Give your teammates a breather
The other day I saw a high school pitcher make this mistake and I thought others could learn from it as well. A batter hit a fly ball far down the right field line. The right fielder busted his butt trying to get to the area and make the catch but the ball was too far out of his reach. The pitcher got a new ball and was back on
the mound looking for the sign from the catcher before the right fielder even had a chance to get back to his original position.
This is a case where the pitcher was so focused on what he needed to do that he lacked awareness of something his teammate needed from him – time for a breather.
In this case, the pitcher should have received a new ball and taken a walk around the mound for a few seconds until the outfielder got back to his position. When I pitched, I would not get back on the mound until the fielder let me know (wave or nod) that he was ready to go.
Basically, it is not to your advantage to have any of your fielders be at less than 100% on each pitch so be sure to give them the time they need after plays that involve lots of running. Such plays include:
- Long runs after batted balls – fair or foul
- Rundown plays
- Any time the catcher sprints down to first on ground balls
Hitters can learn from this as well. Too often batters will get back into the box before runners on base have a chance for a breather. A runner takes off on a steal and the batter fouls the pitch off. Ideally, the batter should wait for the runner to fully get back and acknowledge that he is ready to go again.
Little things like this go unnoticed by virtually everyone in the park. However, do it and surely your teammates will notice.
Tomorrow’s post: Teach it to learn it