- Aug 21, 2008
Gonna have to disagree with Sluggers on part of his reply. I don't think there's a difference in speed of any kind between a "fastball" and a drop. My thoughts on having a "fastball" to begin with are well known, about how silly that pitch is to have.As a quick note: There is no peel drop. There is no roll over drop. The mechanics are the same. The difference between a fastball and a drop is the speed of the IR of the forearm. The faster the IR, the more 12-6 spin you get.
There are two parts to increasing spin on a drop ball:
a) Increase speed of forearm rotation.
b) Finger snap at release
The palm goes from:
(1) Palm up at 9
(2) Palm facing 3B
(3) Palm facing home at release. (This is mandatory, of course.)
(4) Palm facing 1B.
(5) Palm down.
For a normal fastball, the IR rotation is slow. For a drop ball, the IR rotation is faster. The rotation is compressed.
I've attached a picture of Sarah Pauling. The picture on the left is her throwing a fastball. The picture on the right is her throwing a drop. The palm rotates to facing 1B sooner on the drop than for a fastball. This means that the IR is faster, which results in greater spin on the ball than the normal fastball. Attached is Folkard throwing a drop ball. Notice that the palm is facing 3B and the hand is below his belt.
The next picture shows the positions of my DD's hand and Sarah's hand after release of a drop ball. In both pictures, you see how quickly the hand has gone from facing 3B to facing 1B.
The final picture shows Sarah Pauly's hand and my DD's hand immediately after release. Notice the weird position of the fingers and thumb. My DD says that the thumb and fingers "snap" at release. A good drop occurs whenever she heard an audible snap of the fingers and thumb at release.
This is the drill my DD came up within college to work on her drop ball release. If she was having trouble with her drop, she would do this drill.
The first pitch is so-so. The next two pitches are *BAD*. The ball has a tremendous amount of top spin on the ball. However, the release is too late, causing the ball to jump forward. The fourth and fifth release are good. When the ball goes back up, the pitch is good. When the ball jumps forward due to the top spin, the pitch is bad.
The difference between a "fastball" and a dropball is simple release point. That's it. Don't over complicate it. ASSUMING she has good rotation on the ball, if her "fastball" has a drop to it, then she's already throwing a drop. The difference between that dropball and a "fastball" is where she releases the ball. The later of a release, the more of an upward trajectory the ball has out of hand and stays flat. The earlier release (combined with straight spin) means the ball doesn't have to fight that upward angle and the spin will take over make it drop.
As I've said before, the hardest part of the dropball is the simplicity of it. It's not pulling up on the ball to "peel" it hard. That simply doesn't make sense to refute the whip generated in the pitch by telling someone to pull up on the ball at release. That contradicts everything else trying to be done in throwing a ball hard. And the turn-over drop? Well, I still think 99% who throw this pitch actually roll the ball off the fingers (like a natural peel drop) then they do all those crazy motions of turning the hand over or having some big exaggerated move with the shoulder..... but the ball is already gone!!!!!!!!1 All those goofy motions you're doing are pointless because the ball has already been released naturally, so someone please explain all those exaggerated movements!! But the worst part of the turn over drop, the way the majority teach it includes a drastically shortened stride (which also usually means they didn't push off the rubber for power either), then a release and follow through that look 100% different from any other pitch. How does this even make sense to people? If I was a baseball coach, and I said "we're gonna throw our fastball like this.... but then when you throw something with movement, you're going to step wildly to the side (or stride differently somehow) and you're going to alter your release so it completely defies how you try to throw something as fast as possible" NOBODY would listen to anything else I had to say. You'd think "This guy is nucking futs!" But somehow in softball, this is almost considered NORMAL! People buy into this. Because a HUGE portion of the dads out there didn't play fastpitch softball so they simply don't know any better. I don't exactly blame them, without first hand knowledge their going to listen to someone who knows, or claims to know about pitching. And along comes Joe Blow who's degree in pitching comes because his daughter was good. Or even better, your DD's idol is a former US Olympic pitcher who is a great role model, has her own sporting goods line, etc. so you take your kid to her "pitching camp" only to find out she actually pitches 1000000% differently than she teaches.
Everyone, I'm begging you. Please don't start buying into this crap about 9 different pitches. I know some of you are thinking "How did he go from talking about the drop to someone having 9 pitches?" Because this is how it starts. A conversation about the drop, straight rotation that 99.9999999% pitching coaches in the world will agree is correct. But this conversation will take turns such as: well if she does this or that, the ball will ALSO screw or curve.... Then we'll have a CROP pitch. Trust me people, the CROP is a load of CRAP.
A lot of people make pitching infinitely harder than it needs to be.