Softball Drills

Best Softball Drills for Pitchers

Softball pitching drills are necessary exercises designed to enable pitchers to master the individual motions of each pitch before putting all the motions together into a singular and cohesively fluid pitch.

When a pitcher understands the micro-movements and minute details of the pitches they are engaging in, they are able to fully master the complexity of movement involved and be able to execute pitches with agility, speed, accuracy, and consistency.  Read on to learn about the best and most effective softball pitching drills practiced by players today.

Circle Speed Drill:

softballThis softball pitch drill is practiced to improve the rotation speed of a pitcher’s arm with the aim of creating throws with increased power and speed control.   Proper form is imperative in this drill.  The softball pitcher must stand with their feet slightly wider than shoulder width and be in a stride position.

With the pitching arm, three rapid circles will be made, and the ball will be released on the third circular motion.  During this exercise, the shoulder should remain relaxed while also maintaining a degree of control.  When properly executed, this softball pitching drill will help pitchers release their pitches with increased momentum, speed, and force.

Arm Swing Drills:

While the Circle Speed Throw utilizes the feet in addition to arm rotation, the Arm Swing softball pitching drill focuses solely on speed and relies only on arm rotation.  Arm Swing drills consist of practiced Wall Throws, where a pitcher stands as closely to a wall as they can, and pitches in a hard and fast motion into the wall.  This drill does not use a regular ball; instead, a softie is used.

Despite the speed of the pitches, the intent of this exercise is increasing power, which inevitably results in more speed.  After completing a series of pitches close to the wall, the pitcher will move backward a bit and continue pitching into the wall, all the while focusing on power and momentum while throwing the softie as hard as possible.  With enough practice, the pitcher will be able to deliver powerful pitches next to the wall and away from the wall as well.

Pitching Distance Drill:

catcherThe Pitching Distance softball pitchingdrill is a tried and true exercise to help pitchers improve their levels of control and accuracy.  This pitching drillrequires the pitcher to engage with the catcher throughout the exercise.

The catcher is situated at home plate while the pitcher is in a designated locale, perhaps about half the normal pitching distance from the catcher.  The pitcher will proceed to throw a series of strikes to the catcher, at which point they will move back 10 or more feet and repeat the drill. From this further distance, the pitcher will throw a series of more strikes and then proceed to move further back.

While the pitching distances can vary, in general, the distances should commence at roughly about halfway between the normal pitching distance and end at nearly double the pitcher’s typical pitching distance.  Throughout the exercise, an emphasis is placed on maintaining consistent form regardless of the distance length from the catcher.

The softball pitcher will implement the appropriate amounts of power needed at the various pitching distances and learn to facilitate control, momentum, and increased pitch power.  It should be noted that the pitchers who are located further outshould be taking longer strides, exerting more control in the final downswing, and giving a marked flick of the wrist at the point of release in the pitch.

Walk-Up Drill:

The Walk-Up drill begins with the softball pitcher firston the mound; they only get one step onto the mound before the first pitch.Next, they will take a step onto the mound as they are presenting the ball, and then they prepare to throw a pitch.  The pitcher should be taking aggressive and long strides which helps them to extend their pitching range and gain momentum.

Full Motion Pitching Drill:

home plateAlso known as the Dummy Batter drill, the full motion softball pitching drill utilizes a constructed wood or cardboard “dummy” cutout of a batter at home plate.

The dummy batter should have a line drawn in front of it, which the pitcher will use a bullseye style aiming mechanism.  Using the line like a bullseye enables pitchers to improve the consistency and accuracy of their aim, in addition, to help increase the number of strikes they throw.

Softball pitchers are able to further utilize the line on the dummy to experiment with a variety of pitch styles and expand their level of expertise in throwing various pitches.

This softball pitching drill is a unique and effective way for pitchers to not only improve the accuracy and aim of their pitches but also to learn new pitches such as screw, drop, rise, and curve safely without putting batters in harm’s way.  The presence of the dummy batter helps the pitcher to learn consistency through the repetitive practicing of their pitching drills.

20-4 Drill:

youth softballThe 20-4 drill is also known as the 10-3 drill for younger players and youth softball.  Like many of the other pitching drills, this drill focuses on ball control in addition to strike accuracy.  Pitchers can practice this drill by starting at the normal pitching distance, a bit closer to home plate, or even at the halfway mark between the mound and the plate.

Instead of focusing on the element of speed, accuracy is the reigning feature of this pitching drill.  As a result, pitchers are often encouraged to execute slower pitches, with a general recommendation of pitchesbeing released at roughly 60% of the pitcher’s normal pitching speed.  The rationale behind the slowing down of the pitches is because the drill is so highly repetitive, with faster pitches being executed that have very little downtime between pitches.

The goal of this softball pitchingdrill is for pitchers to pitch 20 strikes after every 4 balls that are pitched.  In this “game,” if the softball pitcher gets the fourth ball before obtaining the 20 strikes, they have to start the drill/game all over again.  Due to the highly repetitive nature of this softball pitchingdrill, it is very easy for pitchers to get overworked and tired, so it is imperative to watch the pitcher for signs of fatigue carefully.

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