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Increasing velocity

May 13, 2008
10
0
I'd be curious to hear from some of you about what you use in the off season to build pitching velocity? I'm looking for specifics. Do you just do long throwing? If so, how many, from what distance and how many times a week? How long should it take to get through a workout? Weighted ball? How many reps and how often? Also, I'd like to hear the time frame in which you used these methods and what the results were.
I have two daughters who pitch and since we are now in the off season we are working on strength and speed.
Thanks for any help.
 

halskinner

Banned
May 7, 2008
2,695
0
Knowing their ages, the level they compete and how many years they have been pitching would be good.
 
May 13, 2008
10
0
Both play on travel teams. Older one is 14 and just finished her first highs school season. She has pitched for 8 years and throws mid 50's. She has a rollover, peel, screw, rise and change that all work well. Younger daughter is 11 and has pitched four 4 years. She throws low 40's and is working on a rollover and a screw. Both hit their corners very well.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,752
48
Dallas, Texas
There is no guarantee that your DD will ever throw over 55 mph. Almost any kid can throw 50 mph with practice. Most kids can throw 55 mph if they get good instruction and have a good work ethic. Throwing over 60 mph is a combination of genetics and hard work.

Some kids simply can't do it. Of course, you will never know until you and she try.

(1) Make sure her mechanics are good. If the mechanics aren't there, you and she can work until the end of time and she won't gain a single mile per hour.
(2) Get a good, reliable speed gun. (Don't trust your DD's pitching coach's gun.) When you do speed work, set it up so she knows how fast she throws for *each* pitch.
(3) She has to perfect each phase of the pitching motion--from the push-off to the close. You have to take every kink out of her motion that you possibly can. It is really a lot like an automobile. If you want to get your car going as fast as possible, you make sure every detail from the wheels to the engine is perfect. It is the same with pitching.
(4) Distance throwing is one drill for speed. Another drill is rapid-fire pitching. She throws the ball, you catch the ball and throw it back to her immediately. As soon as the ball hits her mitt, she starts her pitching motion. You do this as fast as possible for as long as possible.
(5) Are you familiar with the concept of "frames'? If so, use the speed gun on a pitch thrown for 1/4 frames, 1/2 frames, full frames, and full pitching motion, and work on improving her speed for each Frame.
(6) Walk-throughs, walk-throughs, and more walk-throughs--measure the pitching speed for walk-throughs and compare it with her normal pitching motion. Do walk-throughs make her pitches faster? If so, then she isn't pushing off hard enough.

It is a tough battle.

Perhaps your DD is great and actually knows how to throw two different drops, a screw and a rise. But, the only player that I know of that can throw a real drop and a real rise is Cat Osterman, and I know she isn't 14 YOA. What is a real drop ball? Put a lawn chair about 15 feet in front of the plate between your DD and the plate. Lay a bucket on its side at home plate with the opening facing the pitcher. Can your DD throw the ball so it just misses the top of the lawn chair and lands in the bucket?
 
May 25, 2008
196
16
Pickerington Ohio
Sluggers, Explain the frames drill you mentioned. Good drill on the drop ball. I use two batting tees set about ten feet in front of home plate with a rope stretched across the path of the pitch about 24 to 28 inches high. I like to see my pitcher graze the top of the rope and then have the ball in the dirt at the back of home plate.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,752
48
Dallas, Texas
"Frames" is a convenient way to discuss pitching drills. Denny Throneburg, an accomplished fastpitch pitcher, teacher and coach from Casey, Illinois, used this.

So:

There is the "full pitching motion". Frames are parts of the full pitching motion.

A "full frame" is where the pitcher stands fully open. That is, her right foot is pointing toward 3B and her left foot is in its correct position as if it had landed prior to the pitch. (People will debate whether the left foot should land pointing toward 3B or 45 degrees, etc.) The left arm is extended and pointing to home plate, the right hand is holding the ball and extended toward home plate. The hips are only closed enough to allow the right arm and left arm to both point to the plate. The pitcher then takes the ball up and around, moves her weight to her right foot, opens the hips, lets the ball pass the hips, closes the hips and throws the ball.

A "half frame" is where the pitcher is in the same position, except her right hand is over her head.

A "quarter frame" is where the pitcher is in the same position, except her right hand is pointed to 2B.

Once student get the idea of what frames are, it makes explaining drills much, much easier. For example, I can say, "Do a full frame, except raise the left foot off the ground at the beginning" or, "do twenty half frames, but make sure your elbow is bent at the top. Then do a full pitch." Or, "do a quarter frame, but concentrate on closing the hips after the arm goes by the hip."

If you break down the pitch into frames and use a speed gun, you can easily see how much speed is added with each phase of a pitch. If you have a kid that is throwing 50 mph in a full frame, and 50 mph in a full pitching motion, then you know that her push off is adding zero to her speed.

A great deal of my DD's speed increase came from her working like a demon on half frames with a speed gun telling her the speed of her last pitch. She would do anything to get one more MPH on her speed. At the end of the practice, she was literally soaked in sweat. You could wring sweat from her t-shirt.

The problem with frames is that the pitcher sometimes can be too focused on one part of the pitch rather than simply throwing the ball. So, you always have to use "smoothing drills" maker her motion flow.
 
May 7, 2008
8,499
38
Tucson
Throneburge's VHS tape on pitching is called Framing the Pitch. I use the technique for my beginner pitchers, but Denny was very successful using it at the HS level.
 

halskinner

Banned
May 7, 2008
2,695
0
Try my exercise

Marc sells my book on this site. I outline a simple exercise to use that will increase your pitching speed immediately. Here is the link to my book

WINNING FAST PITCH SOFTBALL

Buy the book, try the exercise. It's real simple; if it does not work for her, Marc will refund your money.

If it does work for her, tell someone else about it.

With Marc's offer of a full refund, how can you lose???

Hal
 
Some thing to also remember is some times pitching instructors forget to continue using the FB when they are teaching spin pitches such CB or SB. Continuing with the FB will sure her arm speed stays the same. Normally some speed loss occurs when learning spins because the arm naturally slows down to accomplish the spin pitch. Another thing to understand when doing all these drills ensure your DD is throwing to a specific strike zone. What I have my students do is not only perform the drill but they must hit a specific strike zone such as nothing below the knees and nothing above the head for example. This type of training not only leads to speed development but accuracy also.
 

rex

Jan 24, 2009
12
0
sluggers reply is quite good with the exception of developing arm whip.
Using Denny's method is not conducive to arm whip. Cheri Kempf's videos get closer to that development.
Arm whip is necessary for more speed.
BTW, Jenni F's rise is the best I have seen as for pure reverse spin. As with all pitchers, she does not always achieve pure reverse spin. But that is not necessary to make a ball rise. There is another way to throw a rise that will do as well which is easier to throw and less stressful on the shoulder. Take the time to view some good rise ball pitchers and you will figure it out.
 

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