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   Three Essential Contributors to Pitch Speed

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by Gerald Warner, Softball Pitching Instructor

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There are three primary phases of the pitching sequence

that contribute to the speed and control of the pitch.


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           Explosive drive off the rubber       Weight back on the downswing         Pushback on the stride leg


These are the common elements of virtually every high-velocity pitcher.  These photos  were selected at random from analyses of hundreds of pitchers from 12 to 21-years old.



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Similar to a sprinter coming off the starting blocks, it is the speed of a pitcher’s drive off he rubber that lays the groundwork for a fast pitch.  Although many pitchers are told to focus on the length of their stride, explosive speed is essential.   A pitcher needs to feel that she has a “spring” in her pushoff leg, so when she transfers her weight and leans into the pitch, she can drive fast off the rubber.




Many pitchers make a larger arm circle by reaching back (toward 2nd base) as they reach the “open trunk”  halfway point in their arm rotation.  As seen here, it is common for a pitcher to actually tilt her upper body backwards and reach back toward 2nd base to get a larger, better “whip” of her arm down through the release of the pitch.



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The same resistance that a hitter gets from her front leg at the point of contact, a pitcher needs to “set up a wall” and use her stride leg as the resistance for the final downswing into the release of a pitch.  At the release point the pitcher’s:
(1) landing leg is straight at a 15 to 25 degree angle, (2) upper body is erect, and (3) well back from the front foot, (4) shoulders are three-fourths (or less) closed, and (5) hips are halfway (or less) closed.


The most common mechanics elements in virtually all experienced, high-speed pitchers are:

(1)   Good body lean and low explosive pushoff to get a fast drive off the rubber

(2)  An extra “reach back – weight back” effort she puts into her downswing

(3)  Getting “strong front wall” resistance from her landing leg, and finishing tall



NOTE:  The printable version of this article (below) contains additional photos.

This article above can be downloaded and printed from Microsoft Word

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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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