Growing up and moving through the ranks, I’ve always had coaches say to me, “Hit’em in the chest,” or I’d hear for relay throws, “Hit’em in the head,” or “Throw it through the cut-off man’s head”
I hear the same thing when I’m watching practices or umpiring games.
I understand why, ideally, you want a relay to come in at shoulder height and I understand why hitting someone in the chest is considered a perfect throw.
I have a slightly different take on it, and I want to throw it out there–so to speak.
What is the worst place for a throw to a first baseman? Over his head and out of reach, right?
If we moved point of aim to the belt line, wouldn’t that create a greater margin for error on the throw? In fact, isn’t the shortest throw to the first basemen, where he catches the ball at maximum stretch, digging it out of the dirt? Of course, I’m not advocating that as ideal, but I think you get the point. If you throw it over his head, there is zero chance for the out to be recorded. There is additionally the greater chance of a ball getting by or even going out of play when a ball sails high. Runners in scoring position are generally to be avoided, yeah?
I’d rather have someone miss low than high on almost any throw one can think of.
I’d rather have a slightly low relay throw, or even one off the ground than one that the infielder can’t elevate to make the catch. Also, even when the infielder is able to make the astounding play on a high relay, he’s not in any position to execute the relay. When players dig relays off the turf, they are usually able to make an easy transition into a throw.
Maybe, the next time you are about to tell a player to “Hit’em in the chest” perhaps we change our way of thinking. Thoughts?