Originally used in baseball, the term “effective velocity” has recently made its way into softball. It measures how fast a pitch looks to a hitter, despite the ball’s actual speed. Imagine a fastball coming into the center zone at 70 mph. If it moves up and in, it will feel like 75 mph to the hitter. Conversely, if it’s low and out, it will feel like 65 mph. To accommodate these perceived differences, the hitter will need to adjust her timing.
So how can this knowledge improve your pitch calling? You can use it to ensure there’s enough of a speed difference between pitches. As an example, let’s say your pitcher throws a change-up low and outside at 45 mph. Her next pitch is a curve ball to the same spot at 55 mph. In this case, the 10 mph difference between pitches doesn’t provide enough variation to force the hitter to adjust her reaction time. This can result in her getting a solid contact on the ball.
When you consider effective velocity in your pitch calling, you’ll be able to help your pitcher throw more effectively with greater speed variation between pitches.
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