Softball Pitching Techniques
Teaching the Fastball
Of all the softball pitching techniques a good coach should drill into his or her players, the fastball is the most fundamental. This pitch will serve as the basis of all the more complex pitching techniques.
In order to learn it effectively the pitcher must have a thorough understanding of aspects of the technique such as, grip on the ball, body position and shape, grounding and body movement. These softball pitching tips will help shape a perfect fastball technique.
General Pitch Philosophy
The fastball softball pitch is a pitcher’s bread and butter. The pitch should be taught so that the pitcher can comfortably outwit a batter by placing the ball with precision at high speed, before moving onto more complex variations.
© Helmut Steinwender
With a 4-seam softball, the ball should be held with all four fingers evenly spread along the top seam – the horseshoe. Depending on the pitcher’s hand size, all four fingers may be needed to keep a firm grip.
Body Position and Shape
The pitcher needs to have her body positioned correctly to deliver softball pitch. For the stance, her strong foot should be planted on the pitching plate, allowing her toes to poke out just over the edge. The toes of her weaker foot should line up with the plate’s back edge. Maintaining her balance is important for proper execution, so keeping her feet about shoulder width apart or a little less will help her do this. Even if she perfects the movements involved in the pitch, it needs to be thrown from a solid base. She should keep her hips and abdomen square to the batter. Her weight should lean on the front leg, allowing the back heel to lift up slightly.
© Kim Jew Photography Studio
A big part of the fastball pitch is learning the windmill arm motion, which can be practiced independently of the other movements until the pitcher masters it. The arm should circle around staying tight to the head and body. Don’t let it swing out wide – follow through in a straight line.
Rock your arms back from your sides so that your weight shifts onto the back foot. As it does, bring both arms up, shielding the ball from the batter’s view with your gloved hand. Rotate the ball up so that your arm is pointing directly upward, then, maintaining a relaxed posture, swing it down using the windmill motion, keeping everything in line. Aim your gloved hand toward the point you want to ball to pass through when it reaches the batter.
The ball should be released from the hip with a snap of the wrist. The snap is extremely important in getting the proper velocity on the ball.
If you have some tips or training for softball pitching techniques for teaching the fastball in particular of the windmill pitching style in general, share it here.
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