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Hitting Off Speed Pitches
Hitting Off Speed Pitches
Putting solid contact on good off speed pitches is a hard thing to do. That's why pitchers are taught to throw change ups, curve ball, split fingers, etc, with the same arm speed as their fastball. This is what disrupts the batters timing.
As a batter, it is important to have a good load in your swing. This includes the stride and seperate part of the swing. If your stride is too early you may start lunging at off speed pitches. Then again, if your stride is too late, they can blow the fastball right by you. So how do you find a good load?
A good load, stride, and hand seperation is all a part of having good timing. You must be able to time a pitcher in his delivery. Consistency is the key here. If your timing varies pitch by pitch, then you are screwed. But if on every pitch you are looking for something specific that you can time, then you have a better chance of hitting off speed if it is thrown.
It is true that you must sit fastball and then adjust to off speed pitches. If it weren't then you would never be able to hit a fastball (and those are the best pitches to hit)! Sitting on the fastball is only one aspect of being a good hitter. Mastering the adjustment to off speed pitches is another.
Let's go through an at bat in our heads. Before we get up to the on deck circle we are thinking about the pitcher and how he has been pitching all game. We pick out a pitch that he's been throwing that we can handle. This means a pitch and location of the pitch. Let's say fastball away. So we get up to the plate and this guy has great arm speed on all his pitches (they all look like fastballs). We tell ourself to stay back and sit fastball and adjust to off speed. That means we are looking for our fastball away, if we load and stay back and he throws something that hangs and is in the spot we want we are set to crush it. This is how we take advantage of pitchers mistakes and hit off speed pitches really far.
Yes we were looking fastball but our load kept our weight back and we didn't let our hips leak so we were able to wait on a slower pitch when the pitcher did make a mistake a throw a hanger. The key to a good load again, is keeping the weight back, hips closed, and hands back. You can practice this by doing side toss and once in a while have your partner throw a ball higher than usual. Because it takes longer to get in the zone you will be forced to keep your weight, hips, and hands back. Once you leak any of these three things you are doomed to the off speed pitch and you can guarantee there are gonna be more where those came from.