Pitching Velocity: Three kinds of velocity?

By Dan Gazaway

Did you know there are three types of pitching velocity? They are real, perceived and effective velocity. I am going to spend more time talking about perceived and effective pitching velocity more than I will real velocity because there is simply more to them. Real pitching velocity is what shows up on the radar gun; easy enough. That’s all there is to it.

Perceived pitching velocity is truly how the hitter sees the pitch. You see, as a pitcher, we really have an advantage over any hitter, regardless of who they are. Not only is hitting a baseball one of the hardest things to do in any sport; as a pitcher you have many ways to effect the hitters inability to hit the ball. Some of these are to ensure your stride is at least as long as you are tall; you have a great delayed shoulder rotation etc. Why would that help? The closer you are to home plate at release of the baseball the better. It has been said that every foot closer you are to home plate at release; the perceived pitching velocity is 3 miles an hour faster to the hitter. Perceived, meaning, the ball appears to be traveling faster to the batter because the ball is released closer to home plate; less reaction time for hitter to react to the pitch. Would you rather have Randy Johnson throw 50 feet away from you or 45?

Effective pitching velocity deals with what pitches you are going to throw, what location you will throw those pitches and in what sequence. It is very deceiving to a hitter’s eye when your arm speed and angle are the same whether you throw a fastball or a change-up. Many times hitters predict a certain pitch like a fastball and you throw a curve; or vice versa. Those scenarios explain what effective pitching velocity is.

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