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Softball Pitching Drills

FOR CONTROL

All of these softball pitching drills improve speed and control/direction.

1. Stand facing toward the wall in your stride position (standing sideways). Take a softball and flick your ball straight to the wall and it should come right back to you. Only use you wrist no windmill. This drill can be done indoors with a rubber or incrediball, or outside with a regular ball against a pitchback.

2. This drill is also to be done in or outdoors. Stand 8ft. Away from the wall in your stride position, do your windmill and close your hips and the ball should come right back to you

3. This one is also to be done in or outdoors. Stand 6ft away from a wall in your stride position and just do your windmill do not close your hips, the ball should come right back to you, time yourself for 15 seconds and see how many you can do. Every time you do it see if you can get more than the time before.

4. The last drill should be done outside with a catcher. Get a weight ball and kneel down on one knee with your other knee facing the catcher. And only using your wrist snap flick the ball to your target or catcher. As you do 15 move back a couple of feet. When you’re about 10ft from the plate use a regular ball. Then when you’re about 20ft away from the plate do the windmill, until you can do this all the way from the rubber. Submitted by: Coach Mike

TEMPO

I like to start each pitching practice with the players playing the 3-ball game. I got this game from ASU Head Softball Coach Linda Wells. One player has one ball, the other player has 2 balls. The one with two balls throws a pitch to the other, the receiving player must throw a pitch to the first. These “pitches” are not thrown from the pitching stance. They are “walk-ins”, meaning that they are thrown while walking into the pitch. When done correctly, each pitcher can throw 50 pitches in a very short time. The reason for this is that the pitcher is not waiting for a ball to be thrown to her. She always has one in her hand. After warming up with 3 ball we go directly to the tempo drills.

First we throw 8 balls into a net concentrating on wrist snap. During this drill, the player snaps her wrist as quickly and violently as possible.

Next we throw 8 balls concentrating on arm speed.

Next is stride. I like for the players to make a mark in the dirt for her stride on the first pitch and then try to beat her mark.

After that, we do one I call “Reach For The Sky”. It is done with both feet together. The pitcher throws 8 pitches concentrating on reaching for the sky at the very top of the windmill. This emphasises the full arm extension.

Finally we put the whole thing together and throw 8 balls incorporating all the drills above.

In between each of these drills, I have the pitchers do weights with a 9 pound dumbbell. First arm curls. Next are butterflies, then wrist curls isolating just the wrist. Submitted by: Linda Wells

MOVEMENT

To work on movement pitches, I have my pitchers stand in a line a short distance from me in a power position (stride taken) and softly toss the ball using the proper rotation for peel drop, roll drop, and rise ball. While doing this, emphasize the proper weight distribution. This is the most important aspect of throwing a breaking pitch. For drop balls, the weight must be on the front foot at release. For rise balls, the weight must be on the trail foot and release must be against a firm and resistant front foot.

After 10 to 15 pitches from this distance, we move back to about 25 feet
and throw at about 50% speed. We throw 10 to 15 pitches at this distance.

Finally we move to the regulation distance and throw 10 to 15 pitches at full speed. Make sure that at each distance, the rotation and weight distribution is correct. If not, correct it immediately, before moving on to the next distance. At first, do not be concerned with accuracy. This will come with reps.

After all these pitches have been thrown, I have the pitchers throw peel drop, roll drop, change-up, fastball and rise ball in that order to feel the difference in pitches.

Finally I give the pitchers 10 pitches to hit 8 spots. I hold my glove at a certain location and the pitch has to hit it without moving the glove. If they hit these locations in the 10 pitches or less, they are done, if not, they must go to the end of the line and try again. Peer pressure works wonders here. I have the pitchers throw over hand again to cool down once practice is done. Submitted by: Coach Mike

Forearm and Wrist Strength Here is a tip that my daughter’s pitching coach told me. Take a thick broom handle or a 1″ thick dowel and cut it to about 2 foot in legnth. Drill a hole in the center of the dowel, and tie a rope through it. Attach a weight to the other end of the rope.

Now have your pitchers hold the dowel with both hands straight in front of them with arms locked out, and roll their wrists forward until they have wound up the rope and the weight has reached the dowel. Then have them reverse the motion to unwind the rope until the weight touches the ground again. (repeat) I started my DD out with a 2 lb weight. You can adjust weight as she gets stronger. Submitted by: Coach Buck

PITCHING HOOK KICK

I was having a hard time breaking a bad habit of “HOOK” sliding the trailing foot on my 10 year old pitcher (who happens to be my daughter). I told her all the technical stuff on power and control but she kept doing that old bowlers hook kick during her delivery.

Then I bought her a pair of mid-high shoes. She hates them!!! So I told her before she would get a new pair she would have to wear the toe out of the mids. The only way for her to do so is to properly drag her toe through the delivery.

She now has broken a bad habit and is on her way to a new pair of “Nikes”. Submitted by: Drew Hubbard

MICKEY MOUSE

The only true way to get accuracy is to have the pitcher throw pitches, pitches and more pitches. She has to throw 100 to 150 pitches every night, PERIOD!! If she is not willing to sacrifice this time and effort, find another pitcher. Enough said here!!

Ok that was a bit harsh. I use an inflatable toy in pitching practice a lot. The one I use is an inflatible Mickey Mouse. It is the kind with sand in the bottom of it so it stays upright. If the ball hits it (which with young players is often) the ball drops straight down and does not deflect to the catcher (me). I set Mickey in the batters box and call for inside drop balls (peel drop) and inside fastballs.

It works Great!! There is one drawback. Every now and then, the pitchers hit Mickey on purpose. You can count on replacing Mickey about twice a season, but at about $5.00, it is a great tool! Submitted by: Coach Mike

The Basement Works Fine During the winter months, we don’t always have access to a gym for pitching practice. So I set up a pitching station for my DD in our basement. I used duct tape for the strike zone on the wall, and then placed a piece of tape down the center of the stike zone from top to bottom, as well as across from left to right, so she can practice hitting the 1,2,3 and 4 boxes.

She does her drills and pitching from about 20 feet from the wall. We use a softie or incrediball and the ball comes flying back at her so she is also getting fielding practice at the same time. It turns out to be quite a workout. Also, I ran duct tape in a straight line, on the floor, between the wall and where she stands. This way, I can watch to make sure her front foot is landing on the power line. Submitted by: Coach Buck

Speed Sets Help Increase Speed The pitcher should gets into a stride position with her front foot out toward the catcher at a 45 degree angle and the back foot at 45 degrees as well. The feet should be a little wider than shoulder width and both toes should be on the power line – a line drawn from the center of the mound directly toward the target). The pitcher should make two circles with her arm as fast as she can while keeping the shoulder relaxed, and release the ball.

The focus is to increase the arm speed. The glove hand should be up at least shoulder height and in line to the target. The pitcher should do this approximately 10 times. This is a great drill after normal warmup drills (wrist snaps, half circle, etc.) and just prior to full pitch warmups. Submitted by: Coach Buck

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