When pitching there are two main things that you need to achieve to pitch perfect, solid contact and good distance control.
Now the interesting thing is that if you get one you will probably get the other but conversely if you struggle with one then the other will often struggle and then you will invariably play a poor shot.
One of the biggest failings we see as coaches is that people treat a pitch shot too much like a full shot in that they will do their full power back swing which is all about creating power and torque and then they will find they have too much power in their down swings. This will often lead to the player having to decelerate in their down swing which will compromise the ability to control distance and inevitably the contact will suffer.
Always remember in pitching we are looking to control distance, not create it. The best way to do this is too have the thought of everything moving together. So instead of the lower body and the upper body separating and creating torque in the back swing work on everything working together, so imagine that if your shoulders have turned 50 degrees then your hips turn 50 degrees, this won’t exactly happen but if you can have this feeling in your back swing it will help you limit the torque and resistance in your back swing and this will make it a lot easier to create distance.
A drill we use to help this feeling of everything working together is “Rock the Baby” Simply push your elbows in to your body with a 90 degree bend in your arms feeling that they are locked into your body almost like you are in a full body cast! Then from their make some back and through swings with the hips controlling the movement and rotation. This will get everything moving together and this will help you limit the power in your mini swings which will then allow you to commit to your pitch shots and allow you to swing without fear of over hitting.
Even the best players in the world prefer to hit approach shots hard into greens, in general if you give them the choice of a 40 yard shot or a 90 yard shot they’ll take the 90 yard because they can hit that relatively hard with a full swing.
So next time your on the range try “Rock the Baby” and then hit some shots. We are sure this will help you control power, which will then give you solid contact and good distance control.