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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pitchout tips for pitchers

One of the things that pitchers and catchers rarely practice is pitchouts.  Pitchouts can be very effective even if the runner does not steal.  Obviously, if the runner goes the catcher has a better chance of throwing the runner out.  Even if the runner doesn't go, it still puts the pitchout in the mind of runners and coaches in the future.  For some, it might make them a little more tentative on stealing in the future if they know the potential for a pitchout exists.
Like everything else, pitch-outs are things that have to be practiced if they are to be successful.  Mixing in a pitchout every five pitches or so when pitching and catching in the off-season is a great habit to get into.  Here are some tips for pitchers on how to do it correctly in games and/or in practice:
  1. Don't tip it off. Smart runners will not go if they think a pitchout is coming.  Your delivery needs to be the same as any other pitch.  Quickening up your delivery is ok to a certain degree.  Too much and you're letting the runner know something is up.
  2. Shake off a pitchout sign. Nobody shakes off a pitchout.  That's why you do it.  It's another way of convincing a runner and batter that a pitchout is not coming.  Obviously, the catcher needs to be in on the "fake shake-off."
  3. Give the runner every indication that
    the pitch won't be a pitchout.
  4. Give the runner some time.  Some pitchers are so anxious to get the ball to the catcher that they quick-pitch.  Smart runners won't go on a "quick-pitch."  You want the runner to steal on a pitchout so come set and wait a little before delivering so the runner has a chance to get his normal lead and be comfortable.
  5. Throw at "the batter's" chest.  This is the toughest part for pitchers.  They are so trained to throw low strikes that on a pitchout many throw it over the plate and/or too low.  Imagine there is a batter in the other batter's box and try to hit this "batter" right in the chest.  That helps the throw to be wide enough and high enough for the catcher to handle easily.

Tomorrow's post:  Pitchout tips for Catchers

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