Softball is a game controlled by the pitcher.
If a team can get hits off you easily, then it’ll be a long night for you and your whole team.
If you are striking out batters left and right, or they can only hit pop fly’s and ground-outs, you’re leading your squad to victory.
As the game wears on, and as the season goes on, facing the same batters is a double-edged sword.
You start to figure out what their game plan is. But you also become more predictable to them.
A wider variety of softball pitches allows you to be more unpredictable when facing a batter. Learning different pitches is important to being the best player you can be. Here’s how.
Practice Makes Much Better Softball Pitches
Learning anything new takes time and effort.Exactly how much time is up for debate.
One popular theory is Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hours Rule.
Gladwell’s rule suggests that to achieve an elite level of any skill, from sports to professional work to education, 10,000 hours of practice are required.
Different scientists have pushed back against Gladwell’s belief. Of course, talent is required to reach an elite level.
Steph Curry, the best shooter in the NBA, shoots 100 shots from different spots on the court in one drill, a few times every day.
No matter what number you put to the time you need to improve at a sport or skill within in a sport, a lot of effort in required.
Softball pitches are no different. Throw with a friend regularly to come up with the best results. Throw off a wall if
Regardless of your current level of talent, you will need to invest time and energy to get to the next level.
You might not end up like Jennie Finch. But it is possible to achieve much better pitching results than you do now, whatever your level.
Improve your Grip Strength
The stronger your legs, the higher you can jump and the faster you can run.
So, it makes sense that the stronger your fingers, the more control you have over the softball.
Grip strength comes from time spent holding different objects, sometimes heavy ones.
One method to improve your grip strength is to buy a handheld grip-strengthening tool. Stress-grip devices also result in strengthened grips.
Holding a softball will also help your hand get used to its weight, and feel more comfortable throwing different kinds of softball pitches.
As you continue to strengthen your grip, you’ll find it easier to manage the different grips that different softball pitches require.
That makes learning the pitches that much easier.
The fastball is an effective pitch for any softball player at any level.
Not coincidentally, it is the fastest pitch in any player’s arsenal.
Monica Abbott, one of the best pitchers in the world, has been clocked at speeds in the high 70’s while throwing her fastball.
The fastball grip is designed to maximize speed of your pitch.
Place the ball on your open palm and spread your fingers evenly across the longer seams.
Focus on throwing on a straight line. The good news for speed lovers is that you should let the ball fly.
Of course, you want accuracy, but the whole point of a fastball is to throw as fast as you can.
Let it rip.
A good step past the fastball is the curveball.
It’s another pitch in your arsenal, which you should throw to mix up your softball pitches and catch batters off guard.
Unsurprisingly, the trajectory of a curveball isn’t straight. To achieve the curve motion that inspires the name of this pitch, grip the ball with three fingers the short-way across the seams.
You’ll pull back the ball the same as in a fastball, but to release, you’ll pull your arm across your body as it goes forward.
This will have the batter whiffing at a pitch they thought was going straight.
The change-up is one of the most unpredictable softball pitches.
That’s because to a batter, the pitch looks like a fastball at first, but then it veers off. Great batters can tell immediately if a pitch if a fastball or a change-up but it takes many batter off-guard.
To throw a change-up, keep the fastball grip. The main difference will be the position of your hand at the point of release.
When you throw a change-up, you’ll rotate your hand so that your palm is flipped up just as you let go of the ball.
That means the speed of the ball will be slowed down immediately, too fast for the batter to realize.
In softball and in baseball, the changeup is one of the most respected and successful pitches.
The drop-off pitch is designed to throw off batters, as well.
To throw a drop-off pitch, you should hold the softball long-ways across the seams. At the point of release, flip your wrist up, like you would while throwing a bowling ball.
This should let the pitch drop some in a way not expected by the batter.
The Value of Recovery
The time and effort you put into practicing different pitches should matter as much as possible.
While the amount of time you put into practice is important, the hours in between are important, too.
It might sound confusing, but you should think of yourself as an athlete 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you throw five hundred pitches and then go to an arm wrestling tournament, for the next week, you’ll barely be able to throw any pitches at all.
But, if you ice your throwing arm after an outing throwing pitches, you’ll be able to hop back on the mound in a few days.
Muscle recovery is an important factor for any athlete, particularly a pitcher learning the different variations of pitches.
Try dynamic stretching before a game to warm up your muscles.
After a game, use static stretching to help expedite the recovery of your muscles. If you’ve spent a long day throwing, ice your arms to help get back on the mound faster.
Knowledge of softball pitches is best learned by a combination of practice and learning moments from positions of authority on the subject.
Always stay practicing. To find out more information about softball pitches, or just to review information about softball, continue reading.