To make this easy we will layout the following reasons in point form…
- Strength – Most young players do not have the strength to drive the outside pitch to the gap or for a base hit.
- Plate awareness – Since the outside pitch is further away from your eyes it is much harder to judge whether it will be a on the corner of the plate of a few inches outside for a ball. This is something that comes with playing a lot of baseball and having good plate discipline when doing so. LEARN THE ZONE! .
- Failure – When practicing to hit the outside pitch a lot of players don’t have the mental toughness to practice the outside pitch, which leads to failure. Since it may be the hardest thing to do in the game most players will give up shortly and move onto something else instead of working through it. .
- Pull happy – Players are more comfortable to pull the ball because they have more confidence in themselves that they can do this and most have grown up as “pull hitters” and have never been taught how to hit the ball to the opposite field. .
- One thought on their mind – Most young hitters step into the box thinking just get a hit…which in some cases isn’t such a bad idea. But this can lead to players thinking about one pitch only and that is the pitch middle in where they can pull to the gap or try to hit a HR off. Instead of thinking, where are the defense playing, where is a hole in the field, what type of pitches have I been getting (inside, outside) etc. .
- PRACTICE – Simply put, if you don’t practice or focus on hitting the outside pitch then how are you supposed to get better at it? This goes for any skill in baseball…you need quality reps and practice to get better at it. 60% of pitches a hitter faces are on the outer third of the plate but do you spend 60% of your time hitting an outside pitch? .
- Trusting yourself – Of course if you don’t put the work in to get better at hitting an outside than you won’t trust yourself to swing at it and drive it hard to the opposite field. But if you have been practicing it then you have to trust yourself and your hands that you can hit this pitch just as well as a pitch on the inner third of the plate. .
- Fill the toolbox – This may not matter too much with younger players (8-13yrs) but when you get into an age group (14+) where pitchers are able to locate their pitches more frequently they will figure out a way to get you back on the bench. By learning to hit all pitches and developing as a “gap to gap” hitter you will find yourself more dangerous to the defense than ever before because they will not know where to play you defensively. .
Playing against a bunch of pull hitters is easy…you shift the defense to the hitters’ pull side and make the routine out.