Time Your Visits Carefully
Time Your Visits Carefully
The timing of a mound visit is sometimes a necessity but also an intangible skill. A good rule of thumb to go by would be when the pitcher reaches the 20 pitch mark of the inning take a mound visit. By this point of the inning the pitcher is in some type of stress that needs to be addressed. Other times for a pitching coach to take a visit might not be deemed necessary by most, but to the observant coach it offers a valuable opportunity to slow the game down for the pitcher in a crucial moment of the game. This could be as a reminder for game plan against a particular hitter, timely emotional deterrent or to simplify the situation to make it easier for pitch selection.
It also matters at what point of the game in which you go. More specifically if you are going in the middle of an AB or middle of an inning. If you are going in the middle of an AB, the question remains why would you choose to do that with that pitcher in that situation?
One reason for going out in the middle of an AB is if the pitching coach thought he saw the pitcher grimace or indicate that he possibly injured himself.
Another reason for going out in the middle of an AB is if a pitcher was unable to make an adjustment on the previous batter and then he falls behind the current batter 1-0 or 2-0.
If you are going out in the middle of an inning it is important to factor in the pace and tempo of your pitcher and how well he is flowing at the moment. Going out too early in an inning can set off a form of panic in the pitcher, anything you say early in a mound visit will prioritize your pitcher’s mind. During any mound visit a pitcher will wonder if someone is warming up and if their time in the game is coming to an end. This is an important thing to remember as a coach, it is a powerful tool to use and motivate if properly timed out. Going early is not recommended unless a pitcher cannot make an adjustment after 6 pitches. Send the catcher out after 6 misses, pitching coach goes out after 9/10 unanswered adjustments in competition.
The point of the game in which you go also affects who you go out there for. Some of your later game arms are firecracker type mentalities. They are at their best when their adrenaline is running smoothly with a quick tempo. Going out and taking a visit too early prior to 20 pitches will inhibit growth in these types of arms, their stuff will deteriorate after such visits. An early game ego and emotional control can be necessary to keep priorities in line. For younger arms that have a tendency to go off the rails after a missed call, error in the field or anything that generally doesn’t go their way, it is warranted to take a visit prior to this attitude escalating and festering. This will need to be addressed in daily catch play to fix in-game attitude, but behavior is a choice and it is a coaches job to make their players responsible for the choices they make. Constantly foster an environment or “So what? Next Pitch”.