Here are some points to know that describe the importance of working on the outside pitch.

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  • Remember the sign of the wrong fundamentals, whether on the tee, flipped, batting practice, or games, is ground balls to the pull side of the field.
  • One of my most used statements, “It takes perfect fundamentals to drive the outside pitch to the opposite field. And, once perfect, that’s pretty good.” Think about it – to drive the ball the batter must take a good body swing and not just slap the ball the opposite way. And, to hit it to the opposite field the batter cannot cast the bat and not roll over, which are two keys to good fundamentals.
  • A follow up to the above, “You cannot work on the outside pitch enough.”
  • Once you can handle middle away, learning to pull the ball will come easier.
  • I always found that it was easier to teach a hitter to pull the ball than to hit the ball to the opposite field.
  • Pitchers at the youth level are afraid of hitting batters, so they will throw many more pitches out over the plate than inside ones. And, not just at the youth level, many pitchers are afraid to pitch inside at any level.
  • This is a humorous one. There is something called the freshman strike, which means umpires will call pitches a few inches off the outside corner to help move the game along. Not fair to the batter, but they must at least be prepared to handle that outer half.
  • The great Atlanta Braves first baseman, Freddie Freeman, never works on pulling the ball on the tee or in batting practice and just trusts he will be able to in the game.
  • To develop a solid swing on the outer half, I begin with the inside tee work to make sure batters can stay inside the ball. Once they can keep inside the ball, then move to the outer half pitches. I do it this way because the biggest issue with not having the right approach on the outside pitch is casting the bat barrel out and then rolling over on the pitch.
  • With that in mind, I tell hitters and I believe it, “A foul ball on a tough outside pitch is better than putting the ball weakly in play.” Foul balls straight back and even swings and misses can be better than weak outs, except the swing and miss with two strikes, of course.

OK, having said the above, here is where it gets a little tricky.