Softball Pitching Drills - Hands-on Guide - International Softball (2024)

Table of Contents

Warm-up Drills

Warm-ups are a must for any pitcher! They don’t just help get your body ready for the hard work of pitching, but also help create better throwing techniques. In this guide, we’ll look at some warm-up drills for softball pitchers. See how they can boost your playing skills!

Arm circles

Arm circles are essential in any warm-up. They help stabilize pitching motion and focus on refining technique. They loosen up the shoulder area and strengthen small muscles with precise movements.

Start by pulling your shoulders down, spine straight, arms at sides and palms down. Take deep breaths and relax your muscles.

Do 5-10 reps each way: forwards, backwards and side-to-side. Next, larger and smaller circles (15 secs each). Increase rotation speed. Drop elbows and deepen circle radius, doing this periodically during practice.

**Pro tip**: Coordinate arm circles while hopping on one foot or both feet – this enhances coordination between arms/legs when producing power.

Shoulder rolls

Do warm-up drills for softball pitching. Shoulder rolls are a great start. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Arms up to chest level. Roll your shoulders forward and then back. Keep your arms loose and relaxed. Do this on both sides until you feel limber. Then, move on to more advanced exercises.

Windmills

Windmills are great for softball pitchers looking to get better! This drill builds proper pitching mechanics and can be used by pitchers of any experience level.

Core Strength Drills

Proper pitching technique and core strength are must-haves for mastering softball pitching. Core strength drills are crafted to help pitchers increase power, accuracy, and speed. This guide provides hands-on instructions so that pitchers of all levels can better their core strength, control, and trajectory.

Medicine ball throws

Core strength is key for pitching performance. Medicine ball throws are a great way to build it up. The same body parts used in pitching are engaged when throwing a medicine ball: hips, chest, arms, and shoulders. You can adjust the size and weight of the medicine ball to your skill level.

Here are three drills:

Do 10 sets each leg with 1 minute rest between sets. For extra power, add bridges, planks, or sit ups.

Plank holds

Plank holds are a great drill for softball pitchers to boost core strength. This exercise will help improve stability, posture, and balance while pitching.

To do a plank hold, start in a push-up position. Put your palms on the ground and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Make sure your body is straight from head to feet and back is not arched or sagging. Engage your abs by pulling your navel towards your spine and shoulder blades together. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds or as long as you can keep the form.

To make it harder, increase the duration or use hands held ab sliders. Also add trunk flexion/extension exercises like

. Lastly try side planks with single arm reaches and oblique twists for further multiplanar movement development.

Wall sits

Wall sits are a great core strength drill to help build energy and power for softball pitching. Slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Do up to three sets, with 60 seconds rest between each set. For added resistance, hold a weight or medicine ball in front of your chest.

Wall sits have many benefits:

This is great for increasing flexibility for softball pitching delivery.

Pitching Drills

Softball pitching drills are essential for success! These drills help players of all ages and abilities. Drill correctly to boost arm strength, accuracy, power, and control. Let’s delve into a few of the most popular softball pitching drills. Learn how to execute them precisely:

Balance drills

Balance drills are must-have for any softball pitcher. They help the body to stay balanced when throwing a pitch. This helps with accuracy, speed and power. Balance drills may seem difficult at first. But once you get the basics, it will give your pitching game an edge.

Start by facing away from the pitching rub. Imagine a line from your feet to home plate. Spread your feet to be shoulder width apart. Step back slightly with one foot. Make sure your weight is even in both feet. Rock back into each foot until you feel level. Point one arm out in front. Keep that hand parallel. Rotate through the pitch delivery. You may lean off balance. If so, stop and reset.

Repeat the drill until it’s comfortable. When you’re balanced, move to an overhead position. Use a weighted ball or medicine ball. Partner drills can also help. Have someone hold a shield to create resistance. These drills will increase muscle memory and create consistency.

Pitching from the stretch

Pitching from the stretch is an essential skill for all pitchers. It provides control in crucial game situations. Weight should be directed towards the power line, as this will help with accuracy.

It’s important to get the balance between weight transfer and arm speed right. If the pitcher throws too quickly without enough weight transfer, the pitch will go off target. Too much weight transfer will mean not enough force behind the pitch, making accuracy suffer.

Arm position should focus on reducing distance from glove to target. This will reduce delayed movements, giving more accurate delivery.

The following drills can help with pitching from the stretch:

Change-up drills

Change-ups surprise or fool batters and give an edge in a game. To practice these pitches, control arm speed and ensure mechanics look like throwing a fastball. Try these drills to help learn change-up mechanics:

Follow-Through Drills

Perfecting your softball pitching motion? Follow-through drills will help! They allow for your body to finish the motion. Result? More velocity and accuracy!

To improve power and accuracy, work on your mechanics. Here are some drills you can use:

High-leg kick

High-leg kick drills are key for any softball pitcher. They help with timing, muscle control and add speed to a pitch.

To do this drill, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Shift body weight onto the balls of the feet. Keep legs rigid and arms relaxed. Raise the leg in a fluid motion, as if in an actual pitch, until parallel to the ground. The trailing leg should stay bent at the knee. Hold this position for 1–3 seconds.

Slowly lower the leg, maintaining the same distance between it and the leading foot. No shifting forward or backward. Return to starting position – each repetition should take 2–3 seconds. Throughout, keep eyes focused on a target ahead. Maintain good posture, no bending at waist or bottom out in back foot during kick.

At first, these drills may be hard for some softball pitchers. With practice, they will become easier and help maximize control over velocity and accuracy.

Arm extension

Arm extension is essential for successful pitching. Keep your arm out till the ball is released for extra power. Smooth release creates speed, height and movement for effectiveness.

When practicing the drill, stand tall and wind up. Keep your arm relaxed and far from your body. Push through with elbow joint until full extension is achieved and snap your wrist down for whip action.

Practice slowly to embed the mechanics into muscle memory. This will make it second nature for games!

Follow-through drill

Follow-through is key in any pitch. It should be a smooth, comfortable motion that releases the ball’s full power. Try this drill to improve follow-through accuracy and smoothness:

Cool Down Drills

Pitching practice done? Time to cool down the arm! Cooling down drills decrease soreness, fatigue and boost flexibility. Here are some cool down drills to use post-pitching session. Give them a go!

Arm circles

Arm circles are great after intense softball throwing drills. They loosen the shoulder and get the blood flowing. Stretch and rotate arms in both directions. Stand with feet apart and arms at 90-degrees. Make big, slow circles with each arm. Rotate outward, then inward. Do 10-15 full loops of each arm in clockwise and counterclockwise directions. Control and maintain same speed throughout the motion.

Arm swings are also effective for cool down. Hold one or two light medicine balls at chest level. Spread feet apart in an athletic stance. Swing arms from side to side. This stretches shoulder muscles and helps them move freely when you throw. Repeat 15 times before transitioning into other cool down exercises such as shoulder shrugs and hip circles.

Shoulder rolls

Shoulder rolls are essential after softball pitching sessions. They can help ease tension in the rotator cuff, reduce soreness and give more freedom in the shoulder joint.

Start by standing with your arms down and palms inwards. Move both shoulders in circles: one clockwise, one counter-clockwise. Keep a steady tempo, doing 10-15 reps.

Take a few moments to stretch your arms, shoulders, pecs and traps. Then do the drill two more times with moderate intensity. This will get everything ready for your next practice or game!

Windmills

Windmill drills are great for arm strength, technique and pitching velocity. The aim is to throw with power, accuracy and consistency, while keeping good control and balance. Windmill drills help with key fundamentals like using core muscles, arm motion follow-through and form.

Do 10 rotations at your own pace. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and do an exaggerated windmill motion with your arms. Keep your form throughout. Repeat this ten times. To up the intensity, add weight to your arms or speed up each set of 10.

When doing a windmill drill, focus on body position:

For the release position:

Use these tips for successful softball pitching drills!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some basic softball pitching drills?

A: Some basic softball pitching drills include the “balance point,” “arm circle,” “toe touch,” and “leg kick” drills. These drills help to develop proper mechanics, accuracy, and power when throwing a pitch.

Q: How often should I practice these drills?

A: It is recommended to practice softball pitching drills at least three times a week. This helps to ensure that the muscles used in pitching stay tuned and develop over time.

Q: How can I improve my pitching accuracy?

A: Improving your pitching accuracy requires a combination of proper mechanics and practice. Make sure you are using the correct form when throwing and practice frequently to build muscle memory and accuracy.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a vast amount of information on various topics. While I have personal experiences or opinions, I can provide you with factual information based on search results. Here is some information related to the concepts mentioned in this article:

Warm-up Drills

Warm-up drills are essential for any pitcher, as they help prepare the body for the physical demands of pitching and improve throwing techniques. Some common warm-up drills for softball pitchers include:

  1. Arm circles: Arm circles help stabilize pitching motion and refine technique. They involve pulling the shoulders down, keeping the spine straight, and performing circular movements with the arms. This exercise loosens up the shoulder area and strengthens small muscles. It is recommended to perform 5-10 reps in different directions, such as forwards, backwards, and side-to-side [[1]].

  2. Shoulder rolls: Shoulder rolls are a great way to warm up the shoulder muscles. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and roll the shoulders forward and backward. This exercise helps loosen up the shoulder joint and promotes flexibility. It is important to keep the arms loose and relaxed during the movement [[2]].

  3. Windmills: Windmills are a drill that focuses on building proper pitching mechanics. This exercise can be used by pitchers of any experience level. To perform windmills, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and make exaggerated circular motions with the arms, mimicking the windmill motion. This drill helps develop core strength and improves pitching technique [[3]].

Core Strength Drills

Core strength is crucial for mastering softball pitching. It helps pitchers increase power, accuracy, and speed. Here are a few core strength drills that can benefit softball pitchers:

  1. Medicine ball throws: Medicine ball throws engage the same body parts used in pitching, such as the hips, chest, arms, and shoulders. This drill helps build core strength and can be adjusted to different skill levels by varying the size and weight of the medicine ball. It is recommended to perform 10 sets on each leg with a 1-minute rest between sets. Additional exercises like bridges, planks, or sit-ups can be added for extra power [[4]].

  2. Plank holds: Plank holds are an effective drill for boosting core strength. To perform a plank hold, start in a push-up position with palms on the ground and knees bent at 90 degrees. Keep the body straight from head to feet and engage the abs by pulling the navel towards the spine. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds, or as long as you can maintain proper form. This exercise improves stability, posture, and balance while pitching [[5]].

  3. Wall sits: Wall sits are a core strength drill that helps build energy and power for softball pitching. To perform wall sits, slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat for up to three sets with a 60-second rest between each set. For added resistance, you can hold a weight or medicine ball in front of your chest. Wall sits also increase flexibility for pitching delivery [[6]].

Pitching Drills

Pitching drills are essential for success in softball. They help improve arm strength, accuracy, power, and control. Here are a few popular pitching drills:

  1. Balance drills: Balance drills help pitchers stay balanced during the pitching motion, which improves accuracy, speed, and power. These drills involve maintaining proper body alignment and weight distribution. One example is the "balance point" drill, where pitchers face away from the pitching rubber, spread their feet shoulder-width apart, and rock back into each foot until they feel level. This drill helps develop muscle memory and consistency [[7]].

  2. Pitching from the stretch: Pitching from the stretch is an essential skill for all pitchers, as it provides control in crucial game situations. This drill focuses on weight transfer, arm speed, and reducing distance from the glove to the target. It is important to find the right balance between weight transfer and arm speed to maintain accuracy. Various drills can help pitchers improve their performance from the stretch [[8]].

  3. Change-up drills: Change-ups are pitches that surprise or fool batters. To practice change-ups, pitchers need to control arm speed and ensure that their mechanics resemble throwing a fastball. There are various drills available to help pitchers learn change-up mechanics and improve their effectiveness in games [[9]].

Follow-Through Drills

Follow-through drills are important for maximizing velocity and accuracy in softball pitching. These drills allow the body to finish the pitching motion smoothly. Here is an example of a follow-through drill:

  1. Follow-through drill: The follow-through is a smooth, comfortable motion that releases the ball's full power. To improve follow-through accuracy and smoothness, pitchers can practice a drill that focuses on mechanics. This drill helps increase power and accuracy. It is important to work on the mechanics of the follow-through to embed them into muscle memory [[10]].

Cool Down Drills

After pitching practice, it is important to cool down the arm to decrease soreness, fatigue, and boost flexibility. Here are a few cool down drills:

  1. Arm circles: Arm circles are a great cool down exercise after intense softball throwing drills. They help loosen the shoulder and promote blood flow. Stand with feet apart and arms at 90 degrees. Make big, slow circles with each arm in clockwise and counterclockwise directions. Control the speed throughout the motion and maintain the same speed for each arm [[11]].

  2. Shoulder rolls: Shoulder rolls are essential for reducing tension in the rotator cuff, reducing soreness, and increasing freedom of movement in the shoulder joint. Stand with arms down and palms inwards. Move both shoulders in circles, one clockwise and one counterclockwise. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times with a steady tempo [[12]].

  3. Windmills: Windmill drills are effective for cooling down the arm and improving arm strength, technique, and pitching velocity. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and perform exaggerated windmill motions with the arms. Keep the form throughout the exercise and repeat the motion 10 times. Adding weight to the arms or increasing speed can increase the intensity of the drill [[13]].

I hope this information helps you understand the concepts mentioned in the article. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

Softball Pitching Drills - Hands-on Guide - International Softball (2024)
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