The purpose of the following softball pitching drill is is to help the pitcher become more powerful in their throwing, to maintain a good power line so that they increase the consistency of their throws, and to improve the overall quality of their pitching mechanics.
In order to achieve these things, the concept is start with the basics, going from wrist snaps, up to the forearms, up to the full arm usage, to weight shift, to the full drive, hitting all of the location of your pitcher’s spots as well as increasing the overall strength in the arm through various conditioning drills.
Some Quick Pitching Basics
Your pitcher wants to throw the softball where she will have four seams rotating through the air. This will increase both accuracy and velocity.
It’s a great idea to put a piece of tape around the ball to show the pitcher what you want. As your pitcher throws the ball, she can see if she’s having that 12/6 spin you want when you’re pitching. When we refer to 12/6, we mean 12/6 on the clock. Twelve o’clock is straight up; six o’clock, straight down. That rotation will give you the four seams you want.
When your pitcher grips the ball, she should grip over the edge of one of these seams and instead of burying the ball up into her palm, she should keep a little bit of space between her palm and the ball. This will help in releasing the ball with increased velocity.
It’s always important for your pitcher to keep the shoulders in line with the target.
Wrist Snap Softball Pitching Drill
The wrist snap drill is the final aspect of the pitching motion, and we want to strengthen the wrist, developing the proper spin.
Pitchers should be at their open position. Pitchers should use their glove to help restrict the movement of the elbow and to force themselves to use only their wrists in order to strengthen them.
It’s a good idea to use a weighted ball–from a nine-ounce ball to a twelve-ounce ball–for this pitching drill. Your pitcher will want to fling the ball underhand, focusing only on the movement of the wrist. For this drill, do it for either three minutes or 15 to 25 repetitions.
Forearm Snap Softball Pitching Drill
Our second softball drill is the forearm snap drill. In this drill, the athletes start with their arms to the side in open position, facing their target. From the elbow down to the fingers, they snap through the ball while working on spin and staying on their line. It’s important for your pitchers to keep their shoulders, hips, and everything aligned to the target.
While performing this drill, make certain that no weight shift is taking place. The only thing that moves is from the elbow down. There will be a slight follow-through with the arm, but the motion that we’re focusing on is the elbow down to the fingertips. This drill should be performed for two to three minutes or 25 repetitions.
Wrist Snaps with a Weight Shift Softball Drill
This drill is wrist snaps with a weight shift, which is like the wrist snap drill, but now we’re going to actually add letting the weight shift forward on the follow-through.
At the starting point, the objective is to have your shoulders in a straight line to your target as you progress through the drill, and certainly at release point. You want to start open and finish closed.
Not only does your pitcher want to make sure she’s aligned to the target she’s throwing at, she also wants to make sure that her shoulders are level. One way to accomplish this is, during the drill, make sure that the glove is parallel with the shoulders. This drill needs to be performed for two to three minutes or 25+ reps.
With these softball drills, your pitcher will be able to perfect her technique and work on becoming an even better pitcher. Be sure to share this with your fellow coaches if you agree!