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Why successful pitchers keep the ball low

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 11:50 PM

A baseball and fastpitch softball pitcher that is able to consistently keep the ball down between a batters knees and thigh will be successful in baseball or fastpitch softball at any level.  The reason is most hitters hit the low pitch right into the ground because they are taught to swing down.  Studies show that 25% of grounders are hits.   In contrast 70% of line drives are hits.  A line drive has a success rate of almost threew times more than a grounder.  These studies show why pitchers want to keep the ball low to get hitters to hit a ground ball.

Another example of ground balls hurting a hitter is Derek Jeter.  When he went to the no stride swing in 2011, because the Yankee hitting coach wanted him to start using fast hands, it turned him into a ground ball hitter.  He used this new approach all spring and even into the start of the regular season.  After the first 16 games he led the Major leagues in ground balls at 72.9%.   That is why during this time his batting average was .219 with only one extra-base hit in 64 at bats according to NBC sports.  By far the most powerless time of his career.

Ninety-nine percent of hitting instruction makes a batter use mainly their arms when hitting a ball.  When the first thing going forward in your swing is the hands you will swing down through he ball.  This means if you are a good hitter and swing with your arms and hit the middle of the ball it will be a ground ball that hits 10 to 15 feet in front of you.  When a good pitcher throws the ball at the knees 99% of hitters that swing with their arms will hit a ground ball.   With 25% of ground balls on average being a hit a pitcher that keeps the ball down will give up one hit every four ground balls making him or her very successful.  I see this proven every day from Little League to The Major Leagues.

Almost every hitter that comes in for lessons has been taught to swing down through the ball.  Even to this day some of my best hitters are being told by their coaches, even on elite travel teams, that they need to swing faster down through the ball.  This is why pitchers that keep the ball low are very successful.  Lucky for my hitters they do the opposite of everyone else.  That is why my hitting students excel so much.  Every dad tells me "they use to swing down through the ball faster but that was the problem.  They are at least twice as good now since they stopped doing that and started doing Mike Sedberry's swing." 

Every pitcher is trying to keep the ball down hoping the batter will hit grounders.  Batters that swing down are what pitchers are hoping for. 

If pitchers would like to learn more about keeping the ball down and/or batters wanting to learn how to hit line drives with the the low pitch call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information.

Categories: Baseball pitching, fastpitch softball pitching

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