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Coaching Youth Baseball - Setting Up Hitters

In the pitcher vs hitter scenario, the pitcher has the advantage. Hitters usually only get a hit every third or fourth time at bat. You want your pitchers to think that they have a competitive advantage over the hitters. At the same time they need to respect their opponents, and to have a specific plan on how to confront the hitters. Pitchers do not want hitters to get comfortable in the batter's box when they face them; they want to create doubt in the hitter's mind and keep them off-balance. Following are some methods to keep hitters off balance.

Change of speed
The most common pattern is to establish the fastball away to set-up the change-up away. By getting the hitter to look for a fastball, even an average change-up can fool the hitter. A variant of this would be to establish the change-up away to set-up the fastball away.

Change of locations
For pitchers who can throw hard, this can be a very effective sequence. The most common patterns are to establish fastballs inside to set-up the fastball away.

Change of planes
The most common pattern is to establish the fastball low to setup the fastball high. The opposite is equally effective.

Climb the ladder
This sequence works well against undisciplined hitters. A common pattern is to throw a fastball up for a strike. If the batter swings at it, throw the next one a little higher, if he chases that, throw the next one a little higher.

Change of speeds to the opposite location
The most common pattern is to throw a fastball on one side of the plate to set up the change-up on the opposite side of the plate.


 
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