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Pitching TR- Velo Chart


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Every hear of a velocity chart? If not, you need to familiarize yourself with it and begin to train everything on the mound towards developing a marketable "velo" chart.

Understand that since baseball is a number's game, most scouts and recruiters utilize velo charts to determine the worth of a pitcher and his potential.

A velocity chart (or "velo" chart) is a table that graphs out a pitcher's pitches, their velocities, and provides the user with the ability to determine potential. It also provides the user with a full understanding of how hitters should approach the pitcher and his repertoire.

Velo charts are virtually unknown to youth and HS baseball because they are really only utilized at the upper levels of the game. They give both pitching and hitting coaches, alike, the scouting advantage to determine how to utilize or attack pitchers, respectively.

Additionally, velo charts quickly determine pitch quality and more importantly, a pitcher's strengths and weaknesses. If a pitcher trains to develop a proper velo chart, he will quickly gain mound results and build a greater understanding of how to attack hitters with the pitches he has.

1. Write down all of your pitches and "gun" their velocities. You want to get 10 readings of each pitch during a game. After you have 10 radar gun readings (during a game), chart each pitch velocity (listing a velocity range) under each pitch. For example, fastball readings were 82-86 MPH and so your velocity valuation for your fastball will be "82-86MPH". Do this for all pitches.

2. Draw out a graph chart on a piece of paper. For the Vertical Valuation, label it "Velocities". For the Horizontal Valuation, label it "Pitch Type".

3. For each pitch type (placed on the Horizontal Valuation), place a dot where the pitch type MEDIUM velocity matches up with the Vertical Valuation. For example, if your fastball is 82-86MPH, your MEDIUM velocity would be 84MPH. Place a dot in the fastball column that coincides with 84MPH on the Vertical Valuation line that defines 84MPH.

4. Draw a line that connects all dots of all of your pitches. This Pitching Line Valuation determines your marketable, effectiveness, and potential as a pitcher. If your 'Pitching Line Valuation' is straight, you are a very effective pitcher. If it has "pits" and "valleys" in it, you need a lot of work.

5. Make sure to start with your highest velocity pitch and then chart out each lower velocity chart after that- moving from left to right. Your Pitching Line Valuation should move in a descending manner.

Basically, you will have a graph with pitch velocity values listed vertically and pitch types listed horizontally. Each pitch type will have its own column and each 'column' will be as tall as the velocity value it is given. For example, your fastball 'column' will be the tallest, with your breaking pitch columns being shorter. Then draw a line that connects the tops of each column. This line is your "Pitching Line Valuation".

For sample Velo Chart

A velocity chart can tell you quickly what is missing from a pitcher, where holes are, and how to approach a pitcher. From an evaluation standpoint, velo charts determine mound value.

First off, a few basic pitching principles need to be addressed. Additionally, these principles are derived from an offensive standpoint, as hitters are considered the "enemy".

1. Hitters cannot cover both sides of the plate and all vectors of the zone. They must find "holes" and "sit" on pitches to remain effective.

2. Timing is much more important than balance (when hitting). 'Timing' is the change in speeds and 'Balance' is location differences.

3. Pitch recognition is one of the key components to becoming a great hitter. The sooner one can recognize the pitch, the more time one has to hit it. Pitch speed and plane change are the two biggest "tells" to what type of pitch and where it is being thrown.

4. Remember this concept, "If you are sitting on 85MPH, you cannot DRIVE 80MPH. You may HIT it, but you cannot DRIVE it."

If you take #1-4 into consideration, reading velocity charts will be much more valuable in developing pitchers.

Here are the basics. From here, you can begin to gain advanced introspective development into mound training and what a successful pitcher does to hitters.

1. The Pitching Line Valuation should be straight. The steeper the line, the better the pitcher. A minimum of 12-15MPH should separate the fastball velo from the slowest pitch velo. Additionally, there should be "connecting" pitch type velocities between the fastball and slowest pitch thrown. If there is not:

a. Hitters can sit on pitches because there is nothing in between to defend against. Pitch recognition will be easy and the hitter can ignore pitches and just sit and wait for a certain pitch.

b. Since "timing" is what good hitters rely upon, if pitch velocities are not similar, a hitter's timing will never truly be upset. Whether a pitch type changes, if the velocities are descending or ascending with similar pitch speed (5MPH changes), the hitter's TIMING will be upset.

2. Breaking pitches move in different ways, but to good hitters, if breaking pitches are similar in speed, break does not mean much- as their plate coverage and pitch recognition are superior. If the Pitching Line Valuation flattens out too much, the two connecting pitches which cause the 'Line' to flatten create a major problem. For example, if a curve ball is 78MPH and a change up is 76MPH, to a good hitter, they are both considered the same pitch. 5MPH differences between pitches is a must.

3. If #2 occurs, a hitter can turn a 3 pitch pitcher into a 2 pitch pitcher because the CB and CH are identical in speed- resulting in no effect upon "timing". Obviously, this pitcher becomes more "hittable", as he only has two pitches to adjust to. Additionally, good hitters will move further and evaluate the fastball speed. If it is slower than their hand speed (wherein they must wait on the fastball too long), they will just "sit" off speed and adjust to the fastball, resulting in a one pitch pitcher.

A good velo chart will tell a pitcher what to throw and when to throw it. It provides a great platform from which to train, develop, and implement advanced pitching skills.

1. Strike One is the most important pitch in baseball. Chart your pitch velocities and gain a better understanding of which pitches provide the biggest success rate for Strike One.

2. During situations wherein damage is minimal or a pitcher is facing a hitter he must get out in order to stop the "bleeding" (not do-or-die situation wherein the game will be determined by the current hitter), start with the fastball. From here, descend your velocity chart slowly. For example, establish Strike One with the fastball. Whether your first strike is obtained with the fastball, use it until you get a strike. From here, move to your next slowest pitch. Establish this velocity and them move back up to the highest velocity pitch. 

Basically, you want to descend the velocities to open up the highest velocity pitch for the "knockout" pitch. In doing so, your fastball appears faster than it really is.

3. In the middle innings or during pressure situations, start in the middle of your velo chart. Move up or down and then finish with the opposite velocity pitch. For example, start with a curve ball (76MPH). Move to a change up (72MPH) and then finish the sequence out with a fastball (85MPH). If the frame is still alive, a second "knockout" pitch can be thrown with the change up (72MPH). Furthermore, if the frame is still going at this point, you can ascend with a curveball, fastball, and drop back down to a change up. 

To master this type of pressure pitching, a pitcher must have full command of all of his pitches. Additionally, the pitcher should throw his fastball (in the sequence described above) inside.

4. Always understand that an 85MPH fastball looks 82MPH outside and 88MPH inside. Additionally, if the fastball is thrown low, subtract velocity and if the pitch is thrown high, increase velocity perceptions. An effective pitcher can turn an 85MPH fastball into an 80MPH, followed up with a 90MPH- just with location alone. Again, this is all based upon hitting perception and not actual gun readings. However, gun readings do not matter, as it is how the hitter reacts to the pitch that matters.

5. In order to "connect" the pitch velocities on your chart further, a pitcher can utilize his 2-3 pitches and throw them at different speeds and with different movement or break. For example, there are 3 kinds of fastballs- tailing (sinking), riding (cutting), or straight. If a pitcher has movement, his fastball rating and velo chart increase exponentially. This is why movement gets scouts salivating over pitchers. With breaking pitches, an advanced pitcher understands how to make these pitches break more horizontally or vertically. Each come with increased or decreased speed, respectively. 

6. When in doubt, go slower. The more in command a hitter is, the slower a pitcher should throw. 2-0 fastballs should be medium speed and 0-2 fastballs should be maximum speed. Another aspect to consider is a curve ball thrown on first pitch should be followed up with another curve ball or slider. This is because most hitters feel that a pitcher whom starts them off with a breaking pitch will try to work back towards such to put them away. Work opposite to increase success. 

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