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An Indoor Drill to Increase Fastball Speed
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by Gerald Warner, Softball Pitching Instructor
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The off-season is an ideal time to make necessary major adjustments to your mechanics, develop a new breaking pitch or two, AND to increase the speed of your fastball.


However, during the late-Fall and Winter period from November to March, pitchers who live or go to school in most cold-weather states don’t always find it possible to practice outdoors.

We have found that the most beneficial speed-increasing drill for softball pitchers is one that can be done at home…and it is a simple one to set up.  It involves hanging a remnant piece of carpeting
(or an old rug, or even a heavy tarp) from a joist in the ceiling of a basement or garage.  Then, from a pitching rubber 10 or 12 feet away, pitch with all of your power…throwing it as hard as you can into the carpet.  Use good body mechanics the same as you do when you are pitching outside.  But here, the objective is to teach your body to throw harder…don’t worry about control…just “wail away”.

The key is to get better with each pitch.  Take a little time in between pitches and think what you can do to make your delivery smoother and to throw the next one a little harder.  This is the off-season, so you won’t be throwing to a live batter for weeks or months.  By doing this exercise for 75 or so pitches per session, three or four times per week, will condition your body…and you mentally…to substantially increase your fastball speed.  Then, as soon as you get into live practices with a real catcher, your pitch control and accuracy will come back…but with a much greater velocity.

RECOMMENDATIONS:  (1)  You might be able to get a free remnant at a carpet store if you tell the Manager what you want to use it for.  (2) Find a piece of carpet at least 6-feet wide so you don’t have to worry about missing it when you throw.  And, if floor-to-ceiling height is 7 or 7½ feet, the carpet should be at least 10-feet long (at the floor, let it curve outward toward the pitcher, to help with ball return).   (3) Don’t bother painting a strike zone on it…the purpose of this exercise is to throw hard…without focusing on accuracy right now.


ON A RELATED SUBJECT..."Take a break"

Each year we recommend that young pitchers…and even some in high school or college…can benefit by taking an off-season break from softball.  We have seen many promising young girls (or their parents) who become so obsessed with softball that they “live it” 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year.  Then, by the time they reach high school age and should be approaching greatness, they “burn out” …softball has become a job…it’s no longer fun.

So, for a month or so during the late Fall or Winter, consider taking some time off.  Clear your head of softball for a while; concentrate on homework, your family and friends, school activities, and maybe even your social life.  Don’t totally forget about softball and don’t lose sight of your goals, but at least focus a little bit on other things for a few weeks.

Then, when you are ready, get back into softball with a new and fresh attitude and commitment.  Softball is a great game, it's fun to be a pitcher, and you can do it better when your heart is really into it.


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If you have questions or need more information
E-mail us,  or call Pitching Instructor Gerald Warner in Colorado at (720) 200-4575



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