program that I know of and it covers all the bases.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in the nets soon…

 

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