How To Pitchout In Baseball Pitching
By Steven Ellis former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
How to practice, develop, and maintain proper throwing techniques for a pitchout
When you know a runner is going to steal on the next pitch, you might want to try a pitchout. Usually the coach will put the signal on to do this. And, of course, the catcher must be involved. Good communication with him is key.
In theory, the pitchout seems easy. But if you've used the defensive strategy, you know it's not as easy as it looks. That's because it requires a slightly different pitching motion from your regular delivery. And many kids want to let up or "baby" the pitch, which actually makes it more difficult to execute properly.
That's why it needs to be practiced, on the side, in practice, while you're throwing your bullpens. This way, you're prepared when a coach asks you to perform it in game situations.
For a pitchout to be successful, several factors are important: A pitcher must deliver the baseball with a fastball grip to the plate slightly faster then his normal pitches (aim for a delivery less than 1.3 seconds), and the pitch must be far enough outside the strike zone to prevent the hitter from making contact with the ball. It also must be high enough to enable the catcher to get into a good throwing position.
On a pitchout, you're delivery should not be dramatically different from your regular motion, but the delivery will have some subtle differences including:
1. Instead of separating the hands and bottoming them out, you may want to lift your throwing hand into position in a manner similar to an infielder, as it'll speed up the time it takes you to get into a throwing position.
2. Instead of a more pronounced lead leg lift, you may want to "lift and place" your foot more quickly that you would in your regular delivery.
In the Chicago Cubs organization, we threw two or three pitchouts during the end of every bullpen session. Mix fastball, pitchout, fastball, pitchout -- just as you might have to do in a game.
Work on it.
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