How to Hit an Outside Pitch in Softball
In softball, a pitch thrown over the black on the outside of the plate may look like a ball to batters who don’t take the right approach. For an outside pitch, you can’t just throw your hands out and hope to hit it. You’ve got to be aggressive and attack it. Keep reading for tips on how to dominate the outside pitch.
The first thing you need to know is where to hit the outside pitch. Obviously the ball will be thrown over the far side of the plate, but you have to let the ball get deep near your back hip if you want to have a solid hit. Allow the ball to approach the middle corner of the plate, nearing your back hip — that’s where you want to hit it.
How to Hit It
Now that you know where to hit the outside pitch (off your back hip), you need to have the right approach:
- Start turning your hips: To start your swing, start turning your hips toward the pitch.
- Throw your hands at the ball: Your hips start your swing. Once your hips start turning, start throwing your hands outward at the pitch. Keep your hands along an inside path to the ball (imagine throwing the knob of your bat at the ball). On contact, your arms should be extended outward with your hips squared to the ball and your head down.
- Follow through: Your follow-through should be high and behind your head, with your chest lifted upward. Your head should be down with your eyes focused on where you made contact.
Hot Tip: Do Not Cast!
It’s crucial that you do not throw your hands outward immediately from your starting position — this is called “casting.” You need to throw your hands at the pitch, always following an inside path to the ball. Casting will be detrimental to your swing for two reasons. First, it will put your hands outside of the ball, which will not result in solid contact. Secondly, it will not allow you to have full extension or a strong follow-through, which you need.
Tips for Hitting the Outside Pitch
Besides casting, there are a few other things that you don’t want to do when swinging at an outside pitch:
- Never cast: It was stated before, but it’s absolutely crucial to have a good hit.
- Don't pull your head off the ball: You can’t hit want you can’t see!
- Do not throw your hands at the pitcher: You would do this for a down-the-middle pitch, but if you do it for an outside pitch it will likely result in a weak hit off the end of your bat.
Take It to the Tee
If you can’t hit an outside pitch at practice, you’ll have a hard time hitting it hard in a game. The best way to prepare yourself is to practice! Using a tee will give you consistent strikes to work with. So if you have an open field, place the tee on the outside corner. Then move upward in the box (just slightly), so the tee is barely in front of your back hip. Then drive into it. All of your hits should go to right field (unless you are left-handed, then your hits will go to left field).
If you are limited for space and need to use a net, you can still use a tee to get a beneficial workout. Turn the tee to the left, then set up against it as if it were home plate (the net is not the pitcher). Your back hip should be facing the net. With each swing, you should be able to drive every ball into the net. With enough practice, you’ll be a force to reckon with and the right fielder won’t be one to scoot in on you.