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Softball Pitching Mechanics Every Player Should Avoid

Softball Pitching Mechanics Every Player Should Avoid

To be a top player in softball, you must understand softball pitching. Well, this no doubt requires focus, energy, time, and training to perfect. For the softball pitcher, perfect communication is required with the catcher already at the waiting plate to identify the right pitches and prevent opponents hitting the ball. Using the wrong pitching mechanics can be dangerous and can at times even end careers in softball. Here are common softball pitching methods that every player should avoid.

1. Overusing

When a player uses incorrect pitching tactics, there is a risk injuring rotating cuffs and shoulders. For example, if you use roll-over drop technique, the likelihood of getting an injury is very high. While there are no specific recommendations about the number of pitches that are safe, it is prudent to exercise restraint.

  • Be sensitive during training to know personal limits
  • Make sure to get ample rest between innings

2. Lack of ample stretching and warm up

During the tournament day, many are the players who take warm up lightly. They rush through warm up and get into the game when the body is not fully prepared. This could be a recipe for disaster. For pitchers, taking ample exercises like jogging is crucial even before getting to pitching mood. This helps to make muscles loose and bring concentration necessary to direct more energy to the muscles and other areas.

3. Practicing breaking pitches too soon

To practice pitch drop balls or curve balls among other tough pitches, you need to develop and adapt the wrist bone structure. Here there is no short cut; get a taut wrist and energize fast so that the ball can be released in a spinning and fast pace. However, many players take time to develop this level of bone toughness and wrist snap but end up trying and risking their hands. For coaches, it is prudent to be patient with players and not force them to trying breaking pitches too soon.

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Little Known Facts About Softball

Little known facts about softball (differences with baseball)

Baseball is better known than softball perhaps due to popularity of the game in the major league. On the other hand, softball is a very competitive college sport with many similarities to baseball but a game on its own nonetheless. Softball is usually played by female players but that does not make it a lesser game. Baseball rules are quite easy to understand because it is watched by millions of people who love the game. But the same cannot be said about softball; some of its rules are not widely known.

This article will elaborate on some of the little known facts about softball.

Balls are heavier and larger

The balls used in softball are heavier and larger than those used in baseball. They have a tendencies of adding some weight especially when wet. As such the officials have to watch balls keenly they might have gained some weight after rainy games or practice. Furthermore the balls might vary in weight depending on how long they have been in use –technically when they are worn out.

The pitchers in softball can play in numerous games

Notably, baseball pitchers pitch overhand while pitchers in softball do it underhand. Therefore, unlike baseball, softball pitching isn’t strenuous as baseball pitching. This means a pitcher in softball can play in multiple games without getting strained easily.  However, a pitcher in baseball needs to be relieved by other pitchers because of the effort required to accomplish his task on the pitch.

Unlike baseball, pitchers cannot steal bases until the pitcher is actually pitching

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How to Pitch in Slow Pitch

How to Pitch Slow Pitch Softball.

Softball is among the fastest developing games in the current world. It is estimated (by The American Journal of Pediatrics) that just about 8.6 million teenage American girls actively participate in softball. Either, The National College Athletics Association (NCAA) records that already 147 countries worldwide play softball. In 2016 (Next year) softball will officially be included as one among the games played in the World Olympics. Sadly, despite that popularity, most softball fans and players never understand the two popular types of softball pitching techniques (fast-pitching and slow-pitching). This edition seeks to outline the slow pitching technique and later discuss some of the popular drills for slow pitch softball.

Slow Pitch Softball vs. Fast Pitch Softball

The main difference between slow-pitch softball and fast-pitch softball is drawn mainly from the frequency of movement when pitching and the eventual tactic in scoring. Slow pitching is also a counter approach to fast pitching.

  • Speed: Fast pitch softball includes a high speed of movement and requires a similar response from the opponents. Slow pitch on the other hand requires a lower and more tactical approach when playing.
  • Winning approach: Fast pitching technique wins mainly from utilizing a fast game momentum. On the other hand, slow pitch softball relies entirely on tactical moves.
  • Popularity: Fast pitch softball is the most popular technique of pitching followed by the slow pitch technique. Some teams however embrace both the two.

1, 2, 3 … in Slow Pitch Softball Approach

When trying out soft pitching for the very first time, one needs to focus not only on the speed, but also in the grip, the initial posture and the way of winding and releasing the ball.

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Case Study – How She Added 2 MPH to Her Fastball

By Coach Marc
 
Wow, I love great news like that. I had to write you about it because It’s a great lesson to any

young pitcher out there.

Booom!This morning, I spoke to the dad of a young 14 years old lady who I’ve known for a couple of years now.
She’s been pitching for 3 years and go to a pitching instructor every couple of weeks to tweak and perfect her mechanics.

However, working her butt off in January, she was able to increase her average speed from 54 mph to a consistent 56 mph (we’re talking average speed, not a one-time top speed).
That’s pretty sweet!!

How did she do it?

Well, two things:

1) She worked her butt off.

2) She used Barry Lovelace’s Pitchers POP Training

I recommended her this program at the beginning of January after talking to her dad.

This program is focusing on softball pitching-specific exercises and emphasizes a lot of core training.

In a nutshell, this program improved her pitching speed by:

– Strengthening all of her pitching muscles
– Develop more explosive power throughout her body
– Helping her body recruit more fast-twitch muscle fibers
– Optimizing sequential muscle recruitment (i.e. teaching her body how to better use all of her muscles)

That’s how she was able to gain an average of 2 mph!

And the thing is… she’s tiny at barely 5’3 and 100 and something.

If she can do it, so can you.

If you want to create more explosive power and improve your pitching velocity, get your own copy of Pitchers POP training at:

Pitchers POP Training

I fully expect her to add several Ks to her stats over the summer as a result of her improved speed.
 
 
Coach Marc
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Softball Pitching Drill for Better Balance

By Hal Skinner

Weight Back and Balanced Pitching Drill

As a pitcher, it’s important to understand how important it is to start your pitch off in a balanced pitching stance. For the smoothest motions, you must also maintain that same balance through the entire course of your motions when you pitch.

Here is a pitching drill that gives you a feeling of balance during your pitching motions, the feeling of a slight lean forward at the start and of having the weight back at the end of the motions.

How to do the drill

Part One

Stand on the rubber and bend your stride knee to 90 degrees, like a flamingo.

Throw three pitches like that balancing on your pivot foot only while keeping your balance.

Don’t let your foot come down until the catcher catches the ball.

Part Two

Now, take an empty coffee can and set it upside down about 1 foot directly in front of your stride foot.  Place your foot against the top edge of the can, lean SLIGHTLY forward, and throw three pitches from that position while keeping your balance.

Part Three

Now, place the upside down can about 3 feet out in front of your stride foot and do the same thing.  You might need to use your arm to steady yourself as you put your foot against the can. Make sure you keeps your balance and do not push over the can.

Doing this drill allows you to experience how balanced you must feel at the very start, part way into, and near the end of your pitch.

You will also experience how you must have your weight slightly forward at the push off and must also keep your weight back at the end of the pitch.

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Free Pitching Drill Video to Increase Speed

Former Olympian and Professional pitcher Lauren Bay demonstrates a simple softball pitching drill for increasing your pitching speed and power.

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A Successful Pitching Philosophy

Here’s a philosophy on being a successful pitcher as shared by legendary pitcher and instructor Coach Hal Skinner in his book Sneaky Softball Pitching.

The best and most widely respected pitchers are those who pitch the smartest games.

They don’t have to throw the quickest fastball, or have a large number of different pitches to choose from, or even have great ball movement on those pitches. The best pitchers are the unpredictable pitchers. The unpredictable pitchers are the smart pitchers!

Years ago, my goal was to become a smart pitcher; to outsmart the batters, the teams I faced. Every good pitcher needs a bit of an ego when it comes to their pitching. I am no exception to this rule.

My pitching philosophy is different from any other I’ve encountered in the sport. Most do not even agree with me. But my philosophy is simple: a pitcher must be smarter at pitching than the batter is at hitting…

Do you agree or disagree?

SneakySoftballPitching.com bookNote from Coach Hal: Many years have passed and injuries now prevent me from competing in the position of this sport that I love so well, and I have retired from coaching. The time has come for me to pass on to a much wider audience what I have learned and coached all these years. I have nearly 50 years of experience being in and around fast pitch softball. These are some of the things that helped make me and my teams winners. I hope some of my advice can help you be a winner, too.

Get Coach Hal’s best pitching tips and advice in his book Sneaky Softball Pitching

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Softball Pitching Tips: How to Destroy a Hitter’s Timing

One thing that’s often said about hitting is that “hitting is timing.”  Well if you’re a pitcher and you want to experience success in the circle, the last thing you want to do is allow hitters to get their timing down when hitting against you.

sneakysoftballpitchingThat’s why legendary pitcher Hal Skinner wrote Sneaky Softball Pitching: Sneaky Pitching Tactics to Destroy a Hitter’s Timing.

Sneaky Softball Pitching contains the most sought after pieces of pitching advice in the game today. Learn how to pitch faster within seconds. Get the secret of how to stun a batter into not swinging at all. Find out what every great pitcher needs to know about the mental game, and get detailed information about the foundation for building not only top speed, but most accuracy as well!

From the author:
I am a self-taught pitcher. I learned to pitch by watching hundreds of adult male pitchers starting when I was 5-years-old. I saw the ones that won most of their games and the ones that weren’t as good. Most of the teams I played on were championship teams that won nearly all tourneys entered. We were champions because we did things in practice and in the games that the other teams did not do, did not do as well, or did not do nearly as often as we did.

The things we did that others didn’t is included in my book. Unless your instructor was a champion pitcher at a high level, they cannot teach you most of what is in my book because they don’t have the knowledge I have. They have not “been there and done that.” As a pitcher, I learned very early on how to win. I pitched differently and used strategies other pitchers did not. I used pitching tactics and was very good at it.

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Fastpitch Softball Drills Work Better When…

softball-drills-catching-tips

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

Fastpitch Drills Work Better When You Know Why You’re Doing Them

Yet another story from the fastpitch front, i.e. lessons. Tonight I was doing a pitching lesson where the pitcher brought her own catcher. The catcher happens to be a girl named Lindsay, a former player of mine and a personal favorite.

As the pitcher was working, she occasionally threw a ball into the ground. My expectation was that Lindsay would drop and block the ball, or at least catch it competently. But instead, she was just sort of swatting at it, which looked very odd.

After the pitching lesson I asked her what gives, and that’s when she told me she’d just come from a team workout (not sure if it was HS or travel ball) where the coach was bouncing balls into the catchers, who were only wearing masks. I asked her what the purpose/point of the drill was, and she said she didn’t know. None of the catchers did, apparently.

To me, that’s a problem. Forget that the drill itself is downright idiotic. Catchers need to learn to block the ball, and bouncing the ball in to them with no equipment on is no way to make that happen. It’s counter-productive and pretty much guarantees runs will score that shouldn’t.

For me, the problem is none of the girls executing it had any idea why they were doing it — or bothered to ask. If that’s the case, how do you know whether you’re doing it right or wrong, or getting out of it what you’re supposed to?

In my opinion there are good drills and not-so-good drills. But even the not-so-good drills can serve a purpose in the right hands.

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Softball Tips – Practice Makes Permanent

By  Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

softballtips-practicepermanentMany of you have probably heard the expression “Practice doesn’t make perfect — it makes permanent.” Yet how often have you really thought about that in the context of your own work?

I know I see that in action all the time. Walking through a facility or along a field I will see teams diligently running drills or working on techniques that essentially have them practicing to lose. Even though they may have best of intentions.

I see it with hitting a lot. I like hitting stations as much as the next coach, but they can do as much harm as good if they’re not set up or supervised properly.

Now, if you have older players whom you’ve worked with for awhile you can probably have them work the stations without someone being with them every minute. But for younger players it often doesn’t work as well.

I will see young players putting no effort into hitting off a tee because they think it’s for babies. So they just sort of knock the ball off instead of working on elements of their swings.

Soft toss is another one that can be problematic. Players will toss arcing balls to one another, which creates all sorts of problems in the swing that will have to corrected later.

But it’s not just hitting. You can see it in throwing, when players just push or lob the ball to one another while chattering away. You see it in the way they catch or field, just going through the motions instead of working on technique. They figure as long as they get the ball, or get it to wherever it needs to go next, they’ve done their jobs. But then, when they really need the better skills, those skills aren’t there — because they haven’t developed them.

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