Many people think that softball is a game that is for the hitters only but that simply is not true. Fielding and pitching can make a huge difference in the outcome of a game if done properly. Sure when a softball is pitched it comes at the batter slow which in turn gives them a distinct hitting advantage but there is a lot a good pitcher can do to throw the timing of the batter off even when it’s pitched slowly. You think you want to be a softball pitcher? Well here are some tips on how to pitch a softball effectively.
So how does a slow pitch softball pitcher throw off the timing of a big strong batter that if they connect solidly they will knock the softball way out of the park? The answer might just surprise you. It’s done using a series of techniques such as spinning the ball to make it move left or right (a curve or screwball this would be called in baseball), adjusting the trajectory of the angle the ball comes down to the batter (arc) and also by varying the speed of the pitch so it drops short of the batter or goes deeper on them.
SOFTBALL PITCHING MECHANICS
Before you can get creative at slow-pitching a softball you must first have the proper mechanics of pitching down. Throwing a softball underhand may look easy but it takes a lot more skill than you can imagine.
Keep in mind when pitching in slow-pitch softball:
- Start with the heels of both feet on the pitcher’s mound rubber.
- Hold the ball in your glove at your throwing arm hip.
- As you start to pitch bend your hips and lower your hands with the ball still in your glove as you also move your hands slightly backward.
- As your glove goes further back take the softball out of it and continue to move your throwing hand backward just slightly.
- Next, you will begin your forward motion. When you do this put your glove hand straight out in front of you for balance first and then bring your throwing hand forward in an underarm style.
- At the same time, you begin moving your throwing arm forward you will take a step forward with your foot on your non-throwing side. This will help create some momentum to pitch the ball far enough to reach home plate with the softball.
- As you are moving your arm forward it helps to keep it at about the height of your hip.
- When the ball passes your body and starts to get in front of it about 8 – 12 inches then release the ball.
- Even after the ball is released you should still follow through with the underarm motion; this will give you increased control over your pitches.
Important safety note:
Playing pitcher in slow-pitch softball is not for everyone and has its risks. It is somewhat dangerous because of the way balls get hit back toward you at very high speeds that give you only a little time to react. That is why it is SUPER IMPORTANT to finish your pitch by assuming an immediate defensive fielding position. This will help you keep safe.
HOW TO PITCH A SOFTBALL TO TAKE AWAY THE HITTER’S ADVANTAGE
Now that you know how to pitch a ball it is time to learn some things you can work on to make it more difficult for the hitters in the game of slow-pitch softball.
Here are the things that many good slow-pitch softball pitchers do that helps to throw a batter’s critical pitch timing off:
Release point is important because it controls how far a slow-pitched softball travels. You can throw a batter off by releasing the pitch early to drop the ball and make a batter lunge or release it late so the ball stays up a little higher as it passes the batter.
Believe it or not, slow-pitch softballs can be made to move by using spin. Spin is achieved by using different combinations of grips and hand movements. This works differently for each person so it is something that just has to be worked on with practice to do it in a way that works for you.
Some people confuse arc with release point but they are really two totally different things. Arc has to do with how high you throw the ball up in the air to make it come down across that batter at different angles. You can use the same release point to throw pitches with a different arc.
Keep in mind that many slow-pitch softball leagues have a height limit on how high you can throw the ball up in the air before it starts to come down to the batter. The best pitchers continually throw the ball up near this height limit. Arc makes it difficult for a batter to judge when the softball is at a flat point in front of them which is ideal for hitting.
You may also like best ASA softball bats!
PRACTICE YOUR PITCHING AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN
Most pitchers will tell you that their best pitches are self-taught. So you need to experiment using a combination of different grips, arcs, release points and hand movements to create pitches that are effective for your pitching style. Once you do this you will be amazed how important you become to your team’s success as you improve your pitching.