Working with several fast pitch pitchers from the age of 10 to 15, the desire to pitch harder is always one of the first things that girls starting out are concerned with.
You watch college softball, and after every pitch, you see the MPH in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and wish that you could throw a consistent 60 to 70mph, right? You assume as a pitcher that if your velocity is increased, your strike out rate will increase along with it.
The problem with this line of thinking, is that so many girls are ultra worried about being fast and throwing as hard as possible, and end up with a ball that doesn’t move at all at the plate. The pitching is FLAT. Eventually, any decent hitter can time your speed. If they see you pitch enough, they will eventually be able to pick up on the ball and figure it out. You’ll notice in all levels of play, that girls start fouling off balls against the chicks who throw really hard and then eventually are able to hit one out of the park. Why? Because simply timing a pitch is an easy thing to do if you have a good hitter at the plate. Plus the faster it comes in – the faster it goes out.
What is difficult as a hitter is picking up balls that move.
Many girls have a natural movement to their pitching that isn’t necessarily brought about by changing grips or ball grasp. And these girls are dang near impossible to hit well as long as they keep the ball low and inside.
If your ball moves at the plate, diving either inside or outside or up or down, most hitters that connect will hit an easy ground ball out or pop-up. If you are just starting out with your pitching, you should initially make accuracy and movement a priority over speed. As you are able to throw more balls in the zone and increase your accuracy – your speed will begin to pick up as well.
Additionally, you should notice that some of the most dynamic and successful pitchers in travel ball are girls that may not throw the hardest – but throw balls into the zone that move. With accuracy and movement, you increase your strike out rate and reduce your earned runs because hitters are chasing strikes and not connecting well with the ball at the plate. This often times sets up easy infield outs.
As you practice pitching more and more, your velocity and speed will eventually pick up. Remember that in fastpitch, your pitching speed and ability to pitch harder, comes from your bottom half. Doing squats, lifting weights with your legs, and doing endurance exercises with your bottom half is the easiest way to increase your speed. Your arm movement should not change because with fast pitch – you aren’t really ‘throwing’ harder. Your power in fastpitch comes from your hips, legs and snap of the wrist as your center of energy lunches forward off of the pitching rubber. Running, doing squats, using rubber bands and resistance exercises to strengthen your lower half – are all easy things you can do in your own backyard to increase your speed over time.
Just remember, that as you are just starting out with pitching, movement and accuracy are the keys to being a successful pitcher. If you throw 40 – 45 MPH and are accurate with movement on your ball, chances are you will be successful off on the diamond.
This is a sponsored post by Pitch Harder, but all opinions belong to Softball is For Girls!