Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

elbow whip vs. forceful follow thru

Sep 11, 2008
i notice the top-notch pitchers have elbow bend at the downswing, and "jam" their elbow into their torso before release and stop it there, which causes their forearm to accelerate in a whip-like fashion. this is known as elbow snap. after releasing the ball, they release the elbow to prevent injury and their arm just "flops" out in a very relaxed fashion. pitchers such as jennie finch, michele smith, lisa fernandez, sarah pauly of the washington glory, brandice balschmitter of umass, etc. do this. this method has been demonstrated on the RightView Pro software by lisa fernandez amongst others.

my problem is most pitching coaches i have seen or know of teach the method where you follow thru hard and point the elbow at your catcher. they look at me with confused looks when i show them what i want to do, including many current D1 college pitchers. no one i know teaches the elbow jam and release method, some out of fear young pitchers might injure themselves. becasue of this, i can't do the method correctly, so i neither jam my elbow to create whip, nor follow thru hard. i just go out forward, towards my catcher, with my arm.

how do i learn this method? no coaches teach this. thanks!
May 13, 2008
Didn't you just say in another thread that that you have a world renowned pitching instructor? What does he/she teach?
Sep 11, 2008
she is very famous, but perhaps i shouldve said "nationally known". she teaches the traditional point your elbow at the catcher and follow thru. i know she is well read and has read Sammons for example (but i don't remember what Sammons taught--i have read that book too). i havent seen her in a while tho and i want to learn the elbow whip method.


Jan 24, 2009
See if this will help you learn the arm whip correctly.
I do not prescribe to "jam" their elbow into their torso before release and stop it there. You only touch your side in a brushing movement. That is a signal for your upper arm to slow down quickly and for your forearm to speed up. Any time the arm strikes the body forcefully there is the chance that muscles will separate from the bone in the arm.
Use the link below to actually see a slow-mo of J Finch's arm whip. Scroll down to sluggers first post and play the short videos he has placed there. She may brush her elbow against her side but no jam on that biscuit.


Take the time to practice this movement slowly and in stages. Start with the ball over you head as if you are doing super k with the elbow SLIGHTLY bent palm facing up and toward 3rd base. This will be an elbow lead movement with the pinky under the ball on the way down. Pull your arm straight down with the elbow leading palm facing back and toward 3rd base to just below your shoulder and stop. Pull your arm down with the elbow leading palm facing down and toward 3rd base until you touch your torso with either your elbow or upper arm and stop. Then finish by moving you forearm and hand past your elbow but close to you leg making sure you snap fully. The hand should close and face the target while you are snapping/releasing the ball.
One tip--don't use the devices being discussed on the "K Factor" thread.
The elbow doesn't really jam into the side. The entire upper arm does what I would describe as a "interference brush" into the rib cage side. It does help the lower arm whip into the release zone as you have described.
Best method to try to learn this is to "backward chain". Move the arm in a backward arm circle until the ball hand is at 9 o'clock(270 degrees). Work many throws from that starting position focusing on the upper arm performing the interference brush and subsequently transferring the energy into the lower arm whip.
Continue farther back in the chain as you feel comfortable.
Throwing from the K position with lots of exaggerated arm whip will help.
If there is lots of years of muscle memory built up don't expect this to change over night...might take half to one year to change. Maybe never.
Sep 29, 2008
Northeast Ohio
I have had a very similar concern with my daughter. It was discussed on another thread here. BoardMember gave a step by step instruction on exactly what you are talking about along with video examples. It is found here. My daughter is improving quickly with it but still struggles because of old habits. Hope this link helps you.
Sep 11, 2008
wow thanks for all the advice. that other thread is very detailed. i am going to print it out. one reason i dont come here alot is becuz i could get really addicted and i would never have any actual time then for practice and school hahahaha. i am at a hotel now and i can't view those videos on the computer here but i will check them out when i get home!
May 25, 2008
Pickerington Ohio
FJRGerry, What do think of Rita Lynn's video? I have watched the majority of her online videos and she has been nice enough to reply to my emails concerning her teaching style. She is a great supporter of girls softball. Does she add much to what is available online?

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Latest member