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Does the riseball really rise???


Softball fan
Feb 28, 2008
Montreal, Canada
For the old timers... you will remember that heated debate in the old fastpitch forums back in the 1990s.

How about we start it again.

What do you think.... does the riseball really rise or is it just high fastball with an optical illusion?

What is your opinion? Any data or example to support?

Marc :)

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
According to the physics guys (of which I am not one by far) it doesn't rise because it can't rise -- by which I mean suddenly change planes upward at the end. You can't develop sufficient spin to generate sufficient Magnus Effect to overcome gravity.

Mark H has referenced a video study Scott Sargesen (sp?) did on Sarah Pauly that showed the same thing.

But one of the best tests is to DVR some college or Team USA games, and when you see what appears to be a rise ball (or what the announcers identify as a rise ball) watch it in slow motion -- especially from the behind the catcher view. What I usually see is the pitch actually STOPS rising and flattens out. That appears to be the major difference between a rise ball and a fastball that moves up through the zone. The latter continues upward due to trajectory. The former goes up, then stops going up. Perhaps we should change the name to the flatter-outer. :)
May 9, 2008
Ok im sure that change plane.Im sure cause when i throw it well and there's even little wind against me,hitters swing the bat approx 15/20 cm over the ball.And they are pretty sure that are going to push the ball out of the ballpark.If you ask me if the ball jump,well it doesn't but it sure that rise to change plane.And low rise ball it's a strikeout pitch even.But often if wind doesn't blow against you and your whip+resistance+grip+spin it's poor or wrong you'll get an high fastball(bullet spin rotation)and only thing that rise it's homerun.It's the same question you could ask about drop ball:does drop ball really drop?:rolleyes:


May 7, 2008
I Don't Know But....

It sure fools me by not going down as much as I expected on the slow rise. The sharp biting rise really confuses me, it appears to hop. Also I get very nervous when someone like Hillhouse throws to me with the wind in his face!
As mentioned above by Ken; Scott Sarginson and I did do a headon and a profile analysis of Sarah's (daughter) riseball.
When viewing from the catchers/hitters vantage point the ball appears to rise (change planes), but when viewed from the side (profile) it definitely has lost most of its upward angle by the time it gets to the zone. If I can figure out how to attach a picture here I'll try to get some from the study and some of a few other elite level pitchers.
I've read a lot of information based on the laws of physics relative to this subject. Haven't found any yet that suggests that the riseball actually increases its originally thrown angle.

May 7, 2008
For those of you who don't know...Sarah Pauly is an ELITE pitcher who had a ridiculous college career and now pitches in the NPF. So if her own dad admits that the rise doesn't really rise...

May 26, 2008
A ball will move/curve perpendicular to its axis of spin. I believe Ernie Parker coined the phrase, "airplane riseball", and to me, describes a ball thrown with a horizontal axis, back-spin, and thrown at an upward angle. A riseball ball thrown horizontally to the ground will not rise above the horizontal plane, but will drop less that a bullet spin or drop spin. And the drop ball spin will drop farther that the bullet spin.

Believe it, or not,

Brad . . . retired from bucket sitting

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