Previously, in Part 1 of “Softball Pitching”, we talked about basic softball pitching mechanics, including Grip, Pre-motion and Footwork.

In Part 2 of “Softball Pitching”, we are going to continue to walk through our pitch and talk about proper body rotation and follow through after the pitch.   But first, I want to go over what we do with our glove.

The Glove

When it comes to softball pitching, it’s really important to use your whole body. Not just your right side or throwing side, but we want to use both sides. So you’re pitcher is going to swing back, and take her step. Look at her glove… it’s really important to get the glove up high.  

softball pitching 2 glove
Get the glove up high!

When she’s swinging back and she takes her stride, her glove comes up high and when she gets to here, have your girls try to pull their glove down and make a slapping noise on their side. So they’re reaching up high and they’re pulling their glove down.

softball pitching 2 glove 2
Pull the glove back down, and slap the leg

Another thing that the glove does is, it helps them get their weight back. You’ll have some girls that end up with their weight a little forward. If you really think about trying to get the glove up, they’re going to get themselves in a good position, with their weight back. So the right arm comes down, the left arm pulls down at the same time, and then she’s going to try to snap that ball through as strong as she can. Elbow in tight, snap, and then follow through.

Body Rotation

We’re going to be talking about body rotation during your pitch. Your pitcher’s going to swing back, take her stride, and she’s not going to open until her arm gets to a point where her body’s going to be open, completely sideways.  

softball pitching 2 rotation1
Body is open, completely sideways

You want to make sure that your pitcher is still looking at her target.   I often see players try to open their body and then their eyes go off during the middle of their pitch. You want to make sure that she’s always focusing on the target. Her body turns and rotates sideways, and this is going to allow her arm to come straight back as if she was tracing that wall. If her shoulders don’t open up enough, you’re going to end up seeing pressure on the arm.   And then the arm’s not able to come all the way back. Her body needs to be completely sideways to allow her arm to come straight through and straight back. Her hips need to be open when she releases so that it clears that lane to throw the ball straight to the middle of the play. If her hip ends up turning too early, before the release, her arm’s going to kind of drag through, and she’s going to release and lose a lot of her speed. And it’s also going to force the arm to go off to the side because she doesn’t want to hit her side. So she’s going to end up getting this rotation on the ball instead of just straight through. So keep the hips open and come straight through. And then at the end of her pitch she’s actually going to close. She is going to turn her hips, but it’s got to be right after she throws the ball. And that’s where your power comes from. So it’s dragging — stay open, come through, and then drag and close at the end. And that would be her body rotation.

softball pitching 2 rotation 2
Turn the hips and close the pitch

A lot of your power comes from how hard and how fast you can rotate your body. So you’re open, your hand comes through fast, and then you’re going to go quick and try to close as hard as you can.

Ball Release & Follow-Through

We’re also going to talk about ball release, how the ball should be coming off of your hand and what your arm should be doing after you throw the pitch. That’s called your follow-through.

So, we’re going to walk through our pitch again. The pitcher is open. And you want to make sure, like I said before, that your elbow kind of brushes against your side, but fingertips are behind the ball and she wants to pull as strong as she can. I mean, she should really be able to spin the ball. And I tell my students to try to spin the ball as much as you possibly can between you and your catcher. If they get a lot of spin, they’re going to have better control and speed.

And this is what happens. She spins the ball straight to the target.   Her fingertips are going straight up. We don’t want her fingertips to go sideways or turn out, because she’ll lose control of the ball.

softball pitching 2 followthrough
Fingertips are going straight up

Now, a follow-through is real important no matter what pitches you’re throwing. It tells us as a coach what she just did. So when she’s releasing the ball, if her hand comes straight up, we know she had a good release. If you see her hand and she’s off to the side, we know she’s throwing across her body and she’s going to end up throwing the ball outside a lot. Or she’s going to throw inside a lot. The girls that don’t follow through, you’ll see a lot of balls in the dirt. So if you have a girl that has been pitching for a while and keeps on throwing the ball in the dirt, probably one of the biggest things that she’s not doing is her follow-through. It needs to be a lot stronger. She’s just going to come through, snap, and then really finish strong at the end of the pitch. And that’s a good follow-through for a fastball.

The follow-through is also part of what you do with your feet at the end of the pitch. Take your step, and what happens is, when you’re a right-handed pitcher, the drag foot’s going to come up after you release the ball, and we never want to see the right foot go past the left foot. It can come up even. It can finish a little behind. But we don’t want to ever see the right foot finish in front of the left.

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Followthrough Finish

Something else I see a lot is girls finishing on the wrong foot. We want to make sure that they finish on that left foot. The weight’s got to be on the left, because that’s what’s going to get the ball going straight at the target.

To work on this, here’s something that I have my younger students do. For LT’s age 10 and under, I think it’s real important to hold the drag foot down. Don’t even lift up the foot right now. Just make sure that the weight is on the left foot and that’s going to help when we go on to learn other pitches besides just our fastball. When she goes on to learn a change-up or a curveball or anything, it’s going to be a lot easier to learn those pitches. They’re just different spins. So from here, just work on stepping straight to the target, pointing the arm at the target, and making sure that the feet are balanced at the end of the pitch. And the one thing I have my students do is I tell them to hold it for about three seconds. And they can count in their head, they can count out loud, but I want them to hold it for about three seconds at the end of their pitch and see if they can balance.

Next step – check out our complete collection of windmill pitching drills for fastpitch softball. It’s packed with fun techniques you can use at all ages and ability levels.

Or, if you’re ready for the fast track, download our Ultimate Pitching Drills ebook today!

    6 replies to "Softball Pitching Part 2 – Body Rotation, Ball Release & Follow Through"

    • Eric Pyle

      The pitching coach that I have for my daughter does not teach to close at the end of the pitch. Just how critical is this? My girl has been pitching for a couple yrs now and we switched to a new pitching coach last Nov. Like I said the new coach does not have her close the pitch with her hips when she ends. My girl is 11 yrs old. Her accuracy has improved 10 fold. When she gets the pitch correct and doesn’t lean over forward it turns out a great fastball. Some people feel she should be closing her hips at the end of the pitch, but so far it she has no problem pitching from 45ft. Even 63ft.
      So, is it truly necessary to close the pitch?

      • l cole

        Not sure how old your comment is, but not closing the hip behind the release could have two negatives for your daughter; injury to back (small spinal fractures from torque) and decreased speed and power long term by not using the strength of the body and hip behind the pitch. Look up the impacts. Also note that many male pitchers/pitching coaches teach this style to girls and in my experience it is ineffective long term and higher risk of injury

      • l cole

        Wondering also if her back pain, after pitching, has increased with the open stance pitch style?

      • Jeremy

        Closing the hip also ensures that the pitcher will be ready to react to the hit ball. I tell my pitchers that once you pitch the ball you are no longer a pitcher, you are a fielder and you must be prepared to react to the hit.

    • maddy

      I really find the information on your blog interesting. This is one of the few good blogs about softball that i could find and i really appreciate you creating this blog. I love softball and it is nice to have someone create something where you can go and get information about it. I am a pitcher and train at Planet Fastpitch and our mechanics are a little bit different from the way that yours are, but I still got some good information from reading your posts. Thank you so much! Great Blog!

    • Hanah

      This is very helpful and it gave me some information that I did not already know about pitching. Some of it is very basic which could really help kids who are just starting to learn how to pitch. I am a pitcher and I think this information will help me become better. You gave some really good tips about using your whole body when you pitch to give you more power. I really think this is a very useful blog to learn about softball.

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