Pitchers and batters will constantly try to outsmart each other. A good pitcher will mix up their pitches with different types of spin to confuse the batter. A good batter will wait for a pitch in the strike zone instead of chasing after bad pitches. By picking up on the type of spin a pitch uses, a batter will be boost up the chances of a hit. Still, there is next to no time to think when a 90 mph fastball is headed a batter’s way, so learning to be reactive takes practice. Follow these hitting tips below to be prepared next time the pitcher hits the mound.
Hitting the Fastball
The two major kinds of fastball pitches are the two seamer and the four seamer. The two seam pitch causes the ball to sink. The four seamer pitch is a straight shot and will not sink -- look out to see all four seams spinning. The fastball doesn’t allow for much time to think at all, so the batter must have quick reflexes to be able to just get a taste of the ball.
Hitting the Curveball
Some hitting coaches in youth baseball or high school baseball will instruct a batter to look for a red dot caused by the spinning seams when hitting a curveball, but if a pitcher is throwing it correctly, there won’t be a red dot visible. Unlike a fastball, a pitcher’s wrist will snap on a curveball, so that’s the first thing you will notice. You should also be looking for where the pitcher’s fingers are on the ball. The fingers will be to the side on a curveball, but a good pitcher will hide their fingers before throwing out a pitch. Practice makes perfect, so try using a pitching machine that pitches curve balls or ask your baseball coach to pitch them to you so you can learn to pick up the spin easily.
Hitting the Changeup
The arm motion a pitcher makes when throwing a changeup is the same made when throwing a fastball, which makes it deceptive. Look for the pitcher’s fingers; if they are in front of the ball when the pitch is made, it’s a changeup, but if they are behind the ball it’s a fastball.
The most focused batters can pick up the spin of the pitch right out of the pitcher’s hand. Keep your eyes on the ball and look for the pitch indicators like finger placement, seam spin and wrist motions.
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