Wrist Snap Drill
You do this softball drill into your glove, so they don’t need a catcher. You’re going to put your hand on your hip. You’re going to have your wrist cocked, which means that you’re going to have the back of your hand as close to your forearm as possible. You’re just going to drop down to your toes, and snap.
What we’re doing when we do these drills is we’re starting from part to whole. We’re not going to throw a kid on the mound, say throw the ball and let us fix you. The reason I don’t like to do that is because a lot of times children get injured when they just throw 10 pitches because they’re trying to throw hard.
We never compromise our speed for our technique. What you’ve got to do is make sure your technique’s right. We’re starting from the very parts of what we’re doing. This part, this wrist snap, is actually right before you let the ball go and follow through.
We’re going to start with the wrist snap, snap it into our glove. You’re going to shoot the gun at the end, which means that you’re going to have your thumb on top, your forefinger pointing towards your catcher. That means that your hand was in correct position when you released the ball. When you came through, your hand wasn’t turned over; that means your thumb would be on the bottom. What you want is where you come straight through, your thumb is on top, your forefinger’s pointing to the catcher.
The reason we call this softball drill a muscle is because it’s like you’re standing here making a muscle, but you’re going to put the ball in your hand and you’re going to cock your wrist the other way. You’re going to have a 90-degree angle. The ball is going to be facing the sky. You’re going to have your wrist cocked. You’re just going to come back and you’re right to your wrist snap again. But you’re not going to pause in the middle.
On a muscle, you’re just going to come straight down, snap. The ball is pointing to the air, you’re keeping the wrist cocked until you get ready to hit your hip, and that’s when you snap.
Half Circle Drill
With this softball drill, you’re going to come straight up, but the arm is not locked. Because what produces more speed, a stick or a whip? We want a whip. And if you have your arm locked, that’s a stick. So we want a slight bend in it, the ball is to the sky, the wrist is cocked again. And the way that you can know that your hand is not too far over your head is that you look up. Don’t move your head, just look up with your eyes, and that way, if you see your hand just a little bit, you know that you’re in front of your body. You’re going to come straight down and snap.
So this way what you’re doing is trying to teach a pitcher who has never pitched before how to keep their arm in front of them so that they don’t hurt their shoulder. You want to start from this part to whole technique so that you don’t throw them right out there and let them get hurt.
Full Circle Drill
With this final drill, you’re going to cock your wrist, with your fingers to your catcher, swing back just a little bit, come over. Now here is the tricky part. What you’re going to do is come straight up, lead with your fingers to the ground, ball’s to the sky, ball’s to the back, come right back to your wrist snap. Right into your glove. The wrist should be cocked all the time.
With these four softball drills — the wrist snaps, the muscles, the half circles, and the full circles — what you need to have your pitcher do, especially if she’s never pitched before, is you need to have them do those drills into their glove or into a wall, not to a catcher, for at least three to four weeks. To where you really feel like they have gotten the technique.
There’s not going to be any aiming involved; you’ll understand what aiming is later. You don’t want them to try to worry where the ball goes ever. You just want them to get that momentum up, snap it at the hip. And if you don’t let them do that, then you’re going to have to where they have lost the technique and they’re going to go on their own when they get in trouble. And you never want that to happen.
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