Let’s get a couple things squared away. We need to agree on some fundamentals of the art of pitching.
In my opinion:
An inside fastball and an outside fastball are not two different pitches! And neither are any of the other pitches thrown to either side of the plate. A pitch is one pitch, no matter whether we throw it inside, outside, high or low!
The laws of physics can not be suspended, no matter who tries to tell you they can. A pitch can not drop and then rise! A pitch can not curve and then screw! And a pitch that rises and then drops is only doing so because it is thrown so slowly that gravity takes over.
Too many pitchers and their parents are looking to learn movement pitches way too early in their development! More on why this happens later in this series…
Many pitchers end up sacrificing much greater velocity because they start to work on spinning pitches way too early! Until a pitcher can hit her spots with her fastball at a very high percentage (90%ish) they should not even think about other pitches. And then first pitch they should learn is always the change up, ALWAYS!!
Too many pitchers, parents and pitching coaches are caught up in the “arms race” (pun intended) of throwing as many pitches as possible. To the point that they sacrifice velocity to be able to say they throw more pitches.
The arms race leads to a very large problem in the development of our pitchers. We sacrifice good mechanics and velocity to be able to say that we throw X number of pitches.
The bottom line: All pitchers need to focus more on mechanics and velocity, especially at a younger age, than pitches. They call the game FASTpitch for a reason. We need to focus on good mechanics and speed first. Much more on mechanics and velocity later…
How should we evaluate a pitcher? I’m much more interested in the quality of their pitches rather than the quantity. Quality leads to wins, quantity (without quality) leads to losses and frustration.
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.