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Staying Back on Off-Speed Pitches

by Kyle (14 Years Old)
(California, USA)

Dave's Top 3 Professional Hitting Tips

Dave's Top 3 Professional Hitting Tips

How to Stay Back on Off-Speed Pitches

Kyle (14 years old) says I am having trouble staying back on off speed pitches. When I try to stay back on off-speed pitches they blow the fastball right by me. Help!

Hey Kyle,

First we have to get your mindset changed to a professional baseball hitting approach. If we can get you to approach hitting like the pros then I know you will have a lot more success.

Unfortunately, most youth baseball coaches will not tell you how professional hitters approach hitting. So, you have come to the right place.

Look for the Fastball First

To get you to think like the professional baseball hitters we have to get you to look for the fastball first. Always look for the pitchers fastest pitch.

If you look for the off-speed pitch it is virtually impossible to react soon enough and get the bat around on time against a real good fastball pitcher.

Even the best of the best hitters cannot think off-speed pitch and get around on the fastball.

So, number one—look for the fastball first. You really have no chance to be an effective hitter unless you look for the fastball first. You will have tremendous frustration and disappointment if you look for the off speed pitches before the fastball.

Top Baseball Hitting Tips

Now, to stay back on off speed pitches there are a few baseball hitting tips we can talk about. Once you prove to the pitcher and catcher that you can get around on their fastball they are then going to have to mix up their pitches to get you off the timing of their fastball.

The pitchers are then going to try to deceive you with change ups, curveballs, sliders and other off speed pitches that they possess.

Some pitchers can throw these pitches so well that their pitching motions look exactly the same as the fastball pitching motion. It can be really hard to lay off these pitches at times.

So, knowing that here is what we want to try to do:

1. Lay off the tough off-speed pitch with less than two strikes. What I mean is if the off speed pitch is down low or outside try to take it.

Chances are very low that you will be able to do much with the pitch anyway. If the pitch gets the corner then you tip your hat to the pitcher and say, ‘Nice Pitch.’ I will have to give you credit if you put the pitch in a tough corner location.

2. Hit the Hangers. The second hitting tip we get from professional baseball hitters is that we look for hangers. Hitters make a living hitting mistakes from pitchers.

Even pitches that may not be called strikes are very good pitches to hit sometimes. Especially be ready to swing if the pitch is a little above the belt and a little inside. If the off-speed pitch is up in the strike zone then we take our best hack.

3. Finesse Pitchers:
Now some pitchers do not have real good fastballs. They might rely on their off speed pitches the majority of the time.

When you come up against these type pitchers then you should think more like an ‘up the middle’ batting approach then trying to pull the ball too much. Much like you would think with two strikes on you.

This would still allow a hitter to get around on the fastball but wait back enough to hit many of the hangers, too.

Two Really Big Hitting Tips
So, to recap our hitting game plan we look at two really big rules.

First: Look for the fastball first.

Second: After looking for the fastball be aware of off speed pitches that are hangers or mistakes. Tip your hat to the pitcher on the corner pitches low and away.

Bonus Big League Hitting Secret

Want to know one more major league hitting secret? Top baseball hitters go up to the batters box with an approach that they are swinging at every pitch.

Yes, they make up their minds to swing before the each pitch. That does not mean they will swing at every pitch but they are ready to swing at every pitch.

The top hitters are thinking YES, YES and then at the last instance they can say NO not that one. They stop the swing because the pitch was in a spot that makes it hard to be successful.

If you go up to the plate thinking, ‘If it is a strike then I will swing at it’ it will be to late. No way you can get around on a good fastball if you are thinking ‘well, Let me see where the pitch is and then I will decide if the pitch is a good one to swing at.’

This is a really bad hitting approach and unfortunately again this is the approach that almost all youth baseball and many high school baseball coaches will teach.

Professional Hitting Approach

Look to hit the Fastball

Hit the Hangers, too

Think YES, YES; I am swinging at every pitch.

Try these hitting tips and I think you will have some good at-bats.

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