Are you a parent, coach or a beginner who is looking for easy tips on pitching the fastpitch? Is the fastpitch softball technique proving to be a daunting task for you?
If that is the case, then this simplified step by step guide is yours. I understand how this can be confusing and that is why I have compiled the necessary steps. I believe that they’ll be significant for any beginner or a coach overseeing the training.
It is essential to understand that learning is a process and your success as a pitcher will demand dedication and consistency.
In this article, I’ll focus on the windmill pitch. It is the most common aspect of fastpitch that is a base for the mastery of other pitches. With the windmill, you will not only learn fastball but also get to quickly do the drop ball, the curve, the screwball, and a riser.
6 Tips guide on how to pitch the fastpitch softball for beginners
Here I outline in simple everyday terms, the six steps that form our tips to a successful pitching of fastpitch softball. Read through and try out and before long, you will be on your way to becoming a great fastpitch softball player.
Learn the grip
In my opinion, the best ball to use as a beginner is the four-seam ball. It is most suited to fastpitch strikes because of its incredible spin and speed.
An excellent grip of the ball will require you to have three things in mind:
- Where to place the first, middle and ring finger
- How to position your thumb
- Getting a finger curl.
Now, here is what you do.
Take the four-seam ball and find one of the “C”- like seams. Place three fingers on top. The ‘C’ should face out, away from you. The thumb should be in position, directly below the middle finger.
Let the small finger lightly touch the ball on the side. With your fingers securing the ball, curl them so that it is within the arc of your palm. The space left by the curl will significantly increase the spin.
Get the right stance
Getting the correct stance will dictate how fast you learn the fastpitch. On the rubber/ plate, stand with your feet close, parallel to your shoulder. Put your push-off foot on the rubber, right or left, depending on the hand you use to pitch.
Let your foot touch the front of the rubber and ensure your toe is pointed towards the rubber. Put the heel of the other foot just behind the rubber.
As a beginner, you get the best chance of a successful pitch by ensuring that the front foot is in the center rubber and the heel just touching it. The toes of the other leg(glove side) should contact the rubber but not go beyond.
Without shifting the position or weight of your body, hold the ball lightly in your hand, level to the chest. See to it that the shoulders remain relaxed and in their natural position.
Get the swing (windmill)
Now lift your arm (pitching arm) to be in line with your shoulder. This action starts the arm swing. Lift your push-off foot by the heel off the rubber. Your body weight now shifts to the other leg.
Meanwhile, drop your arm in a swing all the way to the back, parallel, in a way, to the ground. The motion is then reversed, swinging the arm in a forward motion and then up, completing a ‘circular’ move.
Your pitching arm should now be extended overhead ready for the pitch. At this point, turn your arm so that the ball faces away from the catcher. The glove-side arm should be pointing toward the catcher.
Take a step by pushing your left foot off the rubber. Open up your body while maintaining the balance by steadying your shoulders and ensuring your head does not drop or wobble.
Outstretch the glove side arm to increase stability and deliver extra strength into the strike. All the while, your front foot should be 90° from the catcher. You should aim at snapping the ball towards the catcher. Pull your arm down and then extend it toward the target.
Do not step backward or sideways as you release the ball. When the windmill motion is hip level, release the ball with a spin.
Generating Speed and spin
Just before you strike, snap your wrist forward in a jerking motion. This instantaneous movement helps you create speed, and the ball leaves the grip with a ferocious spin.
The ball is rolled as it gets released by the finger curl. One thing to note here is that you should not get out of step or the motion may disrupt trajectory and lead to a weak strike.
After you hit the strike, finishing becomes the last movement of the fastpitch softball using the windmill technique. It is often called the follow through. You are supposed to stay focused on the pitch till it lands.
When the strike hits the target, retract your arm, swinging it back towards yourself and rest it at chest level. It is advisable not to stop arm movement till it’s the chest. If you do, it may lead to muscle strain.
If you don’t generate enough speed and a better spin, retrace your steps paying attention to the grip and stance. Hold at the end.
As a bonus
The best way to handle the fastpitch technique is to have enough practice on the windmill motion. It is essential because it helps strengthen the hand muscles and gives you flexibility.
For a beginner, practicing using a fence or a wall offers a higher chance of doing as many exercises as possible. Whenever you want to have a go, ensure you have at least ten balls with you. More importantly, understand your body well.
You should know your strengths so that you utilize them. Furthermore, before getting onto the field, ensure you have warmed up properly. The muscles need to be entirely in shape to avoid unnecessary injury.
If you are learning fastpitch, you are on your way to becoming a softball great. I hope this guide makes you better.