Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pitching Low in the Strike Zone

No matter which pitch you throw, your chances of success are greater if you work low in the strike zone. Low in the zone is below the middle of the hitter’s thigh. Hitting a low pitch, especially with power, is harder for a hitter than hitting a pitch above the mid thigh.

A pitch low in the zone and on the outside corner is the hardest pitch for a hitter to hit because it is the farthest away from them. Even if the hitter can reach the bottom corner of the zone, he will not be able to hit the ball hard. You also have to be prepared for the possibility that the hitter will hit it off the end of the bat for a single, but if he swings at this pitch, he will get out more times than he will get on base.

You also have to get used to and comfortable with throwing pitches out of the strike zone, just below the hitter’s knee. There are certain counts that favor the pitcher – no balls and two strikes, one ball and two strikes - and a hitter is more likely to chase a pitch out of the strike zone in these situations.

Your off-speed pitches – curveballs and changeups especially – are typically a little harder to control. When you throw them, you have to attack the lower part of the strike zone. If you do this and miss your location, you will probably miss down and out of the strike zone low for a ball, which isn’t a bad option.

Pitching high in the strike zone increases the hitters’ chances of success. Hitters love pitches up, because they can hit them harder and farther. Your chances of success with off-speed pitches also decrease when you leave them up in the strike zone.

As you continue to progress to higher levels, it becomes much more important to pitch low in the zone. Your success will depend on it.

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