April 6, 2011

Softball Pitching Drills - Gun It

Purpose: Measure pitching speeds of youngsters, and teach how varying speeds will fool hitters.  Varying pitches truly help in softball pitching.

Procedure: Rent, purchase, or borrow a radar gun. Measure speeds from behind the backstop. For advanced players, use the radar gun when teaching the fastball vs. change up speed which should differ in mph, When pitching the fastball and basic change up, the arm action should be the same. This disguises the different pitches, so a batter can’t tell which one is coming. Simply alter the grip and ball placement in the hand. The changing of speeds keeps hitters off-stride. The radar gun also reveals velocity. Scouts like to compare speeds for purpose of consistency. During games the gun can be used for measuring velocity each inning, and monitoring whether or not a pitcher is tiring and may be losing some speed on the fastball. Professional teams have a coach behind the backstop of every game charting each pitch, location (strike or ball), and most likely velocity. Note that velocity is measured at the point of release —not when the ball reaches home plate. Because kids love to throw as hard as they can, make sure everyone is warmed up and loose before trying this activity, and remind them it’s not always strength, but precision that determines the success of a pitcher. When using the radar gun at a camp or clinic competition, use velocity readings to track and record a variety of statistics: the speed of pitchers of different ages, the velocity of each pitcher each day, and stats on the fastball vs. changeup numbers. This ball is for pitching training only, so do not hit it with a bat or throw it on hard surfaces.

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