Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Importance of Pitching Inside

Pitching in a pattern and being predictable can be dangerous, especially when that pattern only involves the outside corner of the plate. Too often, at every level, I have witnessed pitchers who do not pitch consistently inside. There are different reasons why pitchers do not pitch inside. The biggest reason, in my opinion, deals with a lack of self confidence.

My cornerstone of pitching is to limit walks. Many who share that same philosophy also group hit by pitches into walks. Since a hit by pitch is a free base the batter did not earn, it must be a bad thing, right?

I disagree.

When you throw outside, occasionally you miss your location and the ball is either way outside or ends up on the other side of the plate. Why wouldn’t the same be true when throwing inside? If you are trying to throw a pitch on the inside corner, eventually you are going to miss and hit the batter.

So where does self confidence come into play?

I believe that many pitchers do not have the confidence to believe that if they hit a batter and give away a free base, they can recover without that runner scoring. They assume that if they hit a batter, he will eventually score, so they should always pitch away.

You need to pitch inside and understand that when you hit a batter, you have the ability to pitch through the rest of the inning without allowing him to score a run.

The other major reason why it is important to throw on the inside part of home plate is to stay away from becoming predictable. A hitter has to respect that you will throw on the inside part of the plate. If you constantly throw pitches on the outside corner to a team, their hitters will start to look outside. Because they do not anticipate you throwing an inside pitch, they are no longer concerned with looking for an inside pitch. The outside pitch becomes comparable to a pitch down the middle because they are expecting you to pitch on the outside portion of home plate.

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