Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

How to give a pitchout sign

May 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

In just about all levels of baseball, the catcher’s sign for the pitchout is the fist.  The catcher gets the sign from the coach, he puts the fist down, and the pitcher complies.  Pretty simple.

The fist is ok but it shouldn't be that simple

The fist is ok but it shouldn’t be that simple

When you get to the higher levels, however, this simplicity can make it easier for the other team (or base runners as you’ll see) to know what’s coming.

Below are two problems that can arise along with how to fix them:

Problem #1: Too quick of a sign.  Under normal conditions, a catcher puts down a sign and leaves his hand down there until the pitcher gives the ok on the pitch.  On a pitchout, one quick sign (the fist) is flashed and the hand is pulled out of the area.  That’s because the pitcher will not shake off a pitchout since it came from the coach.  Unfortunately, this quick sign can tip a sharp base runner at first base who is paying attention that a pitchout is coming.

Solution:  Give the pitchout sign at the end of a sequence so it looks authentic to anyone paying attention.

Problem #2:  A pitcher might frequently shake-off pitches but never shakes off the pitchout sign.  This can be another tip-off to a runner.

Solution:  Always have the pitcher shake off the pitchout sign.  This doesn’t change the pitch but it does hide it better from runners. Another option is to have the catcher move his hand back and forth to tell the pitcher to shake his head.  After a couple shakes, the pitchout sign can be given.

Tomorrow’s post: Throw from the stretch!

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