Dale Dolejsi: Former A RHP Tigers



1. Could you tell us your story on dropping down?

 I didn’t start throwing from the side until my first year of college.   Although I am 6’8” I was never a hard thrower.   I had good success in high school but when I got to college I realized that everyone else on the team was just as talented.   I knew that I needed to be open to changing/adding some things.   I had an absolutely great pitching coach who saw the potential and was open minded enough to let me use different arm slots during a game.  Throughout my career in college and professional baseball I threw both sidearm and over the top in equal measure during each outing.

2. What are some of the advantages you had from your arm angle?

   When you are super tall I would imagine that coming from the side looks like the shortstop is throwing the ball.    Additionally, the ball had such great downward movement that it just made it extremely hard for batters to line the ball.   I was a ground ball machine.

3. If you didn't drop down, do you think you would have had the same success? Do you wish you would have earlier in career?

I think that I made this addition when it was necessary to do it.   I always believed that pitching should be kept pretty simple and then add complexity as you master the basics.   I am sure that I would not have played as long had I not thrown sidearm as well as over the top.   When you threw as soft as I did you need to throw a lot of different variables at the hitters.

4. What would you tell someone debating on changing their arm angle?

I coach high school ball and I selectively encourage pitchers to consider changing arm angles.  If I think an athlete has good body feel and “touch”/feel for location and the zone, then we try it out.   In the past years we have had all league pitchers throwing from the side.   These guys had previously thrown over the top with a straighter ball and had modest success.  Just from a logical standpoint, batters don’t practice hitting balls from the side and the pitches rarely end up flat.   In my opinion, if done right it is also a more natural throwing motion that results in less stress and injury.

5. Are there any mechanical tips that you'd give to someone throwing sidearm/submarine?

Throwing from the side should be the same as throwing from about 3/4, the tilt of the top half is the change.  Your lower half needs to be a solid and strong base to accommodate the top half.    I think plyometrics (explosive core movements) are great exercises to support the cause. 

 6. What pitches did you throw?

Again, I wasn’t going to blow anyone away.   (1) My overhand fastball was 83-86. (2) My overhand split finger was 72-75.   (3) My side arm fastball was 82-84.   (4) My side arm circle change was 74-77.       The main idea was that all of my pitches had a lot of downward movement.   Add to that good deception with hiding those pitches, good change of pace…….and then two very different release points.   It was hard to pick up and adjust to I think.  It also helped to be able to throw all four pitches for strikes in any count.  

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

Righties I would only show overhand fastballs if they allowed me to get strike one. After that it was nothing but sidearm fastballs, splits, and side circle changes.
Lefties I would throw overhand fastballs inside. Then throw sidearm fastballs off the outside corner and have them fish or beat the ball to the third baseman/shortstop.

For both sides the split and the side circle change was if I was trying to get a strikeout.     

8. Lastly what was your favorite part about pitching from down there?

It just made the game that much more fun.  I felt like I had a lot of ways to get a lot of different types of hitters out.