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Rise vs. Screw

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
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Dallas, Texas
Bill Hillhouse mentioned this in another thread, but I thought it was worth some discussion in its own thread.

Bill pointed out that the screwball pitchers at the CWS ended up faring poorly against good hitting. It appeared that the batters anticipated getting a screwball, so they adjusted their position in the batters box and their swing.

University of Washington pitcher Daniele Lawrie ended up using her riseball when she need the outs. During the last inning of the CWS, Lawrie was throwing off-speed (59 mph) when she needed a strike, and then she would go with the riseball for the K.

The last two UF batters she faced apparently were in "take one" mode, and Lawrie ate them alive. She threw a middle of the plate fastball or off-speed fastball on the first pitch to get ahead, and that was the only strike she threw. Larie then kept throwing riseballs and they chased them.

If you want to see Lawrie pitch the last inning, go to:

ESPN360 and then select NCAA from the drop down menu, and then select "replays". The final game is the June 2 game. The last inning starts somewhere around the 2:20 mark of the video.

Ray
 
May 13, 2008
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I know that Bill is a BIG proponent of changing planes. He doesn't dislike pitches that move left or right, as long as they're changing planes as well.

We really like to throw the peel drop. Some feel that it doesn't drop as much. I don't know about that, but I think that it is far easier to make it change planes AND move. All one needs to do is apply more pressure on the grip to make your drop ball cut left or right. If you ever get the chance to have him demonstrate his drops (and riseballs) it is worth the price of admission.
 
Feb 19, 2009
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My 11 yo dd can throw a good peel drop (right now, about 1 for every 4/5 attempts) and it only breaks from about mid thigh to knee or slightly lower level but it does break before reaching the plate. When she misses with it about half the time it's a gutterball and the rest of the time it's just a high fastball.

Once she masters the straight drop I'm thinking about trying the grips Bill uses in his video to get it to also break inside and outside while dropping but wonder how much tougher it is for an 11 yo girl to grip it and throw it vs a grown man with long fingers.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,844
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Dallas, Texas
My DD's pitching coach scoffed at curves and screwballs in softball, and he was a very successful men's pitcher. He said exactly what Hillhouse says.

On the other hand, Nelson was an All-American with a 40-4 record. It was only when she played against the very best team that she got hammered.
 
Feb 8, 2009
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I thought the pitcher from Washington also benefitted from an extremely generous strike zone. If you get above the letters 2 balls off the outside corner for a called strike one, I like your chances against Fernandez,Bustos, etc...
 
Aug 21, 2008
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My DD's pitching coach scoffed at curves and screwballs in softball, and he was a very successful men's pitcher. He said exactly what Hillhouse says.

On the other hand, Nelson was an All-American with a 40-4 record. It was only when she played against the very best team that she got hammered.
Sluggers.. I'd rather be 4-40 with my 4 wins counting against the good teams in the end than 40-4 with getting hammered against them when it counts. :)

Personally, I think this whole screwball thing is 'screwy'. I've done countless pitching clinics, seen countless pitchers and I don't think I've ever seen anyone actually make a ball screw. They just step left and throw right. It's that simple. If that constitutes a screwball, then every Slowpitch softball pitcher throws riseballs 100% of the time as their balls go up. I have no problem with a pitcher who wants to keep it in on the hands of a hitter but, lets call it what it is.. it's not a screwball. It's an inside pitch. And I still maintain that this goofy step left, throw right thing is not needed for it to happen. I pitched this past weekend and threw a lot of inside pitches without needing to step left!

I really and truly believe this shows the inept hitting that is out there. These pitchers have drastic changes in their motions from one pitch to the next and the hitters are not taught how to or cannot see it themselves. A good part of any pitcher's success is rhythm. And no pitcher can stay in a rhythm when they are constantly changing from pitch to pitch. The fact these girls can be 40-4 with this manner of pitching says as much about the hitting as it does the pitching, IMHO.

Dusty, I appreciate your concern about the difference between me and your daughter. But let me say it this way, if she works on it NOW she will be ahead of the curve (pardon the pun) later. Just because I can throw a pitcher better now than she can does not mean the mechanics used should be different. Think of little league baseball pitchers: they are taught to use the same mechanics as MLB pitchers. While MLB guys can throw faster and sharper breaking pitches, that doesn't mean the mechanics being taught are different. The same goes for hitting. The other thing is: be patient. It may take her a year to learn how to inshoot a dropball, but it will come with time. No pitcher was born able to do this, it takes practice and dedication.

Bill
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
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Dallas, Texas
Hey, Nelson allowed only one run in three games against the ever powerful "Longwood Lancers" from Farmville (I kid you not, Farmville), VA.
 
Nov 6, 2008
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“And I still maintain that this goofy step left, throw right thing is not needed for it to happen. I pitched this past weekend and threw a lot of inside pitches without needing to step left!“

Bill,

With all due respect, I would have to disagree with some of what you posted but agree in principal to the rest.

I agree that many who are claiming to throw the screw are doing nothing of the kind. However, when taught properly and the left to right angle taken advantage of it is a very effective pitch at any level. The fact that Nelson was outpitched in the finals of the WCWS does not detract from her usual domination of the best teams in the college game, leaning heavily on the screwball. The L/R angle set up, far from being unnecessary is what enhances the effectiveness of the pitch. The effectiveness of the angle is recognized to the point that the NCAA has tried to limit this advantage to the pitcher by outlining the pitching lane and calling illegal pitches for stepping out too far.

Having said that, I believe that many pitching coaches are teaching the in/out pitches first because they are easier to master and it provides faster results than mastering the up/down pitches, especially the rise. With an average screw and curve, most pitchers can be very successful in high school and some levels of travel ball. This success can breed reluctance to look at the long term necessity to master and be able to spot the drop and rise. College coaches who are considering recruiting my students tell me that they want someone who can go down, up and throw a good change up. They tell me that In/Out pitchers have become the norm, while those with a legitimate drop and rise are the novelty. They see a curveball pitcher as being a liability due to the curve’s vulnerability to being hit out.

Your video has greatly simplified the teaching of the riseball. After years of teaching the traditional method of teaching the rise, I bought your video and have modified how I teach it. Lets face it, the pitch is difficult and takes work to develop. I highly recommend your video on the rise.
 
Aug 21, 2008
848
28
Well said. However, I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

Listen, I've been pitching a pretty long time and have had some decent success myself. I have no idea how to throw a "screwball" that moves like these people believe it does. And I'll go to my grave saying that pitchers who have THAT MUCH success with it has more to do with bad hitting than it does good pitching. Pitches that stay on the same plain are going to get destroyed by good hitters. I confirm this theory a lot when I throw BP to college teams to help get myself in shape for the coming seasons. I cannot believe what I see in terms of the swings, reactions, and adjustments for what I throw at them. When I do this, I am not throwing much more than 50mph with ZERO leg drive. All I do is make the ball go up and down, with some changing of speeds. In many cases, I see better swings out of my 5 yr old son who closes his eyes and swings for the fence. It has nothing to do with the endless debates of Rotational vs. Linear swings. Personally, I think so many of these kids are taught "swing mechanics" that they have no idea how to put those mechanics into actual use when a ball is moving. In essence, it seems they are taught how to swing but not how to hit a ball or what to look for.

You're right. The NCAA put those lines in there to control that sideways movement. Personally, if I was a college coach I'd teach my hitters how to read that sideways movement which would make the step pointless. Let them go sideways, then we KNOW which way they are going to throw!

I know I'm biased but, it just amazes me how the answer to everything is to take something away from the pitcher to "balance the game". Bats and balls today are incredible, yet pitcher needs to keep 2 feet on the rubber. Too many strikeouts... ok lets move the rubber back and shrink the strikezone. Hitters aren't taught how to read a pitcher... ok lets put lines down and keep her confined. Meanwhile, lets let slappers run out of the box, baserunners leave early, let state of the art composite bats into the game, lets use bright yellow balls to help the hitters see it better, etc. The answer is always to dumbdown one side of the game rather than tell the other side to get better.

Now I say this in a contradiction because I believe teaching a pitcher to step sideways is incorrect. But as someone who also hits.. I would welcome that as a batter cause I'd know what pitch is coming. Most of these college coaches are not even attempting to read/pick what the pitcher is throwing (which baffles me). Case in point: A few years ago, when AZ vs TN in the finals and the AZ pitcher baffled everyone with her change up. TN said they "practiced' hitting change ups before the final game. Huh?? how do you practice that?? you can't. But even if they only watched AZ's pitcher with one eye, they could see it coming from the plate. When you know what pitch is coming, that's 75% of the battle. Now, imagine TN's success if the hitters KNEW exactly when she was going to throw it. It's not very complicated if you know what to look for.

Thanks for the compliment on the Riseball video. Most people don't want to do what it actually takes to throw a riseball so they 'cheat' and do the lean back thing with wild spin. It IS the hardest pitch to learn because there cannot be any flaws in the motion, it's not my rule, it's the way it is. I did not invent how to do it.

Bill
 
Feb 8, 2009
266
0
Anyone who says the ball doesn't actually move, whether it "screws", or spins sideways, or whatever, is delusional.It doesn't have to break a foot to be considered moving. I believe the screwball has become so popular because so many hitters have been taught to hug the plate to take away the outside corner. It would be natural to work on a pitch that potentially jams the hitter.
 

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