8 Tips For Pitching Inside To Hitters

  • Updated on Dec. 17, 2016

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ATTENTION PITCHERS: One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.

If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

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Chris Sale

Pitching in on hitters is one of the tougher skills a pitcher will learn.

Many pitchers are reluctant to pitch inside to a hitter because they're afraid they might hit them. But if a pitcher can pitch inside, he’ll be much more effective. 

Pitching inside is effective because it forces hitters to speed their barrel up to get to the inside pitch. 

Then once the hitter has sped his barrel up he opens himself up to not being able to stay back on off speed or even a fastball to the outside of the plate. 

However, saying that you need to pitch inside is one thing, but executing are two different things for pitchers, since they don't work enough on the arm side of the plate in their bullpens.

Also once young pitchers move to the big field they usually don't have enough velocity to be able to work inside safely. Add to this the fact is that you are going to get hurt less often if you are down and away in the zone. When you add metal bats, and college players leaning over the plate to get a HBP, it makes it even more difficult.

Perry Husband's research on effective velocity also indicates that pitching inside adds to the effective velocity of the pitch and he's found that low and away is easier to hit than up and inside.

Here are some tips for pitching inside that I found to be effective in my caareer:

  • Learn to concentrate on an inside target at the knee or hip area. There is a big open area at those spots. When a pitcher throws up and in, the pitcher sees elbows and arms, so there is a tendency to get the ball out over the plate too much.
  • A pitcher can not worry about hitting a batter. The batter has to watch out for himself. 
  • It is more effective for a hard thrower to pitch inside than a pitcher with an average fastball.

General rules for pitching inside

  1. Early in the count is a great time to pitch inside because it sets up breaking balls and the outside corner pitch.
  2. On an 0-1 count, many hitters are looking off-speed so you can often have success throwing an inside fastball.
  3. When ahead in the count pitch inside, since the batter is more protective and probably will wait longer with an inside-out swing. 
  4. When behind in the count, pitch on the outside 1/3. The hitter will usually try to muscle up and pull the ball more. 
  5. On an 0-2 or 1-2 count to a good hitter, pitch him on the low-outside corner.
  6. I like showing the inside fastball to every batter the first time through the batting order to help open up the plate for the rest of the game.
  7. If you don't throw hard, don’t try to live inside for strikes.
  8. If you're not confident or lack your best control on a particular day, it's better to keep the ball down and outside.

If there's just one takeaway for pitching inside it's this: the inside pitch is effective when the confidence is there and when ahead in the count.

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One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.

If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

What do you think?

Now it's time to hear from you:

How often do you pitch inside? Are there any additional tips for pitching inside that I missed?

Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this article even better.

Either way, leave a comment and let me know.




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