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Softball & Baseball Practice Drills
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We do a lot of drill work, along with pitching. Two myfavorites came to me from Doug Gillis, US National Men's team member. I find that many young pitchers have their weight too far forward, even bending at the waist on delivery. In addition, many don't use their back leg by driving it forward. As Doug worded it to me when I first worked with him, "think about most really good pitchers you've seen. Most have their weight back and, when throwing a rise, almost falling or stepping back." I went back and viewed old game tapes, Michele Smith, Susie Parra and other instructional tapes. Of course he was right, and I knew that intuitively. But I digress. Here are two simple drills we do every day to keep weight back, have a firm front leg, drive the back leg and stay on the line of force (all in one drill).

1) From an open-hipped position (front foot toward the target/catcher), the pitcher does a snap drill, driving the back knee in to the front knee. Then she immediately takes a step back with the back leg. It almost has the feeling of "falling" back. The pitcher should fall back along the straight line of force. If she goes to either side, she was off-stride or off-balance.

1a) Same drill, but when the pitcher drives the back knee to the front, she stays there, on balance, until the catcher throws the ball back.

2) From the pitching plate, the pitcher repeats drill 1, but with her full motion. In order to do this drill, the pitcher should be throwing at maybe 75%. We don't want to teach her to drive and step back on every pitch.

2a) Same as 2, but from a pitching motion. I have to remind my pitchers who are just now learning how to throw a rise ball, that the lower body mechanics for a rise ball should not be carried over to a fast ball. After all, most pitchers in NCAA D-III are very successful without a rise ball (though this is changing).

We try to end each of our practices with a speed/strength drill. These can be long toss, speed circles, triple-arm circles, etc.

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