Great pitchers are not afraid to throw strikes. They spend most of their time ahead in the count. This is due to their ability to control their pitches and the amount of movement they have.
Control is a huge part of success. Yes, I have heard of pitchers being “effectively wild” but I bet if you look back at all great pitchers, you’ll find that they are effectively wild — in the strike zone! This means they let the ball move, through the zone. This leads to the hitter missing or miss-hitting.
I often hear coaches make a big deal out of first-pitch strikes. First-pitch strikes are important, but so is unpredictability. A better statistic to track would be how many times a pitcher has 1-2 count after three pitches? Most great pitchers are ahead in the count when they get to the third pitch.
Pitching ahead helps allows expansion of the zone which challenges hitters to protect. Challenge the strike zone!
About the Author: Cat Fritts (Hosfield) was four-year standout at the University of Tennessee, She went 49-22 with a 2.91 ERA in her career for the Vols, earning Southeastern Conference (SEC) Freshman Player of the Week honors in 2009, while also earning SEC Honor Roll accolades following the ’10, ’11 and ’12 seasons at UT. She was named the 2008 National High School Player of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) while at Murfreesboro High School. Book her here.
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