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May 7, 2008

I have a 14 year old daughter who just decided about 2 years ago she wanted to pitch. We started taking her to a instructor and which she still continues to go to. This is my daughters first year actually getting to pitch on the mound during a game. Her season started out really good. Her form and body mechanics looked great and she was consistent with hitting the corners of the plate along with several different pitches already under her belt. Her main problem that she is stuck with is building up more speed. We made a few changes in her form to try to help with speed and now she is all over the place with her form and timing her release point just right. She works continuously on the drills her instructor has taught her to do. But once she puts everything into motion, it all is not coming together. It is as if she tenses up and doesn't look or seem loose and released from the start of the pitch to the end and we are still struggling with ways to increase her speed. She has been taught to jump and drag her right foot with her body in a 45 degree angle. I know she is at a disadvantage because she started pitching at a later age and she is only 5'0" and weighs only 96 pounds. So size is not working with her either. At this point we are lost at what point to start with correcting her form and body mechanics to regain control and consistency and next to build speed. With everyone's body mechanics being different, could it be possible that the form she has been taught is just not for her??? Please help, we are planning on trying to work hard with her this summer so we will be ready and really prepared to come back with a bang next winter with high school softball. My daughter gets really upset because she wants to be good at pitching and would really like to play for a college, but she knows she has to really pick up speed for that to happen. I would appreciate all the advice you can give us to help her out. Thanks

May 7, 2008
When working on speed, dont worry about hitting corners, throw right down the pipe first, sounds like she is losing power when jumping, if you dont have the push of foot on the pitchers mound, you lose leverage especially if a small person to start with
I have moved pitchers up to shorter distances and had them throw just to get in over the middle of the plate to build speed, then slowly move back when they feel they can get the ball over trying to throw harder
May 8, 2008
If her control and form was good before, a good way to get more speed is arm speed. The faster your arm goes, the faster the pitch will go. A good drill to do is to have her stand about 15 feet from a fence. Standing sideways (as though in the middle of her pitch) have her circle her arm three times as fast as she can and let go on the third one throwing into the fence. If she does it correctly, her fingers should tingle. Her goal is to have her arm go as fast as the third circle while she is pitching. Hope this helps. -Heather www.2MinuteRecruit.com
May 7, 2008
Geneva, Switzerland
Well, in my opinion, the jump-drag method for a beginner is not the way to go. You gain absolutely no speed (in fact you probably lose some) because there are too many things to synch up. The only advantage is that the release point is closer to the batter, thus giving a relative speed increase.
So, I would back up a bit, get her to get in the zone with just a good step motion, then maybe go to jump drag. It is best to do this into a net at first, then move on to targets. Walking into pitch, and long pitch can also help. A controlled overload-underload program can also help. I'm sure this opinion will ruffle a few feathers of some avid jump-draggers. (in fact a good step also has a similar drag without all the other stuff)
May 7, 2008
My daughter has been pitching for four years (two years rec, two years travel). She moves up to 14U this next year...there are so many different philosophies out there about priorities. My husband and I believe and reinforce with our children athletic development. My husband has been coaching a long time and sees that his investment in the children may not be fully realized for a year if not longer (varies by child). Proper mechanics and fundamentals, we believe, are foundational. We never emphasized speed with either my son or daughter pitching...when they do that they are usually using more of their arm then their legs. Consideration to age is also very important. There is a huge difference between the beginning of sixth grade to the end of seventh. That growth will also make a difference. My husband happens to emphasize hitting the corners and movement on the ball over the speed, but that is something even in the major leagues that pitchers must evaluate...are they more effective as fast ball pitchers or off speed pitchers with a lot of movement. After my children have the rote memory, have physically matured, and have worked through the mental component of pitching...they can focus more on speed. Again, I have watched a lot of controversy surrounding this issue. I share with you what our position is. It is good you are collecting suggestions and ideas so you can form your own position...


Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
Here's the tough thing. If you're working on speed you really don't want to worry about location, at least initially. You want to work on mechanics and going hard at it. As you lock in the mechanics, the control will be there.

But if you're in-season and expected to pitch strikes you don't have that luxury. In that case you don't want to make a lot of form changes because it will throw everything off. It sounds like that's where you are now.

I agree with Oldcatcher that you want to start out going for the middle of the plate. Once you've established that capability, learning to hit the corners is simply a variation of it.

I believe that left-right control is more difficult to achieve than up-down. Lots more can go wrong. You don't say what form changes were made. Can you specify a little more? That would help with determining how to make corrections. A video would help as well. Sometimes you can pick up little things in the video that cause big problems.

Remember that control is a result, not a goal. If the pitcher makes the correct movements on her end the ball will go where it's supposed to go. It's that simple -- and that difficult.
May 9, 2008
my humble opinion

Because im a self-made pitcher,learn how to pitch from books,vhs and dvd i can affirm that pitching hard is the first thing to develop.This mean use any kind of tip and trick in the world.Most effective to me are,cannonball(but im an adult,little weighted ball is better for teens)walking pitch from the mound to centerfield(or where you can go still pitching in glove catcher),knee drill etc etc.Some is come from Ernie Parker dvd and vhs,some other from Bill Hillhouse fundamental,great stuff is also in Barry Sammons book(where you could see clearly explained difference between use step style or leap-and-drag,single pump or double etc...)Im agree that great way to start building fundamental is step style and anyway if done correctly there's not so much different speed to the ball.Anyway when is really accomplished you can go ahead and try(in off-season)to develop leap-and-drag that needs more timing feeling than pure power and this is the reason why is more difficult keep pinpoint accuracy with that style.In season time you can adjust a little,not changing style or try new pitch in a game.In season time you need to throw strike and strike,sure not in the middle of the plate and sure not the same pitch again and again.But to develop some speed keep away from any kind of lifting weight stuff.You need to be relaxed and flexible to throw "really hard".In working out session do 40% of speed workouts and 60% of control and adjusting of your different pitches.When off-season will come think about changing style.Pitching is,i think,neverdonecompletely thing,any day,any game,any batter that is up you learn something new...if you're looking for!
Hope my english it's clear enough,im a self-made man in that too.

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
How fast is she pitching? If she is not above 50mph, it is MOO that she moved on to the other pitches too fast. It takes a certain velocity to get the pitches to break. Also, she needs to be a consistant change up pitcher, before moving on.
May 7, 2008
I have to correct one thing mentioned above, about the faster the arm speed, the faster the speed. This is only true if the timins is right. By this, I mean, it depends on where the pitching arm is, when the stryde foot lands. If the pitching arm is around the shoulder on the way down, then a really fast arm swing is good. Now, ir the pitching arm is down close to the leg when the stride foot lands, them your speed isa slower, regardless of the speed.
Here is a good example. I had a coach who had a 13 year old who threw 65mph. Yes my radar gun is accurate. He called me about a month later and told me that her speed had gone down about 4 mph. I told him to gring her back, which he did. When she got there and warmed up, I told her all I wanted her to do, was relax going up on your swing, and come down as fast as you can. She did this, and her first pitch was back to 64 mph again. The coach then told me that what had happened was his and her father's. They had told he they wanted her to make the fastest circle to try and pick up a little more speed. That this dad done, was throw off her timing.

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