Rounding third and heading for home... - This is a line from the classic "Centerfield" by John Fogerty. Referring to baseball, this song always brings up memories of the start of baseball season. With spring training starting, it's time to start the outdoor recreational leagues. Softball has long been the recreational sport for the baseball buffs and pitching is the key to starting a great team. Here are three tips for getting your slow-pitch softball pitching off to a great start.
Bring on the heat!
- Avoid the middle - Keep the ball low and avoid the middle of the plate. Any time the ball gets up in the zone – the ball can be driven more easily. This is true of any baseball, but especially slow-pitch where the batter must generate most of the power. Keeping the ball low makes it harder to get this power going. Only 22% of all hits come from balls that were below the hitters thigh – low is where it’s at. Also, keeping the ball on the inside or outside of the plate keeps the hitter from being able to comfortably extend their arms. The exact location can depend on the hitter with factors such as whether they crowd the plate or stand back coming into play.
- Put some spin on it – Make sure the ball has some movement. When the ball is coming that slow, it would seem it wouldn’t make any difference. So many times the player gets fooled and either gives up or doesn’t anticipate where the ball is going. This leads to more misses or easy ground balls. One of the most effective pitches is being able to pitch the ball with your hand on top rather than on the bottom of the ball. This forces you to flick the wrist when releasing the ball and gets some really good spin going.
- Vary your rhythm – This is one of the more difficult areas for pitchers. Once you find a nice rhythm it’s hard to vary it. However, this can be one of the most effective strategies there is. Being able to do some quick pitches then back off for a couple can really throw off the timing of the hitter.
With summer fast approaching, it’s time to dust off the glove and softball. With these tips for pitching your team is well on its way to a competitive season.