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Thread: Bullet spin pitches / fastballs

  1. #11
    Softball Junkie CoachFP's Avatar
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    A bullet spin? I have batted against many good/great pitchers over the years. Never, have I seen one of them throw a "bullet spin" pitch. Why, because it has no chance of moving. To teach it, to leave muscle memory there is pointless. Hal, if your catchers had trouble with that pitch you say you threw, you should have gotten new catchers.

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    Softball Junkie CoachFP's Avatar
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    What are open style mechanics? Mechanics are mechanics I thought. The spin of the ball and the angle of the release point determine ball movement. Goofy bullet spin does not move.

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    Hal, I said the spin of the ball is one factor that determines ball movement. The things that you mentioned, such as grip and bent fingers, help with getting the spin to be what it is. The bent finger itself does not make the ball spin in riseball fashion, it is the position of the hand at release. What the bent finger does is put more pressure on the ball in a smaller surface area to get it to spin faster.

    Bill Hillhouse teaches proper mechanics. I don't know what you mean by open style mechanics. Hillhouse didn't invent proper mechanics. He has studied them and is able to demonstrate and teach them. Closing the hip too soon detracts from maximizing what you can do with a softball. It doesn't mean that someone can't throw with their hip closed early, it is just not optimal.

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    Hal, I don't disagree that people can pitch with a closed style. Lisa Fernandez was very good but probably could have been a notch better with better mechanics. She also pitched a good part of her career at 40 feet and not as many girls were playing college softball as there are today. The hitters are stronger and better now. Just explain to me why there are no elite men's pitchers who throw "closed style". I have never seen one and I have seen and or played against most of the top ones in the last 25 years.

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    My dd s pitching coach taught her to throw a bulletspin fastball first. Its not that hard to learn and once mastered you can learn all other movement pitches rather quickly. Once you know how to spin the ball with you fingers for bulletspin its just a matter of changing axis to get the ball to move , it also taught her IR, something a 4 seam fastball does not. She was hitting 26.5 on rev fire in just over a year at 12 years of age from learning to use her fingers.

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    Checking out the clubhouse Old Man River's Avatar
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    I am responding to Hal's answer to how often his bullet-spin broke- his justifying answer for throwing that kind of spiraling release was that it moved maybe 3 out of 4 times. I am absolutely amazed by that kind of thinking. We need to see what it takes to be a world class pitcher! At the " Open Division " level where I used to pitch for many years, if the ball went relativelly straight just one time in a game somebody in the infield might get killed with a line-drive! At this level of play, a top pitcher can't afford to throw any pitch that he does'nt have full control over with a very clear-cut idea of how much it is going to rise or drop so that he can locate it consistently etc.. Regardless of how one describes what happens to a spiraling type of pitch, the movement potential is too compromised to justify this spin emphasis. To maximize the effectiveness of a pitch, the spin axis needs to maximally cause the ball to predictably change planes in the eyes and mind of the pitcher and unpredictably in the eyes of the hitter! There are way too many " ramp " balls being pitched today!!

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    Softball Junkie tojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hustle Coach View Post
    My dd s pitching coach taught her to throw a bulletspin fastball first. Its not that hard to learn and once mastered you can learn all other movement pitches rather quickly. Once you know how to spin the ball with you fingers for bulletspin its just a matter of changing axis to get the ball to move , it also taught her IR, something a 4 seam fastball does not. She was hitting 26.5 on rev fire in just over a year at 12 years of age from learning to use her fingers.
    Ditto!!! I agree totally with teaching the bulletspin fastball for the same reason you've indicated. As you move up in age group, you are less likely to throw many fastballs and the ability to learn the movement pitches are easier. Therefore, you actually advance faster and more prepared for the improved batters of the older age groups.

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    I can talk softball all day ifubuildit's Avatar
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    I sat on a bucket for 8 years watching my daughters bullet spin fastball move. Do not tell me it doesnt. I know it did based on the bruses on my legs. It was the first pitch she was taught. After age 13 it was the last pitch she would throw in a game. By then everything she threw moved. I do think like Tojo that it helped her develop and understand better use of the fingers when throwing the ball which helped her later with movement pitches. Including the rollover drop and the curve. Her grip was just like Hal described it.

    I think there is room for using any kind of pitch if its the right situation. Bullet spin or not. The key is controlling the flight of the ball and movement.

    Dana.

  9. #19
    I'm a fan batsics1's Avatar
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    I think the analogy of bullet spin to an actual bullet’s spin is often oversimplified. As others have pointed out, this is due to the fact that a softball has stitches that form an irregular pattern across the smooth surface of the ball and the fact that the axis of rotation will rarely be absolutely in line with the direction of the pitched ball. The irregular stitching and the axis of rotation relative to the pitch direction will have an effect of the flight of the ball due to the fact that a greater smooth surface area will be present on one side of the ball. It will have break to one degree or another. The likelihood of a bullet spin drop breaking as much as a 4-seam 12-6 spin drop is doubtful – assuming they have similar spin rates. But there is value in that if used properly and sparingly.

    While how much each pitch breaks is a critical factor in how successful a pitcher becomes, an even more important characteristic is deception. One of the easiest cues for a hitter to pick up is the direction of the pitch out of the hand. It is very easy for a hitter to determine that a pitch is out of the strike zone if the angle of release is too great – either high or low, or inside or outside. This is something that hitters become adept at even at the earliest ages. But, a deceptive pitcher can use that skill against a batter. In fact, it is why a marginal to poor riseball can be effective initially. The hitters haven’t seen it to any great degree – they are use to the ball moving down. Their brain recognizes the direction of the pitch as up in the zone and they react accordingly – even though the direction of the ball takes it above the zone. The better hitters adapt and the marginal riseball quickly becomes ineffective.

    One of the keys to being a deceptive pitcher is to have all of your pitches travel in as narrow a tunnel as possible for as long as possible and move to different locations late. This is primarily accomplished by spin and changing speed. I have attached a composite photo of the flight paths of a drop, fastball and a rise in the strike zone. This is from an experiment done several years ago with Sarah Pauly to determine if a riseball rises. These are the actual flight paths of each pitch mapped from the ball position in one frame to the next. I superimposed each pitch taken from three different shots into one photo. I have added a hitter and strike zone for reference. The grey area through the middle represents the portion of the pitch where the hitter has collected enough information to begin making a decision to swing and the point at which they can no longer make an adjustment to the pitch. This is an estimate using information about the reaction time of hitters from The Physics of Baseball by Robert Adair. As you can see the hitter has to wait well into the decision zone to determine the vertical direction of the pitch – a clear disadvantage.

    A truly deceptive pitch may develop one or more pitches that behave entirely different than their primary pitches. For example, a bullet spin drop. This pitch can be thrown as one of her fastest pitch but it travels in a different tunnel. The fact that it doesn’t break like her primary drop becomes an asset because the initial direction is deceptive. The green line in the second photo represents a possible flight path for such a pitch.

    Say a pitcher is facing the lineup for the second or third time. She has held this pitch in reserve and begins to throw it from time to time. What effect will it have on the hitters who have developed a feel for her pitching from previous at bats?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    My dd used this pitch in 12 u. We would stair case this pitch, the last pitch at the top of zone you would tweek the spin to more back spin and the batter would sit down. It was more effective at the end of tournaments after the batters had looked at drop balls and drop curves all weekend. You can run this in on the hands very effectively to. Had several games with two and three girls on the bench with sore fingers. Now 16 u it better not be going straight or somebody will pick it up and throw it back over the fence if they find it.

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