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A Pitching Drill for Speedy Thrills
By Cindy Bristow
Head Coach, Florida Wahoos, WPSL

Pitchers: How can you develop more speed?

I know you've asked yourself this question beforehaven't you? Don't worry, EVERY pitcher has, from Lisa Fernandez on the Olympic Team, to Desarie Knipfer on the Florida Wahoos (my team in the Women's Pro Softball League), down to other pitchers in your league. ALL pitchers want to throw faster. That's normal. What's tougher is to find out just how to do it.

Well, my next few articles will help you do just that. I'll teach you some simple concepts to help you throw faster and show you some simple drills that make it fun and easier to learn. So, if you're ready, let's go!

The first thing we need to do is understand the ONE thing that every pitcher must do in order to pitch faster. I know you've been told a million different things to think about while you're pitching; your hips, your stride, your arm, your front foot position, your back leg kick, TONS of different things. All of these may play a part in pitching, but none of them by themselves will make you throw faster. The one thing you must do in order to pitch the ball faster, is to move your hand faster when you let go of the ball. Period. That's it. I know that sounds too simple for most of you to believe it to be true, but think about this for a minute. What do you do when you're throwing overhand in order to throw faster? Do you worry about your hips, or your stride, or your back leg kick? No! You simply move your hand faster when you let go of the ball! It's that simple when you're pitching underhand, too. In this three-part series of articles, I'm going to help you learn to pitch faster by teaching you three fun and simple drills that help you move your hand faster when you let go of the ball.

Photo 1

Drop a softball into a plastic shopping bag

Photo 2

Grab the handles of the bag and pitch it!

The first drill is called the Bag Drill and is just thatpitching a bag. Well, actually it's pitching a bag with a ball in it. Take any kind of plastic shopping bag like you see in Photo 1, and drop a ball in the middle of it. Now, put your fingers through the holes of the bag, and then pitch the bag, just like you would if it were a ballPhoto 2. Now, it will probably go straight up the first time, a common occurrence with almost everyone who tries it. All you need to do is let go sooner. Remember that the faster your hand moves, the sooner you have to let go of the ball.

Try it again this time and let go sooner. Practice getting the right release point, and on feeling your hand go faster as you let go of the bag. What makes this drill helpful is the weight of the ball and the length of the bag, which create a momentum that forces your hand to go faster than it normally does. Practice this for a while
and I'll be back soon to help you with the second drill for more hand speed so you can pitch faster! Good luck!

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