Core Training

The Importance of Practicing Pitch-Outs in Softball

Photo courtesy of Duke Athletics

Pitch-outs aren’t as easy to complete as everyone thinks they are. Softball pitchers are taught how to throw pitches in the strike zone by utilizing correct pitching mechanics. Pitchers also deliver 99.9% of their pitches in a game, with the catcher in a squat position behind the plate. During a pitch-out, the catcher will stand with their throwing arm extended out to their side to indicate where the pitch should be placed. Once the pitcher releases the ball, the standing catcher will shift over to center her body and receive the pitch. An executed pitch out should be pitched high and outside enough where the hitter cannot make contact with it, and accurate enough so that the catcher can catch it.

Practicing pitch-outs is often unheard of in softball, and this is not uncommon. They are the most overlooked piece of the pitching game puzzle. It is also not unusual that a pitcher must execute a pitch out in a high-pressure situation. This could be with a winning run on third base with first base open and the best hitter in the box. This creates pressure in the pitcher’s mind while delivering the pitch-out, because if she misses one of two things can happen. First, the ball could sail over the catcher or be underthrown, and the runner at third could score. Second, the pitch could be too close to the zone, and the hitter could make contact.

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