After the first blog about the basics of pitching this time I will explain the exercise I showed you and we move along to the actual pitch. As this blog is written online and I can't see you try out the exercises I need to tell you which details to look for in general. Make sure you realize you might be doing things right or wrong that I do not mention, so always keep thinking and feeling when you pitch :)
The exercise from last time, quite often called the half circle drill, is the base of the windmill pitch. I told you to just try it, and if you did, you probably found out that you can't just put up your arms and drop them straight in order to pitch a fastball. If you would, you hit your own body, which kinda hurts! So in order to pitch a fastball, you need to create room for your pitching arm to rotate. In order to do that, you move both of your hands a little bit out of the plane of you body and in front of yourself. A small test to see if you are doing it right is to look straight forward and make sure you can see the ball and your glove in the corner of your eyes. From that position you now drop your arms. Does it make it easier now to create the straight fastball spin?
Taking a closer look at the exercise above an important fact about the windmill pitch showed up. In softball pitching the movement of the pitching arm is called the arm circle. A circle, that is about right, but not quite. When you just stand still and rotate one arm around from the front to the back , you do make an actual circle. When you pitch though, the main part of the pitch takes place in a sideways position with your arm rotating in front of your body. Now stand still and try to make a circle in front of your body. Do you feel the difference with the front to back circle? Well that is why we call it an arm circle, but it actually is more of an oval shape you create with your hand.
Okay, moving on! Let's try to use this arm oval into practice by a new drill.
Just like the last drill, you face the wall/screen/catcher with your glove side, but this time you start with your hands hanging down. Make sure you are in an athletic position, so bend your knees a little and be ready to push off!
While pushing of with your back leg/foot, you move your arms alongside your body into almost a "dab" position. Hold that postion for a second to make sure you are still in a sideways postion, then execute the rest of the windmill and spin that ball at the finish.
Once you tried this exercise you might find that it is not easy to pitch a fastball from this position. That is right and will stay right even after a few years it will still feel a bit awkward because you can't really move smoothly with your arm rotating like that. But a nice tip, watch what your glove side does, as long as that stays in line, your body will follow.
Another very important aspect of a pitcher: the glove. It is designed to catch and field balls, but pitchers need the glove for balance and as an external focus point in learning how to pitch. I am not going into detail about this as we focus on the pitching arm for now, but you will notice the glove will be an important factor throughout the blog once we have mastered the pitching arm movement.
Two blogs about the basics of pitching. The next blogs will go more into details of advanced pitching because I would like to provide some information for all kinds of pitchers. Note that pitching is not something you learn in just a few months, it takes years. The basics are always going to come back, it is still part of my everyday pitching, and will always be. So stay focused, find small progress and learning point each day you pitch and stay excited about it. As the next blogs go into more advanced information please be aware of your own level, age, experience and take whatever you think you need to enhance your pitching, in a balanced way.
Oh and last thing, I will be posting every two weeks. See you in two weeks!