Warm-ups are a must for any pitcher! They don’t just help get your body ready for the hard work of pitching, but also help create better throwing techniques. In this guide, we’ll look at some warm-up drills for softball pitchers. See how they can boost your playing skills!
Arm circles are essential in any warm-up. They help stabilize pitching motion and focus on refining technique. They loosen up the shoulder area and strengthen small muscles with precise movements.
Start by pulling your shoulders down, spine straight, arms at sides and palms down. Take deep breaths and relax your muscles.
Do 5-10 reps each way: forwards, backwards and side-to-side. Next, larger and smaller circles (15 secs each). Increase rotation speed. Drop elbows and deepen circle radius, doing this periodically during practice.
**Pro tip**: Coordinate arm circles while hopping on one foot or both feet – this enhances coordination between arms/legs when producing power.
Do warm-up drills for softball pitching. Shoulder rolls are a great start. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Arms up to chest level. Roll your shoulders forward and then back. Keep your arms loose and relaxed. Do this on both sides until you feel limber. Then, move on to more advanced exercises.
Windmills are great for softball pitchers looking to get better! This drill builds proper pitching mechanics and can be used by pitchers of any experience level.
- Start with a triangle stance, with the weight slightly forward on the front foot. Bend at the waist and lift arms up to shoulder-height. The front upper arm should be close to the chest, with the elbow bent outward.
- Now, extend and contract the arms in circular motions – like slicing a pizza! Each time, roll through the shoulders, hips, elbows and wrists. Keep momentum going and deepen stretches as you go.
- Remember to breathe out deeply on the extension movements. Do this until you reach the desired number of repetitions or seconds set by the trainer/coach.
Core Strength Drills
Proper pitching technique and core strength are must-haves for mastering softball pitching. Core strength drills are crafted to help pitchers increase power, accuracy, and speed. This guide provides hands-on instructions so that pitchers of all levels can better their core strength, control, and trajectory.
Medicine ball throws
Core strength is key for pitching performance. Medicine ball throws are a great way to build it up. The same body parts used in pitching are engaged when throwing a medicine ball: hips, chest, arms, and shoulders. You can adjust the size and weight of the medicine ball to your skill level.
Here are three drills:
- Russian twists: Sit with legs in front. Hold medicine ball with both hands. Twist torso side-to-side, like a yo-yo.
- Shoulder pass: Stand hip-width apart, knees bent. Throw medicine ball from one shoulder to the other over head. Use proper technique.
- Overhead tricep extension: Clench medicine ball in one hand. Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended overhead. Lower down until elbows bend slightly. Extend back up.
Do 10 sets each leg with 1 minute rest between sets. For extra power, add bridges, planks, or sit ups.
Plank holds are a great drill for softball pitchers to boost core strength. This exercise will help improve stability, posture, and balance while pitching.
To do a plank hold, start in a push-up position. Put your palms on the ground and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Make sure your body is straight from head to feet and back is not arched or sagging. Engage your abs by pulling your navel towards your spine and shoulder blades together. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds or as long as you can keep the form.
To make it harder, increase the duration or use hands held ab sliders. Also add trunk flexion/extension exercises like
- scissor kicks,
- cycling knee/elbows,
- or slow ‘push-ups’
. Lastly try side planks with single arm reaches and oblique twists for further multiplanar movement development.
Wall sits are a great core strength drill to help build energy and power for softball pitching. Slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Do up to three sets, with 60 seconds rest between each set. For added resistance, hold a weight or medicine ball in front of your chest.
Wall sits have many benefits:
- no extra equipment needed
- can be done anywhere with a wall
- targets the hip flexors
This is great for increasing flexibility for softball pitching delivery.
Softball pitching drills are essential for success! These drills help players of all ages and abilities. Drill correctly to boost arm strength, accuracy, power, and control. Let’s delve into a few of the most popular softball pitching drills. Learn how to execute them precisely:
Balance drills are must-have for any softball pitcher. They help the body to stay balanced when throwing a pitch. This helps with accuracy, speed and power. Balance drills may seem difficult at first. But once you get the basics, it will give your pitching game an edge.
Start by facing away from the pitching rub. Imagine a line from your feet to home plate. Spread your feet to be shoulder width apart. Step back slightly with one foot. Make sure your weight is even in both feet. Rock back into each foot until you feel level. Point one arm out in front. Keep that hand parallel. Rotate through the pitch delivery. You may lean off balance. If so, stop and reset.
Repeat the drill until it’s comfortable. When you’re balanced, move to an overhead position. Use a weighted ball or medicine ball. Partner drills can also help. Have someone hold a shield to create resistance. These drills will increase muscle memory and create consistency.
Pitching from the stretch
Pitching from the stretch is an essential skill for all pitchers. It provides control in crucial game situations. Weight should be directed towards the power line, as this will help with accuracy.
It’s important to get the balance between weight transfer and arm speed right. If the pitcher throws too quickly without enough weight transfer, the pitch will go off target. Too much weight transfer will mean not enough force behind the pitch, making accuracy suffer.
Arm position should focus on reducing distance from glove to target. This will reduce delayed movements, giving more accurate delivery.
The following drills can help with pitching from the stretch:
- Front-Toss Drill: Feet must be balanced with the pivot foot closing shut after release. One or two hands can be used on the glove.
- Crossfire Drill: Vary the footwork to keep momentum without crossing. Chest should stay centered towards target while stretching towards the plate. Transfer energy back through centerline upon release.
- Single Hand Drill: Vary the release point. Work on transferring weight forward with quick hip rotation to maximize power.
Change-ups surprise or fool batters and give an edge in a game. To practice these pitches, control arm speed and ensure mechanics look like throwing a fastball. Try these drills to help learn change-up mechanics:
- Balance-board Drill: Stand on one leg when delivering change-up. Learn balance throughout the wind-up.
- Body Mirror Drill: Stand opposite a coach or teammate and mimic each other’s actions. Observe key points like stride length and arm action.
- Long Toss: Start at 30 feet away. Increase distance until comfortable throwing from 83 feet. Maintain control of ball speed with minimal force.
- Controlled Pitches Drill: Throw controlled balls at half top velocity from stretch position with one leg raised. Control ball speed and stay within an effective range. Build confidence and accuracy.
Perfecting your softball pitching motion? Follow-through drills will help! They allow for your body to finish the motion. Result? More velocity and accuracy!
To improve power and accuracy, work on your mechanics. Here are some drills you can use:
- Follow-through drills!
High-leg kick drills are key for any softball pitcher. They help with timing, muscle control and add speed to a pitch.
To do this drill, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Shift body weight onto the balls of the feet. Keep legs rigid and arms relaxed. Raise the leg in a fluid motion, as if in an actual pitch, until parallel to the ground. The trailing leg should stay bent at the knee. Hold this position for 1–3 seconds.
Slowly lower the leg, maintaining the same distance between it and the leading foot. No shifting forward or backward. Return to starting position – each repetition should take 2–3 seconds. Throughout, keep eyes focused on a target ahead. Maintain good posture, no bending at waist or bottom out in back foot during kick.
At first, these drills may be hard for some softball pitchers. With practice, they will become easier and help maximize control over velocity and accuracy.
Arm extension is essential for successful pitching. Keep your arm out till the ball is released for extra power. Smooth release creates speed, height and movement for effectiveness.
When practicing the drill, stand tall and wind up. Keep your arm relaxed and far from your body. Push through with elbow joint until full extension is achieved and snap your wrist down for whip action.
Practice slowly to embed the mechanics into muscle memory. This will make it second nature for games!
Follow-through is key in any pitch. It should be a smooth, comfortable motion that releases the ball’s full power. Try this drill to improve follow-through accuracy and smoothness:
- Grab a batting tee and place it near home plate, about 20 feet away.
- Set up and take your pitching stance with a ball and glove or bat.
- Start with a full wind-up, then switch to a 3/4 wind-up with the glove or bat still in hand.
- Take two steps forward and release the ball. Keep both arms extended throughout the move and rotate them around each other for added accuracy and power. Make sure all body parts are in sync.
- Gradually speed up until you can complete the move without hesitation or inaccuracy at full speed. This helps create more power and teaches you to adjust mechanics in any situation.
Cool Down Drills
Pitching practice done? Time to cool down the arm! Cooling down drills decrease soreness, fatigue and boost flexibility. Here are some cool down drills to use post-pitching session. Give them a go!
- Drill 1
- Drill 2
- Drill 3
- Drill 4
- Drill 5
Arm circles are great after intense softball throwing drills. They loosen the shoulder and get the blood flowing. Stretch and rotate arms in both directions. Stand with feet apart and arms at 90-degrees. Make big, slow circles with each arm. Rotate outward, then inward. Do 10-15 full loops of each arm in clockwise and counterclockwise directions. Control and maintain same speed throughout the motion.
Arm swings are also effective for cool down. Hold one or two light medicine balls at chest level. Spread feet apart in an athletic stance. Swing arms from side to side. This stretches shoulder muscles and helps them move freely when you throw. Repeat 15 times before transitioning into other cool down exercises such as shoulder shrugs and hip circles.
Shoulder rolls are essential after softball pitching sessions. They can help ease tension in the rotator cuff, reduce soreness and give more freedom in the shoulder joint.
Start by standing with your arms down and palms inwards. Move both shoulders in circles: one clockwise, one counter-clockwise. Keep a steady tempo, doing 10-15 reps.
Take a few moments to stretch your arms, shoulders, pecs and traps. Then do the drill two more times with moderate intensity. This will get everything ready for your next practice or game!
Windmill drills are great for arm strength, technique and pitching velocity. The aim is to throw with power, accuracy and consistency, while keeping good control and balance. Windmill drills help with key fundamentals like using core muscles, arm motion follow-through and form.
Do 10 rotations at your own pace. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and do an exaggerated windmill motion with your arms. Keep your form throughout. Repeat this ten times. To up the intensity, add weight to your arms or speed up each set of 10.
When doing a windmill drill, focus on body position:
- Keep eyes forward, head level, chest slightly raised, hips loose, hips square to batting zone.
- Keep leg strength in the plant leg when throwing, belly button towards catcher’s glove, and back facing target after the strike.
For the release position:
- Keep the ball parallel to the drive leg when releasing, shoulders square to the baseball diamond, and wrist snapped up or follow through (whole hand higher than elbow).
Use these tips for successful softball pitching drills!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are some basic softball pitching drills?
A: Some basic softball pitching drills include the “balance point,” “arm circle,” “toe touch,” and “leg kick” drills. These drills help to develop proper mechanics, accuracy, and power when throwing a pitch.
Q: How often should I practice these drills?
A: It is recommended to practice softball pitching drills at least three times a week. This helps to ensure that the muscles used in pitching stay tuned and develop over time.
Q: How can I improve my pitching accuracy?
A: Improving your pitching accuracy requires a combination of proper mechanics and practice. Make sure you are using the correct form when throwing and practice frequently to build muscle memory and accuracy.