Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

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

Register Log in

Open Vs closed

ok my daughter went to a pitching coach for about a year and was taught the close the door method of pitching. i just made a switch to a coach that teaches staying open while pitching. my daughter has made some good advances in this new method of pitching. i just want to get others opinions on these two styles.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
First, the "staying open method" works and the "close the door method" doesn't. The closest sport analog to fastpitch pitching is golf. Do you see Tiger closing his hips before hitting a 320 yard drive? Of course not.

Anatomy 101: A woman's hips are wider than her shoulders. (This is a defining, universal characteristic of women.) If a woman stands with her arms down, you'll see that the arms in fact do not hang straight down, but are slightly angled. When pitching, if hips fully close before the arm goes by the hips, the arm will have to loop around the hips. If the arm loops around the hips, there is a loss of control and speed.

The hips become wider than the shoulders during puberty. (The hips widen to provide for the birth canal.) So, what usually happens is that a kid is great at 12 YOA, and then at 13 YOA the same kid won't be able to pitch.

It is possible to slightly close the hips and have the arm go by. The elites (Finch, Abbott, etc.) close their hips to about 25 degrees (90 degrees being fully closed) before the arm goes by, and then close the rest of the way after the arm goes by. (Check out the videos. I was convinced that Ueno was the exception until I watched the slow-motion video of her. In real time, it looks simultaneous.)

For some reason, Pitcher Daddies (and I was one) just love the "close the door" pitching method, and will insist that it is correct, even as they watch their DDs getting hammered on the mound.
Feb 13, 2009
North Carolina
In my experience, I teach younger pitchers primarily, most pitchers "close the door" so it is not a matter of open or closed but when the door is closed. The younger pitchers, when learning mechanics, I teach them to bring the drive leg through as a second step. In the beginning this leg comes through at the same time as the arm and the hips fully close into a defensive position. As the pitcher progresses, the arm speeds up and the hips close after the release. The hips should always come around to put the pitcher into a defensive stance to protect herself and her position (pitchers are the only position that requires offense and defensive skills to be used at all times). As the pitchers body matures she will adjust her style to meet her individual needs and at that time the level of "door closure" becomes an individual characteristic. This level of closure can be anywhere from 12 o’clock to 2 o’clock as long as she is able to defend herself and her position.

Please remember that I am referring to young pitchers here and not collegiate / pro level pitchers. As the pitcher moves up to the more advanced levels of this sport her body positions also adjust based on body type, development, speed, strength, style, skill and many other minute factors. These are gradual changes that are made as her body becomes ready to handle the increased stresses on the muscles and joints. If the foundation is strong and mechanics correct these changes become a natural progression as her body changes. A ten year old pitcher should not look like a mini Finch or Ueno as her body is just not ready yet.


Abby's Dad
Jan 23, 2009
Collegeville, PA
The two main sources I've used for learning for myself and teaching my daughter are Rita Lynn Gilman and Michele Smith. Both teach having the hips about 45 - 52 degrees closed at release. To my recollection Rita Lynn teaches to step back after the release (as opposed to closing) and so does Michele Smith. The pitching coach our local LL uses for winter pitching clinics is a firm "close the door" teacher and insists that by not closing with power one is losing velocity. I've tried learning both methods for myself so that I can make a reasonable comparison and to me I don't feel any loss of velocity using the step back after release method.
Feb 19, 2009
Whatever you call it, pitch like this.

MOV 1 of 3, Windmill

MOV 3 of 3, Windmill

I've always wondered this about Cat since she's frequently touted as the queen of pitching mechanics; she seems to lean back with her shoulders towards third base as she's going through her circle, does this give her more leverage and is this taught by high level pitching coaches (as opposed to standing upright)?

As far as the OP goes, my DD began learning the closed door technique in her first year of pitching since that's what they taught at our local rec league. Once she became proficient at it I found her the most highly regarded pitching coach in our area who video taped her at her first lesson. He described the closed door/elbow up technique she was using as a "push" mechanic and began changed her mechanics to the more open style which placed an emphasis on "snapping" the hips.

IMO, there are far more compelling arguments for the open style vs. closed; closed creates more strain on stride leg knee, harder to get a strong push off of the rubber, changing mechanics to throw different pitches (rise), etc. Whenever the rec league pitching instructors would second guess me about the mechanics my DD was learning I would simply say, "who should I believe, you or my own eyes?"

Latest posts

Members online

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Latest member