looking for some good ideas on some arm whip drills. it seems like my dd just doesn't have a strong whipping motion. i believe she could pick up a few mph plus add rotation by strengthening her whipping motion.
CAUTION: When you are trying to improve the arm whip, you have to be really, really careful about the hips and arm. The first thing kids do is start trying to use their hips to increase speed, which is not what you want to do. You have to mix the arm whip drills in with "staying open" drills. So, you do an arm whip drill, then you do "turn and throws", keeping the right foot planted. Do another arm whip drill, then do something like the Carolina walk through. You always have to be guarding against the hips closing too soon.
(1) Teach her how to skip rocks. The only way to skip rocks is to use a "jointed" sidearm motion. She has to concentrate on how it feels for the upper arm to release, then the forearm, then the wrist. Tell her to feel how everything "releases" sequentially. Besides being fun, every Dad should spend time with DD at the lake, pond or river skipping rocks and talking about something besides softball.
(2) The basic drill for arm whip is to start at 12 O'clock with the arm in the position shown in the post labeled "elite pitchers at 12 o'clock". Obviously, both of her feet have to be on the ground. The forearm is straight up, and the upper arm at about 5 degrees off of vertical. She pulls down with her upper arm. Then she throws, lets, the hand go to the target, and then closes ***AFTER THE ARM PASSES THE HIPS*** (<<<----extremely important).
(3) The other good drill is distance throwing. First, have her throw from the pitchers mound. When she does that, have her take two steps back, have her throw again. Keep doing that until either (1) the arc on the ball gets too high (i.e., above your head) or (2) she bounces the ball to you. Then, have her take one step forward and have her pitch from there. CAUTION: Watch the form. As she tries to throw harder, her form will disintegrate. So, you have to always be bringing her back to the basics with drills.
Nothing works over night. This will take months to perfect.
I have a DD who was a D1 All-Conference pitcher. I spent 8-10 hours a week for several years with her doing drills, pitching and lessons. I know how to fix the most common problems (forward leaning, arm circles, etc.), because my DD had all of them.
My DD went to two different pitching coaches in Chicagoland. Both are well known. One guy knew what he was doing, the other didn't.
I coached traveling teams and rec teams for years and years. I've seen a lot of pitchers come and go. So, I've heard more wacky theories on pitching than you can imagine.
Yes, I'm aware of my limitations. E.g., I don't know how to teach breaking pitches. You'll have to talk to my DD about how to do that.
For general instruction theory (that is, how to get the most from your DD without killing her or getting indicted for child abuse), in addition to the pitcher, I also helped train another DD be an all-conference, national champion basketball player.
So, I've actually done this stuff. I made every mistake that can possible be made, so I hope that others can benefit from what I've learned. I didn't pick this stuff up watching a couple of softball games and reading a book on biomechanical engineering.
hey slugger's thanks for the ideas. the rock skipping idea is great.
i should add that my dd is 17 and will be her schools ace this season so we're in fine tuning mode more than pure teaching of mechanics. just looking at ways to add velocity, rotation, etc... i know she has a ton of flaws in her mechanics but i'm trying to fix the ones that make the biggest differences.
we spent the enitre off season last year on opening up and staying open until her hand clears her hip. unfortunately her pitching coaches didn't teach her to keep her hips open. they didn't teach her to close them but they didn't teach her keep them open either, or fix her "closing too early problem" when she was young and it wouldv'e been much easier to fix.
we've done the distance pitching and starting at 12:00 and they are both excellent drills. we will of course keep working on them.
i'll post a video from last winter of what i'm talking about. this video isn't entirely indicative of her game pitching of course. her stride is considerbly in longer a game situation. but you can see how her arm has a tendancy to be ridgid. it just doesn't have the loose whipping action imo...
I have my kids do some simple K-drills with an emphasis on elbow leading the wrist to fingers. You can also do a K-drill using a dog chuckit. When using a dog chuckit it improves elbow lead and whip because of the curve of the chuckit. At release the ball should be hard and in the strike zone. I saw Doug Gillis do this at a clinic. I am a men's fastpitch pitcher so I decided to try it and I could really feel the whip action. When I was trying it out a couple of my hockey players I coach walked in and they decided it would be funny to play a little dodge ball with the chuckits. 3 throws and 2 hits! They were amazed and rubbing the nice little red mark I put on their leg. OK, it sounds cruel but they asked for it! P.S. Don't do this at home! Anyway, I hope this helps.
Relaxed throwing with elbow lead wrist to finger emphasis may be another good one. Alot of my students have great whip when I say lets play catch underhand. I tell them to skip the premotion and simply relax step and throw with a relaxed finish. Many of my kids look great during this drill but when I say ok lets pitch they become this mechanical robot! Obviously the more they understand that a relaxed arm is a better whip the better they will be. It's all about muscle memory. My robot kids all use relaxed throwing to warm up. Eventually they will get it.