Tip to help with throwing the outside pitch

A couple of weeks ago I was working with a new student named Jasmine. She is a high school pitcher who had received some good training previously, but still needs some refinement in a few areas. Pitching outside

One thing we were working on was throwing to locations – inside and outside. She was doing fine with inside – I find most pitchers have a side that comes easily and a side they struggle with, and for most the easy side is inside – but having trouble with the outside pitch.

Each time she tried the ball either went down the middle or off to the right. She just couldn’t quite seem to hone in on the mechanics to go left.

The cage we were working in had a protective screen for pitchers (or coaches) to duck behind when throwing batting practice. And that’s when the idea hit me. I dragged the screen about 15-20 feet in front of her and basically cut off everything from the center to the right.

Jasmine gave me a nervous smile at first but gamely decided to give it a try. With the right half cut off she was able to focus on the left and get the feel of throwing properly outside. After a few successful pitches with the screen in place we removed the visual aid. Lo and behold, she started popping the glove right on the spot.

If you have a pitcher who is struggling with hitting a spot, give this a try. Just be sure to set the screen up far enough away that if the pitcher does hit it the ball doesn’t bounce back into her. (Don’t be fooled by the photo – objects in picture are farther away than they appear.)

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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 January 27, 2016, in Pitching and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. This works for outside, but it also works for movement pitches. I pitch at University of Pikeville in Kentucky. I used to pitch at LIncoln Land Community College and my coach over there used this idea all of the time but with a green screen that had a cut out. He would move it according to the pitches we were throwing to try and get the maximum movement. He would also use a rope and use that for drop balls and rise balls. Either start the pitch under the rope and move it above it before the plate or start it over the rope and push it below the rope. This was extremely beneficial for us pitchers and movement. I wish I would have known this drill as a high school pitchers.

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  2. That’s another great use of the screen. Was the hold set up so the ball had to move to go through it, or was it so it would be so you’re throwing through it to one location and then it moves to another? Both seem like they would be valid approaches. How far was the screen from the catcher?

    I did something similar the other day with another pitcher. She was throwing her curve ball too much on the inside corner, so when it broke it was still on the plate. I set up the screen to cover the inside corner, about 25 feet in front of her, and had her throw the curve. In a few pitches she was able to start the ball on the plate and then have it break off, which is what we were going for. So that’s another way to use a screen.

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  3. Do you know any way to work on ball control and consistency?

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  4. That’s kind of a big question. There are lots of little things you can do depending on what the issue is. Generally, though, consistency comes with good mechanics. If you are using your body properly, and getting to the key positions at the right times, you will be accurate. I will always say that accuracy is a result, not a goal.

    What would be most helpful is if you could send a video with a side view and a back view so I could look at the mechanics. Short of that, let’s start with this: is she always missing in the same area (such as always throwing low and into the dirt on her pitching hand side) or is she all over the place? If it’s in one place I might be able to suggest some tweaks even without a video. If it’s all over that suggests a need to re-work her mechanics.

    Ken

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