Softball Pitch Selection and Placement What Pitch to Throw…and Where to Place It
by Gerald Warner, Softball Pitching Instructor
Knowing which pitch to throw and at what location…then being able to do it… is an important element of every pitcher’s effectiveness. However, there are nearly as many ideas and answers regarding pitch selection as there are pitchers, catchers, and coaches. Everybody has their own idea on what pitch to throw in what kind of situation, and where the pitch should be placed. And THAT is the key…pitch selection and pitch placement should be situational…NOT a flat rule for every batter.
We need to know:
(1) our pitcher’s capabilities with pitch type and placement
(2) the batter’s history…what did she do in her previous at-bats
(3) what we might expect her to do in this situation
(4) whether or not there are runners on base
(5) what her coach might want her to do
(6) how many outs there are and what the current count is
(7) what WE want the batter to do this time
PITCH PLACEMENT – As mentioned previously, the selection of the pitch and the intended placement should be based on the situation and what you would like to have as the outcome. However, there are some recommendations based on the conventional wisdom of experienced pitchers and coaches…what usually works in typical circumstances:
BUNTING situation – likely runners are on base. You want her to pop it up and perhaps even get the runner doubled-off. Keep it high in the zone, on the batter’s hands.
HITTING AWAY with runners in scoring position – Go for the ground ball. Throw a good drop ball or off-speed up and in.
LEFT SIDE SLAPPER – Up and in again. She’s trying to put it on the ground or through a hole left or right of the pitcher. Be care to not let it go over the middle or outside corner chest high…that’s the easiest place for her to hit it. Optional pitch – If the batter is standing far back from the plate, or is has the habit of starting down the line early, throw a curve away from her (screw ball from a right handed pitcher) that stays low and just outside the zone…a “chase” pitch
ANXIOUS / JITTERY BATTER – Throw her an occasional off-speed pitch
DEEP IN THE BOX – Up and inside, or an off-speed low and away
CROWDING THE PLATE – Screw ball up and in on her hands
WIDE STANCE (a “no-stride” batter) – Off-speed or drop ball placed low Again, this is a topic where everyone is the expert. These guidelines are based on our experiences, and those of veteran coaches, pitchers, and hitters.
If you have questions or need more information, see all pitching information at www.pitchsoftball.com
E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call Pitching Instructor Gerald Warner in Denver at (720) 200-4575