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Wrist Flexion and Extension

Jan 17, 2020
43
8
I assume you are looking for more velocity and feel that squaring up the spin axis to straight top spin will help. There are several ways in which bullet spin might be faster. We know what IR means, you have the upper arm and the forearm. If the two limbs are aligned on the same axis (elbow locked) then the rotation of the upper arm provides no advantage. If the elbow is bent/flexed and the forearm is off axis when the upper arm rotates there is some force multiplication and an increase in velocity. This is pretty much what we label IR. For a bullet spin release to generate additional velocity something else has to happen. One possibility is that the forearm and the wrist/hand have a little IR action on their own. The forearm can also rotate. We don't generally think of the forearm rotating, instead we call it wrist pronation, but it is the forearm. If the ball is off axis when the forearm pronates you have some force multiplication, just like the IR action of the upper arm-forearm. This adds velocity, the wrist may be cupped a little or flat, but the ball must be off the spin axis of forearm.
The other possibility is that as the hand/ball comes into the release the palm faces 3rd base and at release the hand/wrist goes from a position of radial deviation to one of ulnar deviation. To understand radial to ulnar deviation think of the wrist action you use when you hammer a nail. A bullet spin fastball might have either of these actions or a combination of them. It will take some good high speed photography to figure it out and some ingenuity to teach it.
Trying to square up to increase her arsenal, extra mph would be a bonus. You're right, would be pretty tough to teach. A few things to think about when pitching. LOL
 
Aug 21, 2008
1,634
113
I used to think the same way but one thing always confused me, as I posted earlier in this thread, why is it that many high level pitchers throw bullet spin fastballs? Ueno, Scarborough, Finch, Pauly, Garcia to name a few.
I sincerely doubt any one of those ladies actually throws a "fastball". I don't know of any international caliber pitchers who actually do. And I still don't think anyone who throws anything with a bullet spin is throwing the ball as fast as they're capable of. For the same reason a baseball pitcher's curve ball is slower than the fastball, the turn of the wrist breaks the kinetic chain of the whipping motion: elbow, wrist, then fingers. "bullet spin" means the wrist turned at release instead of snapping.

Now you may go to a clinic that someone puts on and they discuss a "fastball" (which I still don't understand why) but to me this is no different than an Olympic pitcher who teaches pitching one way, then turns around and pitches completely different in a game. Moreover, teaching anything with bullet spin (or not correcting it) is a mistake. In a perfect world, a rise will spin backward and a drop will spin forward.. all 4 seams spinning tightly. Out of my hand, I don't want the hitter to initially see which way it's spinning. Now, of course I realize getting backspin is incredibly hard. But, I don't let my students get away with a bullet spin pitch that goes high and call it a riseball. They learn the way I learned, trying to make it spin correctly. Not taking shortcuts. In most cases, the best become the best because they do it correctly not because they say "good enough" with where the ball finishes.

I realize I'm fighting an uphill battle with wishing the term "Fastball" would disappear in softball. And it's equally maddening to read about a "bullet spin fastball", where that dot in the middle of the ball gives the hitter a target to swing at, while the ball has ZERO movement to it. I just don't understand the logic behind that. As hitters age and gain experience, that pitch (or any kind of "fastball" without any movement) will have zero place in the pitcher's arsenal. So I don't understand why start with it at all at a young age? As I've said for a long time, the hardest part about a dropball is it's simplicity. So many people overcomplicate it, make it harder than it needs to be. THAT should be the first pitch they throw.

I'm not really sure I understand or follow the whole rationale about cupping or curling the wrist during the backswing. Whether a pitcher does that or not, whether they curl the wrist at 12:00 position or not, they still have to uncurl that wrist on the downswing in order to be able to snap the elbow, wrist, and finger sequence. If the wrist is curled at release, it leads to bullet spin and a slower pitch because the wrist will not and can not snap from that position. It makes those wrist flip drills even more meaningless.

I know Armwhip and I disagree about the fastball and/or bullet spin but, that's ok. I've tried it every possible way when I was a young pitcher. Trying to "unlearn" the bullet spin later in life is extremely difficult. I'm not a fan of teaching it to someone at any point. But that's just me.
 
Oct 1, 2014
1,523
113
USA
I sincerely doubt any one of those ladies actually throws a "fastball". I don't know of any international caliber pitchers who actually do. And I still don't think anyone who throws anything with a bullet spin is throwing the ball as fast as they're capable of. For the same reason a baseball pitcher's curve ball is slower than the fastball, the turn of the wrist breaks the kinetic chain of the whipping motion: elbow, wrist, then fingers. "bullet spin" means the wrist turned at release instead of snapping.

Now you may go to a clinic that someone puts on and they discuss a "fastball" (which I still don't understand why) but to me this is no different than an Olympic pitcher who teaches pitching one way, then turns around and pitches completely different in a game. Moreover, teaching anything with bullet spin (or not correcting it) is a mistake. In a perfect world, a rise will spin backward and a drop will spin forward.. all 4 seams spinning tightly. Out of my hand, I don't want the hitter to initially see which way it's spinning. Now, of course I realize getting backspin is incredibly hard. But, I don't let my students get away with a bullet spin pitch that goes high and call it a riseball. They learn the way I learned, trying to make it spin correctly. Not taking shortcuts. In most cases, the best become the best because they do it correctly not because they say "good enough" with where the ball finishes.

I realize I'm fighting an uphill battle with wishing the term "Fastball" would disappear in softball. And it's equally maddening to read about a "bullet spin fastball", where that dot in the middle of the ball gives the hitter a target to swing at, while the ball has ZERO movement to it. I just don't understand the logic behind that. As hitters age and gain experience, that pitch (or any kind of "fastball" without any movement) will have zero place in the pitcher's arsenal. So I don't understand why start with it at all at a young age? As I've said for a long time, the hardest part about a dropball is it's simplicity. So many people overcomplicate it, make it harder than it needs to be. THAT should be the first pitch they throw.

I'm not really sure I understand or follow the whole rationale about cupping or curling the wrist during the backswing. Whether a pitcher does that or not, whether they curl the wrist at 12:00 position or not, they still have to uncurl that wrist on the downswing in order to be able to snap the elbow, wrist, and finger sequence. If the wrist is curled at release, it leads to bullet spin and a slower pitch because the wrist will not and can not snap from that position. It makes those wrist flip drills even more meaningless.

I know Armwhip and I disagree about the fastball and/or bullet spin but, that's ok. I've tried it every possible way when I was a young pitcher. Trying to "unlearn" the bullet spin later in life is extremely difficult. I'm not a fan of teaching it to someone at any point. But that's just me.
Bill - and just to add another point to this issue of "why throw a straight fastball with a blue dot target for the hitter to square up on"....when a kid is practicing or warming up it always seems that a large number of those pitches are fastballs. Can a case be made that that time or those pitches should be focused on movement pitches instead? Can't a warm up of primarily dropballs for instance, be more productive?
 
May 15, 2008
1,094
83
Cape Cod Mass.
In the video of Finch in the lab where she breaks the plate of the instrument she throws bullet spin. She was in there to have her speed measured so I assume she was throwing her fastest pitch (fastball???).

In the video of Ueno in the lab where they are taking high speed video of her motion with the red and white ball, she is throwing bullet spin.

In the Power Drive video of Scarborough she throws bullet spin.

it's possible that they never throw that spin in games.

I'm not making a judgement on the usefulness of bullet spin in games. However when asked to throw a pitch for an experiment or a video these pitchers all threw bullet spin.
 
Feb 6, 2020
61
8
I'm a little confused on what the expected spin should be when using IR correctly. I read through some of BM "What do I Mean" thread but I'm still not sure. I was under the impression that 1-7 spin was ideal but saw it described as 12-6 but spinning towards the batter (RP to RH) Would the spin be an indication of rotating to early or releasing the ball to late compared to when the whip is happening? (so gyro would be releasing to early in the whip before the forearm had rotated? Releasing to late would have 11-5 spin from catchers point of view from RP?) or can any of these be achieved with proper IR and the spin can be a function of something else?
 
May 15, 2008
1,094
83
Cape Cod Mass.
I understand your confusion and I don't think it's very well defined, but then it is a bit complicated. A clock has two dimensions but space has three. If you look straight at a clock and one hand is on the 12 and the other is on the 6 that's 12-6 spin, it seems simple. Now keep the clock straight up and down but angle it 20 degrees in the horizontal plane so that the right side (3 o'clock) comes closer to you and left side moves away. Apply this to a spinning ball. Imagine a ball with a spin axis that is horizontal but perpendicular to direction of the pitch, that's perfect top spin, some would call it 12-6. Now let's keep the axis horizontal but rotate it toward a RH hitter 20 degrees. Technically it's still 12-6 but it's not pure top spin.
 
May 15, 2008
1,094
83
Cape Cod Mass.
(so gyro would be releasing to early in the whip before the forearm had rotated? Releasing to late would have 11-5 spin from catchers point of view from RP?)
This correct if you are talking about the ball rolling off the finger tips. In my experience bullet spin/gyro is usually the result of having the palm facing the plate/fingers pointing at the plate, but with the ball coming off the side of the index finger, between it and the thumb. If you look closely at Amanda Sarborough's release in the latter half of the video that Ken posted you can see the ball comes off the index finger last.
 
Feb 6, 2020
61
8
Thanks, I was looking for good indication of correct IR while catching and was hoping I could just tell from the spin. The biggest issue we run into sometime is more of a 11-5 spin that I'm assuming is for either rotating early or releasing late. There doesn't seem to be a much of a difference in speed at least though.
 

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