In the softball game, catching the ball that comes in the way of the player, to score points for the team is referred to as pitching. Players need to acquire pitching techniques to maintain consistent balance and game action. The pitch generally starts in a grip and end with a follow-through, where the ball is released from the pitcher’s hands. For an accurate pitch, it is mandatory to develop six skills, namely,
- The grip
- The stance
- Wind up
- And follow through.
And accordingly, there are also five types of pitches in the softball game, depending on the technique the player uses to catch it. Let us discuss the five popular pitches of softball here.
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Five Types of Softball Pitches
Most of the beginners will start with the fastball pitch as they are starting the game, but as they advance in their game action, the pitchers should attain a solid command over different types of pitches. What matters the most more than practicing these pitches continuously is knowing where to use them wisely for arsenal efficiency. Successful pitchers keep their balance off-balance and guessing. The five popular types of softball pitches are:
1. The fastball pitch:
Fastball pitching is throwing the ball hard, and this is perhaps the first pitching technique that every pitcher will learn. The pitch should be the main focus of all the softball training as it is the most solid weapon for any pitcher. Fast pitches help in scoring and get hit high marks consistently. To get the most from the fastball pitch, the player should grip the ball across the laces with their fingertips. They can also make use of their legs to maximize power. They can snap their wrist upon release and finish the follow-through, ensuring that the arm is at the height of the chest.
Check out: Best Fastpitch Softball Bats
2. The drop pitch:
This is indeed a tricky pitch that is used to fool the hitters. It is been stated that with the help of this pitch, the players can watch the floor to fall under it. this pitch is thrown nearly in the same motion as that of the fastball, but the grip of the ball is aligned with the laces. To master this pitch, the players should keep their elbows tight, stand tall and snap the ball off the fingertips as they release it. This pitch aims to create a downward spiral motion, thus fooling the batter effectively.
3. The curveball pitch:
The curveball pitch also makes use of the same grip as that of the drop pitch, but the player will twist their wrist slightly, as they release the ball. This motion will cause the ball to spin and also make it difficult for the batters to track back and hit it. by the time, the players have effectively analyzed where the ball is and where it has headed, it is generally too late for even the best hitters to get a good swing.
The curve and drop pitches are also effective in framing the plate. A good pitcher cannot simply throw a fastball but should hope for constant strikeouts as well. When these pitches are done perfectly, they have the potential to freeze the strikeouts and confuse the hitter.
4. The change-up:
This shot is used as an antidote for the fastball. As most of the pitchers use the fastball moves the most, advanced players will have to use an effective change up a strategy to keep the hitters off-balance. To throw this pitch, the players have to hold the ball deep in their hands and grip the fingers around the ball fully. Also, while releasing the ball, they should not snap the wrist and subtly change the dynamics of the throw, without making it look very obvious for the batter. Make sure that this pitch looks more like a fastball in style, substance, and form.
5. The rise ball:
This is the most important yet difficult pitch in the softball game. To master this pitch, the players have to hold the ball with their middle and ring fingers at the spot where the laces of the ball stay close to each other. Dig the ring finger to the lace and place the thumb on top of the ball to begin the release. Then quickly twist the hand so that the palm is facing up, as the ball leaves the hand, to create the exact rising movement that you have been looking for. The pitch is great to use when the batter is behind the counter.
Must Check: Best Fastpitch Softball Gloves
Using all Five Softball Pitches Without Avoiding Injury to the Hand
Most of the pitchers suffer from some common injuries while playing the softball game. The following techniques can help the player from encountering any injury while using these pitches.
a. Overuse injury: Too much pitching or constant repetitive movements can result in injuries of the shoulder muscles and the rotator cuff muscles. To avoid overuse injury, the pitchers should be rotated to render them some rest.
b. Warming up: Softball players should have sufficient warm-up and stretching to avoid injuries to the cold muscles. Warming up sessions should be included both in the practice plan and game strategies to protect their athletes.
c. No follow-through: Pitchers should not stop their arm movement as soon as they let go of the ball, to prevent serious risk of injuries from snapping their arm. Follow-through movements help pitchers to defuse the momentum created by their arm circle to prevent the risk of injury.
d. Save the wrist: Pitchers who bend forward at the waist are running the risk of a wrist injury. This can be prevented by avoiding wrist bends and this comes with practice.
The success of the softball game depends on using these five pitches successfully in the game. But it takes years of diligent practice to use these pitches comfortably in their game. Players should also make sure that they don’t overuse their throws and create damage to the arms. It is optimal to start with the fastball and progress down the other pitches until they are ready to throw the most complicated pitches.