Understanding the value of outs
I’ve talked before about the value of outs in fastpitch softball. It’s a concept that’s really laid out well in the book and movie Moneyball.
Yet it still can be a bit difficult to grasp in practical terms, especially for players. So I thought of a more concrete way to explain how precious outs are, and why you want to conserve them carefully.
Think about it this way. You want to buy a new iPod. You’ve been working hard to earn the money, doing chores and such, knowing exactly how much you need to make your purchase (including tax).
Finally the big day arrives. You head to the mall to make your purchase, but before you get to the electronics store you stop in to a shoe store and buy a pair of shoes first. Of course when you get to the electronics store you no longer have enough money for the iPod. You lose.
It’s the same with outs on offense. If you waste them on bad strategies or stupid decisions, you may not have enough at the end of the game to go for the win.
Outs are precious. In a seven-inning game, each team only gets a maximum of 21. (In a time limit game, it may only be 18, or even 15). As a player, wasting them by getting doubled off a base on a line drive or pop-up, trying to stretch a single into a double when the ball is clearly going to beat you there, leaving a base without tagging up on a fly ball, popping up a bunt attempt, swinging at strike three that is over your head or in the dirt, etc. can really come back to haunt you.
As a coach, wasting them by automatically sacrifice bunting when you get a runner on first, attempting steals against a catcher with a gun for an arm and a quick release, attempting a steal in the last inning of a tight game with the top of your order coming up, sending a runner for an extra base against a team with a strong defense, etc. can do the same.
Make sure you use yours wisely.