Process for Pitching

Scott Francis
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There are two things about this article on Greg Maddux that struck me:

  1. This guy had a great process for practicing and executing the business of pitching baseballs.  It reminded me a bit of Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
  2. Greg, like many practitioners of great process, chose to keep his thinking and his approach a relatively well-guarded secret for as long as he was competing (perhaps he’ll open up more in retirement?)

Interesting notes:

  • He wasn’t interested in the fastest pitch, or the most dramatic breaking ball.  He wanted a late-breaking ball, and he wanted dramatic changes in speed, with minimal “tells” from the pitching motion itself.  Not interested in flash or show – just results.  That really resonates with process guys! “Then he explained that I couldn’t tell his pitches apart because his goal was late quick break, not big impressive break.”
  • He practiced relentlessly
  • He practiced with purpose – there was a process to it, not just an effort.
  • A key goal was to prevent home runs.  No home runs, your team has a chance to play defense.
  • He had serious discipline:  “He sought pitches that looked hittable and identical — getting the hitter to commit to swing — but weren’t. Any pitch that didn’t conform to this, even if it looked good, was scrapped as inefficient.”

 

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