Pitching in fast pitch softball requires more than just arm strength and the ability to be accurate with the ball; there are a lot of moving parts that go into pitching. Here’s a quick look at how to recognize and repair 3 common mistakes from the mound.
Below the Belt
It’s easy to think about pitching and assume that it’s all about shoulder strength and the ability to throw straight, but any professional softball player will tell you that successful pitching starts below the belt. The effectiveness of a pitch generally comes from leg drive, not arm strength. It feels like second nature to pivot the lead foot to a 90 degree angle when pitching, but a pitcher loses both speed and accuracy when this happens. You can order a drag box or construct one yourself, but it’s definitely a tool to help build muscle memory that will lead to proper lower body mechanics when pitching.
It’s All in the Hands
Again, the motion needed to be an effective softball pitcher isn’t exactly natural. A pitcher will have to train her muscles to instinctively go against their nature. During the “windmill” portion of the pitching motion, it’s very easy to let the palm turn backwards at the top of the circle. Instead, it’s crucial for a pitcher to remain “palm up” all the way through the circle. If you, or the pitcher you are coaching has a tendency to let their palm go backwards, take the time to slow down the motion until the palm up position becomes routine. Before long, maintaining palm position will become second nature.
Proper Positioning Pays Off
With how fast paced the action on a softball field is, it’s easy to assume that a pitcher should assume a fielding position as soon as the ball leaves their hand. This causes the pitcher to forfeit a certain amount of effectiveness that can only be achieved by proper follow through. Proper reaction, while important generally comes whether or not the pitcher immediately drops to a fielding position. The extra millisecond gained by bailing out on the pitch before it’s over isn’t worth the ability to strike out the batter.
Pitching requires a certain amount of flexibility and shoulder strength, but there’s far more to it than a strong arm and a fast motion. It’s a head to toe position that can be trained and taught.