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Softball Pitching Tips - Creating an Ideal Pitching Pattern

By Lori Sippel
Head Coach – Canadian National Team
Associate Head Coach – University of Nebraska

If I could recreate an ideal pitching motion knowing what I do from pitching for 15 years plus, what type of pitching motion would I create?

One that would allow for or contain:

1) Balance:

  • I don’t want to get hit in the head after a pitch.

  • I want to have a feeling of control over my body.

2) Reduced Back Soreness:

  • One that does not cause excess back snapping, whipping, or rotating.

3) Reduced Groin Injury:

  • One that allows for minimal stretching of hip flexors (i.e. no bowling leg).

4) Reduced Shoulder Injury:

  • One that allows for a comfortable, free moving arm circle (i.e. no hitches).

5) Reduced Knee Injury:

  • One that would not cause undue pressure or shock to the knee joint.

6) Velocity:

  • One that allows for the production of optimum velocity to be imparted on the ball.


7) Rotation:

  • One  that will allow me to put any type of rotation on the ball without changing my motion ( i.e. little difference in rise, drop and change).

8) Consistent Release Point:

  • One that would provide a “landmark” for me to throw from every time.

9) Efficient:

  • One that would allow me to create optimal power and then expend it upon the release of the ball.

10) Ball Control:

  • One that would allow me to make the necessary adjustments (i.e. throw strikes with speed and movement).

How Can I Create A Motion That Would Allow For All These Ideals?

1) Watch how the body works under normal circumstances. The body is an incredible storer of energy and can be very efficient in its movements if you train to do son.

2) Watch other athletes in different sports and see how they utilize their bodies for optimal results (ie. Baseball pitcher, basketball player, volleyball player, golf pro).

3) Recognize when something feels good and comfortable. If it does not feel good then you are probably doing something unnatural. Move yourself from this uncomfortable state to one that is and try to attain that “good feeling” state again.


Start Balanced: If you start balanced then it is much easier for you to begin your motion with a controlled transfer of weight.

Transfer of Weight: Transfer of weight established the direction you want to go and readies the body for the gross movement in that direction.

Gross Movement: The gross movement is the actual stride towards the catcher or the acceleration of the body towards the catcher. This also stretches the upper and lower bodies to prepare them for optimal contraction.

Optimal Contraction: The bringing together of all body parts to a midpoint therefore forming a powerhouse of support from which you can work.

Powerhouse of Support: The creation of a strong base of support which will utilize the legs in a manner that will allow them to be powerful co-workers while sustaining a balanced state.

Midpoint: All parts must “come together” around a common area or landmark where the actual work is going to be executed. This will allow all  the energies created, by all the parts, to be combined and imparted on the ball.

Landmark: The hip-thigh area on the throwing hand side. If the landmark is any higher or lower on the body, the body would have to adjust the release point as the landmark and release point should be the same thing.

Release Point: That point in which all energy generated by all parts of the body are imparted on the ball causing the ball to fling from that point in the direction that was established earlier.

All of these things must occur in a precise, flowing, directional pattern.

The most directional a pattern can be is a linear pattern.

The Liner pattern is the most precise or efficient movement as it allows all body parts to be utilized in an orderly fashion; no excess movement as there is a definite beginning and ending. Now, all movements can be set up in sequential order.

Movements that occur in a sequence allow for a flowing, tension free pattern to be attained.

If one is tension free then she will be able to work longer and more efficiently.

It all starts with being directional in your initial movement and then maintaining that direction by allowing the body parts to stretch and contract in a sequential order.

The “IDEAL” pitching motion is Linear Pitching Motion.

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