softball pitching instructor,fastpitch,pitch softball,softball pitcher,softball pitching coach,power line, line of force, arm whip, wrist snap, peel drop, rollover drop, stride, Gerald Warner, pitching lessons, softball pitching instructor, rise ball, curve ball, screw ball, crow hop, leap, drag, pitching coach, circle change, flip change, Colorado, Highlands Ranch
  For More Speed -
PitchSoftball HomeBeginning Pitchers1st-2nd Yr. PitchersAdvanced PitchersCoaches & ParentsRecent QuestionsSearch by KeywordsPitcher EvaluationsE-Mail Us

by Gerald Warner, Softball Pitching Instructor

pitch softball logo 2.png



“Stay Tall” and "pull your shoulders back" and “have a firm front side”.  We always encourage pitchers to finish heir pitching rotation by bringing their shoulders back and having their body upright (no bending at the waist). 


But it is the LOWER portion of a pitcher’s body that can GREATLY improve the speed and control of her fastest pitch.  For leaping-style pitchers (the majority of female pitchers are  “leapers”),  the whole sequence of lower-body pitching “mechanics” is based on three important stages: 

(1) a powerful push-off from the pitching rubber

(2) a strong, fast, and long stride

(3) a push-back against the stride leg as the pitching arm

                  comes down through the release point


The smaller percentage of pitchers who use the "stepping style" take a

shorter stride without leaping.  "Steppers" depend largely on their upper
body strength.   Therefore, the specific mechanics for shorter-stride
stepping-style pitchers are different from what is being discussed here. 
This article does not apply to fastpitch pitchers using that style.


 Sir Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion says that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.    With a “leaping” method of softball pitching, at the end of the stride the push-back against the stride leg serves as the resistance (or “reaction”) for the action of the arm as it does its final downswing into the release of the pitch.




Therefore, a leaping-style pitcher must have a strong, fast push-off from the pitching rubber in order to drive her stride leg out fast and far.  


arm whip 2.jpg






Then the power, speed, and landing of the stride determines how effectively the pitcher can push back against her stride leg to give her the resistance for a hard final arm “whip” to throw the ball with maximum speed:


A good landing of the stride leg is with the knee slightly bent to “cushion” the leg as the pitcher’s weight is temporarily shifted forward.  But then, just as in batting, the pitcher “blocks” or “builds a wall” with the stride leg, and pushes back against it.   Often, especially with young pitchers, the stride leg is slightly bent at landing, but then bends even more which substantially reduces the pushback against the leg, and virtually eliminates the possibility of throwing a good, fast pitch:

beginning pitcher 2.jpg   hip close ep.png
       Bent knee...slower pitch                       Good pushback...good speed


Even though the length of the stride is important (usually 90% to 125% of the pitcher’s height), to work on increasing a pitcher’s speed, we always look at the power and quickness of the stride to allow for a “blocking” or hard push-back against the stride leg at the end of the pitch sequence.   Ideally, we want the pitcher to have these positions as the precise point that the pitch leaves her hand:


(1)    Her stride leg which was slightly bent at landing, has straightened, and is at an angle of 15 to 20 degrees  (more for rise ball, less for drop ball)


(2)   She is pushing back against her stride leg


(3)   Her upper body is approximately one-third of the way back from her front foot


(4)   Her shoulders are most of the way closed


(5)   Her hips are halfway (or slightly less than halfway) closed



These photos of pitchers of various ages demonstrate all five of these critical components:


 lisa fernandez intensity.png pitching - shoulders back3.jpg Img28.pnghipsatrelease4.pngrise sequence 3.png

If you want to maximize YOUR pitching speed…and have good control of your pitches, always work on correctly finishing your pitch:


·        Upper body upright at the release

·        Push back against your stride leg

·        Shoulders most of the way closed

·        Hips halfway or less closed at the release


This article above can be downloaded and printed from Microsoft Word



Do you want to reprint this article or use it on your website or in your newsletter?   
As long as it is not for profit, our only requirement is that you first notify us, then include the following sentence:
Article by Gerald Warner of
and include a reference to this website: 

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



PitchSoftball Home Page | About Us | Beginning Pitchers | 1st & 2nd Year Pitchers | Advanced Pitchers | Coaches and Parents
Recent Questions and Recommendations | Site Map | Search by Keywords  | Does a Rise Ball Really Rise? | Three Critical Phases