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  How to Correct the

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by Gerald Warner, Softball Pitching Instructor


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Every softball pitcher can pitch with better speed and better control if she brings her shoulders back and “comes back tall” as she releases the ball.   Biomechanics studies have shown that a pitcher will have maximum “torque”…and therefore throw harder…if she does not lean forward as she finishes the pitch. 


Visitors to this website often ask what a pitcher can do to correct her leaning problem. 

Here is our  reply to a recent e-mail:

The “bending over” problem is pretty common with young pitchers, and sometimes even with those who are high school or college age.  It usually starts when a pitcher is told by her coach to “just throw strikes.”  Then, when she tries to keep her pitches over the plate, she leans forward and "reaches out" to push the ball toward the batter.   When you first started pitching, it probably helped a little bit with control, but hurt your pitching mechanics...and now, it slows down your pitching speed AND can cause you to have back injuries if it isn't corrected properly.


Here are some recommendations:



1)    Focus on "staying tall" at the release of the ball.   As you stand on the pitching rubber prior to starting the pitch,  stand with your shoulders back, and feel that small curve in the lower portion of your back.  Now THAT'S the way you need to feel when you release the pitch.   Standing on the rubber with good posture before the start of the pitch helps with muscle memory, and develop the same position as the ball is released.


2)    Think:  "As my pitching arm comes down toward the release, I will bring my shoulders back".


3)    "Shoulders back - hips forward" at the release.


4)    During pitching practice have someone stand just beside where your landing foot comes down, then stretch out their arm (shoulder high) in front of you.   Your job is to pitch the ball under their outstretched arm.   Go slow the first couple of times, then as you gain confidence start to throw the pitch full speed.   The idea, of course, is that you don't want to hit your upper body against their arm, so you will bring your shoulders back to avoid it.  If you don't want to face their arm, let them stretch a bat out in front of you. You can also set up a string or rope to have the same effect.   Stretch it across your path about shoulder high.

Quite often we find a pitcher who does not have good trunk strength.   Your stomach/ab muscles and particularly those in your mid-back need to be strong...not just to help keep you upright, but also for the "closing" trunk rotation as your pitching arm comes down to the release point.   If you aren't already working on strengthening your mid-section, start a program that involves sit-ups, crunches, and leg lifts and other ab and back exercises several times per week.  

5)     The "arm whip"...increase the speed of the arm during its final downswing going into the release point.   A faster arm whip will simultaneously require the shoulders to be pulled back, causing you to be taller at the release, and typically will create a slightly earlier release point, therefore bringing the pitch down.




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  or call Pitching Instructor Gerald Warner in Colorado at (720) 200-4575


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