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Too Many Walks

May 9, 2008
New England

I coach 7th/8th graders. Have been coaching some of them since 3rd grade. We had our first game this past Thursday and basically got handed our lunch. The biggest problem was walks. We used 3 different pitchers who all throw the windmill but each of them had different problems and I'm trying to analyze what corrections to make.

I have never pitched fastpitch myself so I attended a clinic a couple of years ago in hopes of helping some of these young ladies. I wrote up the notes from that clinic and have used them along with some very good books. Still it is sometimes difficult for me to analyze what corrections are needed. Be very appreciative if anyone can offer advice. Here is what is happening with the pitchers.

#1: 13 years old, about 5'10"... throws the ball with good speed and most of the time very straight. Problem is consistency. Most of the time she is either too high or too low in strike zone. One thing I have noticed is that she seems to be bending too much instead of standing straight up.

#2: 14 years old, about 5'8", very athletic...throws the ball with too much of an arc. I'm thinking she pitched slow pitch in earlier grades. She is consistenly in line with the plate but when I ask her to lose the arc and give it more speed she throws high. Noticed that her lead foot steps forward without much of a plant towards 3rd base line. I've worked with her to try and correct but goes back to old method too much.

#3: 14 years old, about 5'5"...has good arm speed but very wild. Holds ball too long an ends up throwing too way too high. I've tried to correct by slowing her arm speed down.

If anyone is interested in looking at the notes I wrote from the pitching clinic they are posted here: http://http://www.quabbinvalley.com/skills.html

Intersted in any additions, corrections, suggestions, etc.

Thank You in advance for all replies.



May 9, 2008
Hello! Well,
I have been pitching for 6 years and my cousin has pitched for over 10! She's a wonderful pitcher, and she's helped me ALOT.

When I was too bendy with my pitch's- she literally tapped a yard stick to my back, so that every time I bended too much it would hurt just a tad bit- plus the preasure helped me stay straight a little.

Hope it helps a little. this is a really hard subject to try and explain!!

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
Darrell, tough to say without seeing them pitch, but I'll take a stab at it anyway. Sounds like #1 and #3 have their arms too stiff (with the elbows locked). #2 sounds like she may be leading the ball through the circle.

If this is true, all three would benefit from relaxing the elbow and letting it lead through the circle. From the top of the circle to release the elbow should be driving down, with the ball trailing behind it. Once the elbow reaches the "slot" (a point between the back hip and the bellybutton) the hand should accelerate and sling the ball out. If this occurs, it creates a "lane" that helps control left-right and up-down.

Slowing the arm down is not the solution for #3. She will never be able to develop into a good pitcher that way. Have her work on proper mechanics so she can throw both fast and accurately.

I did read through the notes you posted. Personally, I think a fair part of that is bad advice. You should never have a pitcher practice her release with her shoulders square to the catcher, even on a wrist snap. The release should occur with the body opened up toward third base. There is a small mention of that in the notes, but I think your pitchers will find it difficult to get into the open position based on what I read there. This could be the cause of a lot of problems too.

To get a better idea of what pitching mechanics should look like, check out videos from Michele Smith and Bill Hillhouse. I think you'll find they're different from what your pitchers are doing. Follow the mechanics in those videos and it's a lot easier to be accurate.
May 13, 2008
Bill Hillhouse is great. I went to a coach's program and my daughter went to a 2 day clinic. All of the problems you discussed are easily fixed with proper mechanics. If the ball is going too high she is releasing too late. So, its a matter of release point not how hard she is throwing. The most important think is consistency and mechanics not speed. Speed will come when they grow and become strong, especially is they are athletic. One problem I see, is girls try to pitch fast and hard and end up over throwing. Also, be careful, because the number of pitching related injuries are on the rise in softball. All the stresses that boy have from pitching overhand are present in fastpitch softball.
May 5, 2008

You've got some good recommendations here. I agree with Ken on #3, slowing her down isn't the solution. I've seen a few pitchers who were strong throwers at age 10, but had some problem with consistency. Some days, of course, were better than others. These pitchers had dads or coaches who told them to "slow down" and "throw strikes." The results I see a few years later (now at the 12U division) is that they are slower than they were at 10U AND they are STILL just as inconsistent as they were before and much, much more hittable with the hitters getting better than their pitching really not moving forward much at all.

On another note, I went to a coaches clinic with Cindy Bristow once and the was talking about throwing overhand and about sometimes kids would throw hard, but high. Then they would get all upset because their ball went over the fence. She told us that in that type of situation she would often point out to the player how GREAT their throw was (it went straight, it went fast, they threw to the right base) the only thing wrong was location. So she'd point out that there were 3 things good about the throw and just 1 bad thing. This way they'd realized that they didn't do "terrible" and that there was just 1 simple thing to correct.

She never had the player throw slower or not as hard. Because often times, the same thing I described above happens...they throw slower AND they are still inaccurate. Before the only problem with the throw was where it went. Of course if there were mechanical problems you'd work with them on that too. But the point was that by trying to slow them down you often went from having 1 problem (ball too high or inaccurate) to having 2 (ball is inaccurate and now slow too). So instead of slowing them down, just make sure their mechanics are sound and work on release. I believe the same with pitching.

My daughters fall in to that trap sometimes too, they slow down to try to be more accurate. It never works...they end up still being inaccurate AND then slow on top of that. So I point this out to them and they usually are able to make better adjustments.

Anyway - wishing you the best. The websites mentioned in other posts are also very good ones.