Softball is one of the innovative sports in American history. This sport is similar to baseball, yet with significant alterations. It is a team sport in which one player throws the ball to another player of the opposing team. The player holding the bat is called batter, while the one throwing the ball is called pitcher. The name of this sport originated from the name of the ball used in the game – the softball.
Pitching Techniques in Softball
Pitching the ball is not all about throwing it to the batter. The pitcher should know the techniques or proper mechanics on throwing the ball. There are two pitches that the pitcher should learn such as the slow pitch and the fast pitch. Obviously, these two mechanics differ in movement, speed and location. The location and arc are important in slow pitch technique and the speed is consistent.
In fast pitch, the success of the team depends on the performance of the pitcher. This technique involves complex motion and it requires various release points and grips for different pitches. To understand more about the different techniques and mechanics of softball you should read on this article.
Fast pitch Technique
The windmill method is commonly employed in fast pitch softball. It is known as underhand pitch in which the arm of the pitcher starts in front and swing back to complete a full circle before releasing the ball at hip level. This method is more on arm motion, yet the pitcher should do a long stride and generate power form the torso and legs. To ensure efficiency in performing the windmill, the pitcher should understand the proper shifting of weight and speed. All the movements should be in sync to achieve maximum accuracy and velocity.
Fundamentals of Fast Pitch Technique
- Grip – In fast pitch technique, the pitcher should employ the grip depending on how he would throw the ball. The grip of the ball also determines the direction and how the ball travels. In fast pitch softball, the pitcher usually employs four-seam grip that is firm yet not tight. The ball should not be held against the palm, but should be securely held in the fingers.
- Stance – Another basic position that a pitcher should learn is the stance. This position is very important before winding up. This position varies from one pitcher to another, yet each player should have comfortable and consistent stance. The stance also shows how the pitcher is presenting the ball. The proper position should be front leg straight and back leg slightly bent.
- Wind up – This fundamental motion is designed to increase momentum. Windup prepares the pitcher in throwing the ball. The pitcher should learn the different positions involve in windup in order to make a successful pitch. There are several arm motions that can be used in windup and the pitcher should work on it
The softball slow-pitch technique involves underhand pitching. The basic grip is the same with fast pitch, while the mechanics in slow pitch differ from the windmill pitch. This technique focuses on more gradual, slower movement.
Fundamentals of Slow-pitch Technique
- Grip – The four-seam grip is also used in slow-pitch technique particularly in overhand throw. The ball should be held by the fingers and not the palm. There should be space between the palm and the ball.
- Stance – Proper stance position should be learned by a pitcher. The impact of throwing the ball may depend on the stance. Likewise, the pitcher should be on a comfortable position while putting the weight on back foot.
- Windup – Knowing the proper windup position is significant in softball. Windup motion should not be whip-like, but it should be a semicircular, easy movement. The weight should be transferred to the front foot gradually.
Learning the basic techniques and mechanics in softball is useful for both beginners and even experienced players. In fact, even advanced pitchers sometimes do the wrong way of throwing the ball. For beginners, it is important to learn the right pitching motion while starting and develop the skills in order to achieve success.
With a lot of movements involved in softball, it can be confusing to learn them all outright. That is why players should take each step at a time and spend more time on practicing each step. To be an effective pitcher is not obtainable overtime; it would take many months or years. However, as long as you are determined to learn the pitching techniques, it would be easier to learn all the movements required in playing softball.
Good pitching requires learning and doing the right mechanics. It does not necessarily mean learning all of those at once. It should be a continuous learning process so that you can enhance your pitching skills. Knowing the fundamentals of softball is not enough for a player to become efficient at all times. It is important to practice more to improve the pitching skills.