Predictable in pitching equals fail

Did a little catching up over the weekend with some of my high school-age students who have wrapped up their high school seasons. They were looking for a little tune-up before going into the summer travel ball season.

One theme that seemed fairly universal was that A) their high school coaches wanted to control pitch calling and they had no idea how to call pitches. A big frustration was the lack of change-ups being called. These girls have excellent change-ups, very effective, and throw hard enough to make a change-up worthwhile.

One in particular went even further. She told me her high school coach would only call pitches to one location — low and out. He was obsessed with throwing the ball there, and would yell at her if the ball rose above mid-thigh. And this for a pitcher who is naturally inclined to throw riseballs.

The frustrating part for her was that while low and out is a good location, eventually their opponents would figure it out and start pounding the ball. Then she’d get yelled at for letting them hit the ball.

The key to effective pitching is keeping hitters off-balance. That means avoiding falling into patterns or being predictable. Throwing the same pitch to the same location is being very predictable.

Pitch calling isn’t rocket science. Mix it up — speeds, location and movement. Keep the hitters guessing and you’ll be far more successful.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on June 6, 2011, in Pitching. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I am dealing with this issue currently. The “coach” calling the pitches has been calling fastball down the middle on every pitch then at some point switches to fastball inside. No change ups..just fastball. I told my daughter to never throw down the middle and if questioned she must be “missing her spot”. She has called this way on several of our pitchers and the same result happens…they get hit and hit hard. They lost 5 of 6 this weekend…I wonder why?

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