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Additional Pitches for the Beginner

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by Gerald Warner, Softball Pitching Instructor
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Are You Ready to Learn the Drop ball, Rise, Curve, & Screwball?

Okay, so we're playing a little trick to get your attention. 

Look, you are a new pitcher…likely with less than 6 months of learning and practicing the correct mechanics.  We DEFINITELY DO NOT recommend that you try to learn breaking pitches yet.  Right now as you are starting out, you need to work on the fundamentals of pitching...learn the correct mechanics, then increase speed, then work on control. At this point, any coach, parent, or pitching instructor who encourages you to throw anything other than a straight, hard pitch with a fair degree of accuracy is doing you a disservice.

We often meet younger pitchers who claim to have a repertoire of four or five different pitches.  But when given the opportunity to throw them, all of their pitches look alike.  Just because a pitcher has read about, or been taught, how to grip and release a curve or a rise doesn't mean that it really works.   Gravity turns any pitch into a drop ball.  And, at 48 miles per hour, the only way a correctly gripped and released rise ball will truly rise is if you can throw it into a gale-force headwind.

Don't be misled.  If a coach or pitching instructor tries to teach a new pitcher a drop ball, a curve, or a rise ball in the first few weeks of instruction, in a short time it will be damaging to the pitcher.  Empty bragging rights today aren't worth the future disappointments.

Learning and implementing the correct mechanics of windmill pitching is, by far, the most important thing a new pitcher can do for the first several months of her career.  Initially, it can be frustrating (especially for a parent or catcher) as a pitcher focuses on proper technique without any regard for accuracy…but throwing a pitch right, even if it goes over the backstop…is worth the initial pain. Then, typically in working with beginning pitchers, we add speed to correct mechanics.  And as this final step in Stage 1, we work on placing the ball where we want it.  Accuracy with speed comes virtually automatically if we have done things right with learning the fundamentals and doing the mechanics correctly.


After several months of hard work and practice on the fundamentals, correct mechanics, speed, and accuracy, THEN most pitchers are ready to proceed with learning one additional pitch.  For some this will come in four or five months.  For others it can be up to a year.

Typically, for a younger pitcher, a second pitch will offer a variation of speed.  Fast balls are fine, but a change of pitch speed can keep a batter guessing and gives an advantage to the pitcher.  Therefore, a change-up, off-speed, or even an off-speed drop ball is generally recommended as the second pitch to learn and develop.

Good pitchers, even good college-level pitchers, rarely have more than three seriously-effective one or two additional pitches that they use less effectively.  Learning new pitches one at a time, then making them work…and with good control…is far more beneficial than having a bag of four or five trick pitches that don't really fool a batter.


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If you have questions or need more information
E-mail us
, or call Pitching Instructor Gerald Warner in Colorado at (720) 200-4575





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