One of the responsibilities a pitcher has is to make sure no runners try to leadoff or make an attempt to steal. In baseball you see a base runner trying to steal the next base or leading off during a pitch, the pitcher then throws the ball to a fielder to tag the runner out. This is called a pick-off move. The pitcher uses this move to make runners aware that he is closely monitoring them and to prevent runners from making an attempt during a pitch. Some pitchers are more skillful than others with this move or just more confident they can strike out a hitter and won't need to do a pick-off move. To teach the pick-off may be difficult if the student cannot perform the moves properly. There are considerations for left and right handed pitchers, and both may have its limitations. Teaching pick-off moves to pitchers early in their careers is essential.
1. Make sure the pitcher knows which actions are balkable.
While teaching pick off moves you have to make sure to also teach what moves or actions are illegal. When a pitcher makes an action that is in violation of the rules, a balk is called. These are often characterized by motions that the pitcher makes that are misleading or incomplete. There are a number of balkable actions to keep in mind so the earlier a pitcher understands and is familiar with all of them; the less prone the pitcher is to commit mistakes in the future.
2. Practice pick-off moves to different bases.
A pitcher may be left handed or right handed so you will need to teach pick-off moves that would be adequate for each type of pitcher. There would be limitations to each type of pitcher so getting an effective movement must be identified and practiced. Be cautious as some motions may lead the pitcher to commit a balk. You have to consider which bases are clearly seen by a left or right handed pitcher. A left handed pitcher for example will have a better view of the first base because of the position his body is in for throwing, which makes it easier for him to throw to first base.
3. Teach players to use the compact arm on pick-off throws.
When you have runners stealing or leading off you only have seconds to throw the ball to the baseman. Using the compact arm allows you to catch and throw quickly. Catching and throwing must be done in a fluid manner by catching the ball and moving your catching arm towards your throwing side and connecting with your throwing hand, getting it in position, and throwing the ball to the proper baseman in one quick motion.
Pick-off drills will help teach pitchers and the rest of the team movements that are fast and effective. Practicing pick-off moves will allow the whole team to be in proper form during a game to avoid bad pick-off attempts.