Core Training

Pitching Pointer: Defending the Middle, and Yourself

Michael Kyllo-Kittleson

As a pitcher, being threatened or hit by a line drive or a hard ground ball is inevitable. Hitters in our game are getting scary good and the advancements in bat technology give fielders less reaction time. Most hitters are taught to hit the ball back up the middle at the pitcher. Pitchers are taught to hit their corners to avoid balls being hit back up the middle. Even if a pitcher executes a spot perfectly, the hitter may still find a way. Line drives and hard ground balls up the middle are going to happen, it’s part of the game and the pitcher needs to be ready.

In order to avoid taking a shot as a pitcher, there are a few ways coaches can prepare their pitchers for when they step in the circle against a batter. First, it’s important that pitchers are taught how to finish their pitch and have their glove ready to field the ball. Reaction time sometimes isn’t enough. As pitchers get older and they begin to learn movement pitches that require exaggerated finishes, they still need to have their glove ready. If a pitcher finishes with her glove down at her side, which is how most instructors teach, they still need to learn how to react and get their glove up after the ball leaves their hand.

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