You’ve heard this since you were a kid, right? Every time you followed the crowd and did something you knew better than. Every time you tried to dodge responsibility and blame someone else for the bad choice you made. You heard it so many times that it grew old and stopped making the impression that was intended.
Well, hitters, here you go:
Two Wrong’s Don’t Make a Right!
Wrong number one: The umpire makes a mistake and calls a very high pitch a strike. Everyone in the park realizes this pitch was too high, probably including the umpire at this point, but a strike it is. Period!
Now I understand your frustration. The umpire just took away one of your chances to make something happen. They called a pitch you can’t hit with a tennis racket a strike and now you are in the hole.
Wrong number two: What most hitters do, is swing at the next high pitch no matter how high it is! Our justification is simple, the umpire is just going to call it a strike anyway so I might as well swing at it even though it is way too high!
This story is as old as the game itself but it has been wrong just as long.
What should a hitter do when an umpire makes a bad call on a high pitch?
There are two choices:
1. Be a disciplined hitter who knows that pitch was too high and let the next one go too. In a lot of cases the umpire has already made the correction and will not call the same bad pitch a strike, as long as we give them a chance to correct it. If I swing at every high pitch I see from now on, just because of one bad call, I am making it worse, not better!
2. Swing at every high pitch with a sense of righteous indignation that I am out to show the umpire that I am going to swing, no matter what. I showed you!
Except all you really showed was your butt, to the whole world! Be a better hitter than that. Have confidence that you know your hitting zone and stay in it.
Moral to the story: By swinging at a pitch you can’t hit just because one was called a strike you have fallen into the oldest trap in the game. Give the umpire the opportunity to show you that the one really high pitch was a mistake that they are willing to correct and you have shown the world you are a great hitter.
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.