Before we get into the best ways you might be able to improve your softball pitching accuracy, we will first inform you of the best way to pitch softballs. As I said above, softball players pitch in a specific way.
Like baseball, softball pitching mechanics has a completely different profile from other ball pitchings. Different pitchers from different leagues might have a unique way to pitch. Still, all of them put accuracy as something to keep in mind.
Softball pitchers might preach that speed or power will have to practice more. However, pitchers at bestbaseballreviews believe that accuracy is the most important aspect in softball pitching.
Basic Softball Pitching Mechanics To Improve Accuracy
For softball, their throwing mechanics are slightly different; however, the basis is the same for all softball players. Therefore, we have compiled a step-by-step guide that will hopefully teach you softball throwing mechanics.
The basic style of throwing a softball involves three easy steps:
- Getting A Good Grip
- The Full Pitch
- Follow Through
As you learn to pitch softball following our basic methods, be mindful of preventing injuries. We suggest that you practice with a coach as they know the correct pitching mechanics to avoid injuries.
Also, while you practice, ensure that you follow the steps safely until it becomes a habit. Since these are the basic steps following them will ensure that performance stays the best every time.
Getting A Good Grip
All baseball players and softball players know that the way you grip a softball determines its pitch. So different grips will mean different pitches, but first, you need to learn how to get a good grip on your softballs.
The basic way to get a softball grip is that most pitchers follow. First, the pitchers hold the ball around the U seam while facing the side with their dominant hand. Then, as they release the ball, pitchers will spin it top to bottom.
Additionally, once you have a good grip, you will also need to control the softball. For the best control of your softballs, you need to keep a firm grip and make sure that you don’t strain your wrist or forearm.
The Full Pitch
It might not make sense, but both baseball and softball pitchers should touch the ball to the glove. This helps pitchers to create both a rhythm and powerful pitches. In addition, it helps softball pitching mechanics by helping the pitchers save some energy before the wind-up.
Firstly, start with an arm rotation; while in rotation, the arm and the pitchers’ body need to move forward. In addition, the arm needs to be straight during the rotation to avoid injury, and elbows shouldn’t lock.
Also, the wrist needs to be straight and back during the downswing for a snapping effect at release. Finally, we have the release where the palm should be facing up, and the pitcher should let go of the ball when the hand reaches the side.
Once the pitcher lets go of the ball, they aren’t done yet since they need to keep the arm in motion for the follow through. For the pitch follow through, accurate legwork and footwork are necessary.
Additionally, pitchers also need to keep in mind that their head, body, and arm must remain straight. This is so that they can prevent injuries to their body and arm. Moreover, follow throughs helps pitchers keep their pitches consistent, and practicing them will improve your performance.
How to Improve Softball Pitching Accuracy?
Now that young and experienced softball players learned about the correct method for pitching, we will inform you of the best ways to improve pitching accuracy. Of course, the obvious way to do so is to practice more, but you need to do drills for the best results.
There are a number of pitching drills in both baseball and softball, and each helps a pitcher differently. This article will mention some of the best softball pitching drills to improve your accuracy, speed, and distance.
Firstly we have the 20-4 drill, which is meant to help pitchers with their accuracy as well as control of the ball. It also goes by the name 10-3 drill by youth softball pitchers. Its effectiveness increases once paired with the Dummy Batter drill mentioned later.
To start, a pitcher needs to stand the full pitching distance or closer if they aren’t that skilled yet. The main aim of the drill is for the pitcher to pitch 20 strikes before they get 4 balls. If they get 4 balls before the strikes, the pitcher needs to start from the beginning.
This drill has no time limit, so the pitcher can concentrate more on the accuracy, aim, technique, speed, or endurance. Also, pitchers can do this drill to improve their new pitches. However, the exercise is rather repetitive, so watch out for fatigue.
Hit The Bucket
Secondly, we have the hit the bucket drill, which increases the pitchers’ accuracy and infielders’ footwork. For this drill, the team will be divided into two groups, one at the shortstop and the other at the second base.
The pitcher will pitch to the at-bat, where the coach will be standing. The coach will then hit the grounder to the bases. Next, players of the two teams will stand behind a marked line, and players will take turns fielding and throwing them to the two buckets at the home plate.
If a player gets the ball without a bounce, the team gets two points and, with a bounce, gets one point. The team that gets 10 or more points first wins. This drill will help the pitcher learn to accurately throw the ball in different manners as per the coach’s instruction.
The Dummy Batter
This drill is meant for pitchers already knowledgeable about pitching and know the throwing mechanism well. The drill will require a cardboard or wood cutout with a line in front of it that won’t fly of due to wind.
Using the line as a bullseye, the pitcher can easily learn different pitches without worrying about injuring a batter. This drill is a standard drill that helps with accuracy and aim and is even better paired with the 20-4 drill.
A distance drill can be of great help for softball pitchers who want to improve their pitching accuracy. The idea behind the distance drills is rather simple. The pitcher is to throw strikes at the catcher from a starting position and move further back as time goes on.
The purpose behind this drill is to help pitchers become more consistent with their pitches by getting into the correct form. As the distance increases between the pitcher and catcher, there are a few areas that pitchers should work on to improve their accuracy.
Firstly the pitchers need to take longer strides. The reason behind this is that a longer stride leads to more power but also more control. Secondly, they should take their time with their downward swing as this is the time when the pitch is released.
As they are making the swing, pitchers should be more capable of releasing the ball accurately. Finally, they should make a fast flick with their wrist as they release for a better speed and a more accurate pitch.
Kneeling Partner Drill
This is instead a fun and straightforward drill that only requires two players. Both players need to kneel and wear their gloves with one ball. The distance between the two players will be decided by their coach. This distance can increase or decrease depending on their performance or the coach’s instruction.
The drill requires the players to constantly pitch to one another at set distances. As long as the players keep their form, it’s considered a good pitch. The scoring system goes like this:
- One point: Extend their arm
- Two points: Lifts a knee
- Three points: Catcher fails to catch the pitch
The goal of the drill is to keep their score under five points. Also, players need to keep track of the number of pitches caught before getting five points. Players should alternate between pitching and catching.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
How fast should a youth softball pitcher throw?
The average speed of a female softball pitcher is about 77 mph or 124 km/h and for a male softball pitcher is around 105 mph or 169km/h.
How to increase arm rotation in softball?
Many arm strengthening exercises are great for softball and baseball players. Here are some that we found to help the most:
- The No Money
- The Arm Band Pull Apart
- The Sword Pull
- The External Rotation
How far away is a pitching mound in softball?
The distance between the softball mound and at bat for 14 and under is 40 feet. For 15 and up, a softball pitching mound is 43 feet away. There is a difference between baseball and softball such as mound distance and others.
How to get more power in softball pitch?
The best way to increase your pitching power is to do arm and rotation exercises. Also, do more weight lifting and flexibility training. Finally, improve your stance and pitching rhythm. There is a difference between softball and baseball gloves so you can get more pitch power with baseball and softball gloves.
There are no shortcuts to improve your pitching accuracy for softball; the same is true for baseball. In our article, we went through a number of drills that, if you follow properly, will show an increase in accuracy, speed, and control.
However, you need to do more than anything else to practice and play as much as you can as often as you can. As the great Derek Jeter once said,…there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.