Phase Two: Doing (Associative Stage)
In Phase Two, the pitcher is linking movements together and his motion is starting to become more fluid and smooth. He's still feeling his way through his delivery with trial and error, but no longer requires as much conscious thought before each rep or pitch. Most youth and amateur pitchers are operating in this phase...
Phase TWO – Doing: Most young pitchers are already operating in this phase unless they are completely new to pitching or have been pitching so long that they have already moved on to Phase THREE. The DOING phase is where a pitcher is now performing his delivery as one fluid movement and it requires far less conscious thought than during early Phase ONE practice.
That said, don’t just skip the videos in Phase ONE, as they will help to develop a better understanding of the pitching delivery and where he can maximize power and efficiency in his own motion.
The practice in this phase should still include dry work and mirror work, though the movements can begin to become smoother and quicker. In addition, the pitcher can benefit from using dynamic throwing drills to develop and reinforce powerful movements in is delivery.
As I’ve mentioned, a pitcher in Phase TWO requires less conscious thought and attention to his movements. However, while things are starting to get smoother and more fluid, this phase is also characterized by a lot of trial and error.
At this point, he can begin focusing more on hitting his target. Meanwhile, he is still learning to connect what he sees with that feels… and connecting all of that with an end result. Learning what it feels like when he throws harder, misses wide or hits his spot.
Emphasis should be placed on having a clear goal (e.g., moving powerfully while hitting a location) and paying attention to what it feels like when he succeeds or falls short… making adjustments along the way.
Just like a heat-seeking missile that hits its target by constantly getting off-track and self-correcting, the pitcher needs to learn to feel his way through this process.
How to Use Video in Phase TWO:
Video review can be very helpful in this stage for visual feedback and tracking progress. The trained eye of a coach can help, but for maximum benefit, the pitcher should begin to be able to look at his own video and recognize what he is doing well and what he could do better - this is where those Phase ONE instructional videos are especially valuable.
As we’ll go over in the Motion Analysis HOW-TO section, the pitcher does not need to review every throw, every pitch… Once a week (or every other week) for a few throws/reps is an area I usually find to be a good, comfortable balance between getting good, useful feedback without being too overwhelming or causing the pitcher to become tight or anxious.
On that note, the following is very important to keep in mind: to perform well (and make progress), you need to be free of tension. Practice in this phase should be challenging but enjoyable. Avoid overanalyzing, and just review video periodically to track progress and make adjustments as needed.
Usually, video is most helpful at the beginning, to help the pitcher recognize what he is doing (and how he can improve), and then to provide feedback and positively reinforce adjustments as he begins to see improvement. Over time, video can be used less and less, and the pitcher should be allowed to trust his own movements and what he feels.
Download The Phase TWO Introduction (PDF)
Introduction To Phase TWO
Deliberate Practice Tips for Phase TWO
Using Video In Phase TWO
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Send me an email directly at Phil@BetterPitching.com with any issues or questions.