Dennis Tiefenthaler, Co-Founder, Seam Readers
“Seams Never Lie.” Jared Tiefenthaler, Co-Founder, CEO Seamreaders
Ladies and gentleman, thank you for reading our second blog of all time. Last week, you were introduced to the art of seam reading,,, the ability to read a pitch thrown based on how it looks. You learned each pitch has a signature look and that “Seams Never Lie,” is something that can never be argued.
This week, we are going to answer the question of “What is pitch recognition?” Is it the same for everyone? Is there more than one definition? Is zone recognition the same thing? You have probably heard about this before, but aren’t quite sure of its meaning. As of this writing, June 2020, Webster’s Dictionary has no definition either.
Let us start by comparing pitch recognition and zone recognition. We believe that they are totally different. True pitch recognition is being able to read the faces of every pitch. What the seams on the ball are showing you as it is moving towards you. We have defined that as seam reading, as you learned last week. Zone recognition is being concerned with knowing whether or not the pitch is going to be a strike, or a ball. Whether it’s going to be high or low, or whether it’s going to be inside or outside.
Most youngsters who have never been taught how to seam read are taught to “see the ball, hit the ball,” and most often, at this level they are recognizing a “zone,” and something they can reach with their bat when they swing. What is the best “zone” to make contact? Depending on where you are standing in the batter’s box, the best pitch most always is a pitch over-the-middle, to inside-over-the-plate. As players get more experienced, and pitchers have more than just a fast-ball, it becomes a lot harder to just be looking for a “zone” to hit the ball in. A curve ball, slider, cutter, and split-finger fast-ball all might be in your “zone,” and just as quickly be gone. This is why, we at Seam Readers say “Rotation before Location,” meaning we want to know what the rotation of the pitch is, before we want to know the location, or “zone” of the pitch. Even though you need to know both for sure, and almost simultaneously. Those who are looking for “zone” want to know the location before the rotation of that pitch, again while those who are seam reading want to know the rotation before the location.
In conclusion, if we are evaluating which philosophy is better, we are going to choose “seam reading” over “zone recognition,” to be the better choice for your hitter to learn. Zone recognition and pitch recognition are totally different. Would you agree? Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what pitch-recognition is all about. Let us know what you think. Have a great week, and remember… “ROTATION BEFORE LOCATION.”
At home drill: Take a baseball or softball and practice flipping different pitches to your self. To start, flip 10 4-seam fastballs and 10 2-seam fastballs (see images).