Priority number one for a pitcher is to throw strikes, early and often. If you throw a lot of strikes you dramatically increase your chances of success.
Don't believe me? Check out these numbers.
Below, are the results of a study of National League hitters a few years back, broken down by count and resulting batting average.
I found those numbers here.
As you can see, when Major League pitchers were ahead in the count the opposing batters hit for a much much much lower average than when the pitchers were behind in the count.
I'm sure these numbers are even more in the pitcher's favor in lower levels of the game. Keep this in mind the next time you’re on the mound. If this info doesn’t encourage you to throw more strikes, I don’t know what will.
I encourage pitchers to adopt the identity of being a strike thrower. Adopt a mantra to reinforce this in your mind while on the mound. Here are a few I've used:
Get Ahead, Stay Ahead.
Fill up the strike zone.
Challenge the hitter.
These are just examples. You can come up with your own. Remember, the odds are in your favor if you throw strikes.
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