Softball pitching drills are specifically designed to improve every pitch. We believe that pitching is an art and pitchers should learn and master its components to come up with a strong and definite pitch. A single pitch requires various movements and you don’t just launch a pitch.These pitching drills are also helpful in determining who among the players are skillful in pitching and help the weak players to improve.
WINDMILL SWING AND ARM DRILLS
The windmill pitch perhaps, is one of the most common and impactful pitches in softball. To master this, players require skill, focus and time.
- Step 1: Start the arm swing as you lift the heel of your push-off foot. This will make you shift your weight from your stride leg (backward) to the ball of your push-off foot (forward).
- Step 2: As your weight shifts, swing your throwing arm backward until it is parallel to the ground. Your palm should face the ground.
- Step 3: When your arm is already parallel to the ground, reverse the movement and start swinging in a windmill or circular motion to release the point.
- Step 4: When your arm is fully extended overhead, rotate your head. The back of your head should be facing the catcher. Extend your glove arm and point towards the catcher.
To enhance your windmill pitch, these are some of the arm swing drills you can follow.
Wall throws - the drill focuses on the pitching speed, but it only involves arm rotation. To do this, you will stand to a wall as close as possible. Use a soft ball and not a regular ball. You will wind up and pitch as fast and as hard as you can into the wall.
Whilst the wall throw drill focuses on speed, you must focus on exerting 100% of your power on every pitch. This will manifest and give your pitch more speed.
Another variation of the drill focuses on endurance. Stand next to the wall and throw as many balls as you can in just one minute. Make sure to execute every pitch with full power.
Walk-Up Drill - to execute this, take one step onto the pitcher’s mound before you pitch. Make sure that your step is long and aggressive to help you extend your pitching range and gain momentum from the ground and transferred to your body and into the ball.
The walk up drill has the following components:
- -Activates larger muscles in your legs to supply power when you swing.
- Ensure that the linear direction of your swing is in and through the ball.
- Improve sequencing and timing of the movements of your upper and lower body.
Circle Speed Drill - aims to improve the arm rotation speed that will result to control speed and powerful throws. To do this, stand in a stride position with your feet apart, wider than your should width.
The drill aims to increase the pitcher’s arm rotation speed. Make three fast circles with your pitching arm, then release the ball on your third rotation. Your shoulder must be controlled and stay relaxed. This will help you release the ball with enough momentum.
After making a three rotations and executing a pitch, you can reduce it to two rotations, then a single rotation and a pitch.
FULL MOTION PITCHING DRILLS
Pitching Distance Drill – this drill is perfect for pitchers who need to practice control and improve their accuracy. Start at your designated line which is half of your usual distance from the catcher.
Throw a few strikes from this location, then back up to another line which is 10 feet behind your first distance. Repeat the drill and throw more strikes before you move back to your next pitching line.
Dummy Batter Drill - this includes a wood or cardboard cut-out of a batter to serve as a dummy. The drill is ideal for pitchers who are already knowledgeable about the mechanics of pitching and just want to make improvements on their aim and accuracy.
Create a line coming down from the dummy batter. The dummy will be your visual cue or your “bullseye”. This drill ensures safety, especially if you are practicing a new pitch. The batter stays safe from injuries while the pitcher is free to practice the necessaries.
These drills are useful for developing proper aim, improving accuracy and develop proper ball movement. Continue practicing these softball pitching drills to become consistent with your pitching styles. There are other pitching drills and exercises that players can try according to their skill level and knowledge.
Video from Youtube Sofballdrill channel