Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Using the Four Edges of Home Plate

When we look at home plate, we see two corners – one toward the right handed batter’s box and one toward the left. To be a successful pitcher, you must also recognize the additional two corners of the plate – the upper and lower limits of the strike zone. Collectively, these corners make up the four pitching edges.

Pitchers that mix up their locations are successful because they become less predictable.  If you can get in the habit of throwing your pitches to all four edges, you will increase your chances of success. Hitters do better against pitchers that do the same things often – pitchers that follow patterns. Good hitters will pay attention to their teammates’ at bats in an attempt to recognize a pattern to the pitches that the pitcher is choosing to throw.

You can increase the amount of pitches you throw by simply throwing them to different parts of the plate. To a hitter, a fastball in and a fastball away are two different pitches, as are a fastball at the knees and a fastball at the waist. For a hitter to make good contact on each pitch, their mechanics and timing are consistently changing.

If you then throw your other pitches in the same way, a hitter will have to think about all the different pitches you throw in every different location. This is the pitching definition of unpredictable, and this is where you should strive to achieve.

An unpredictable pitcher is a successful pitcher. Use the edges of the strike zone to your advantage and hitters will struggle to make solid contact against you.

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