started pitching softball
Softball Pitching Instructor
1. Throw a minimum of 300 practice pitches each week (400 would be okay,
Practice…hard, serious practice is everything. Windmill pitching
is not going to be easy. You need to build up to the point where you
can throw 100 to 125 pitches every two or three days.
the mechanics of the pitch first…then speed.
Work on learning and developing proper mechanics. Then as you become
more smooth and consistent with your motion, start adding speed. Do
NOT worry about control right now…it will come later. Make certain
you use: Consistent arm speed the whole way around; Arm extended (not
bent) the whole way; Don't use only your arms and upper body to throw
the ball...as your arm reaches your hip, bring your hip through with
the pitch; Release the ball at your knee with the inside of the wrist
straight ahead…facing home plate. Then follow-through…let
your hand come up after the release, usually palm up, or whatever is
natural to you. Get your speed consistently fast.
PHASE II - Control Your Pitch & Yourself
at least 400 practice pitches each week (500 is okay, too).
You can develop good control ONLY if you can control yourself. Stay
in your own head…whether in practice or in a real game situation…don't
get distracted. Don't worry about a bad pitch, or fans or teammates
yelling, or the umpire's call. Don't complain, whine, or make bad facial
expressions. You MUST keep control…and show everyone else that
you are the one in control. YOU run the game.
you get a smooth, comfortable roundhouse pitch and with good speed,
and after you really feel and look confident, then start working on
accuracy and placement of your pitches. Use the "4 corners":
low and inside, low and outside, high and inside, and high and outside.
a GOOD change-up pitch…then use it.
The speed of the change-up should be about ¾ the speed of your
fastball…about 12-15 miles per hour slower. Grip the ball far
back in your hand. There are several ways to throw a change-up (stiff
wrist, circle change, back of hand, etc.) each with your normal motion
and arm speed. The key is to have no wrist snap…keep your wrist
locked. The idea is to not let the batter know the ball will be coming
in slower. Your facial expression and your windmill delivery need to
look exactly the same as your fastball. Make certain your coach and
your catcher don't always call the change-up only when you have two
strikes on the batter. Mix up your pitches…sometimes use the change-up
on the first pitch… sometimes on a 2-ball, 1-strike count, etc.
Count on a minimum of 6 months to learn to throw a deceptive change-up
ANY new pitch you learn (a change-up, drop ball, screwball, curve, rise
ball, etc.) might each take up to 10,000 pitches before you get used
to it. Be patient. Work hard to make each pitch work the way it supposed
PHASE III - After all of Phase II is done
a drop ball…then work on it to make it really drop.
You need to make it have a fast and perfect top-to-bottom spin as it
goes toward the plate. There are two common styles:
- Throw it like your fastball, but roll it or snap it up, off the tips
of your fingers, to create a bottom-to-top spin,
DROP - Release the ball by "snapping it over" to create the
bottom-to-top spin. A good drop ball can be very effective because it
drops below the batter's bat, making her either hit only the top of
the ball for a grounder, or hopefully, swing totally over the ball.
"peel" or the "roll-over" style of drop ball are
more effective if you keep your upper body weight forward (without bending
at the waist ...directly over the stride foot at the time of release.
This is seen by many pitchers as "being on top of the ball"
and gives a greater opportunity to give the ball a fast forward spin
In many pitchers' cases the "rollover" style drop ball will
be approximately 6 to 8 miles an hour slower than the fastball, and
therefore is a combined drop/off-speed pitch. You need something between
the speed of your fastball and your change-up. Just like with the change-up,
no batter or opposing coach should be able to tell when you are throwing
certain your pitches all look the same.
A batter should not be able to tell what kind of pitch you are going
to throw. Keep your grip hidden by your glove. Don't show your grip
until you start your backswing. Don't "telegraph" which pitch
you are going to thrown by using a certain facial expression or a different
IV (don't go too fast...this phase is years away)
9. To gain
confidence, throw 600 (or more) pitches per week.
Never let more than 2 days go by without practicing. Practice alone
doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Work to make your
last pitch better. ALWAYS work hard to improve the pitches you have
learned. Learn to stay cool and always show that YOU are in control.
Never let them see you sweat!
one more pitch (that works)…a curve, screwball, or rise.
ball can be effective if it is really deceptive, and really curves.
The primary problem with a curve is that it is thrown on the same level
as the batter swings. Even if it curves a little, it is still "hittable."
is a pitch that curves IN on a right-handed batter…it looks like
it is coming across the plate…then it moves in toward the batter's
hands. It IS possible to throw a screwball that also rises.
rise ball can be your most effective pitch…provided you can get
it to work every time. Thrown right, it will rise just before it gets
to the plate, forcing the batter to swing under it…popping it
up, or missing it altogether. If it doesn't work right, the ball levels
out chest-high, and you will give the batter a fat pitch up in her power
zone. Even many college pitchers still cannot throw a good rise that
works consistently. It will take a lot of practice…many months…to
develop a good, effective rise ball.
Warner is a long time pitching instructor in Denver, Colorado and the
father of former College Pitcher, Sara Warner.