Monday, January 2, 2012

Softball Pitching Tips and Tricks

It's all about the mechanics. When pitching in softball, it's easy to develop bad habits when competing against top-level players. It's also possible to get arm fatigue from overuse. By using the proper mechanics and getting the proper rest, pitchers can avoid or overcome injuries that tend to come with the job.
Overuse is one of the top causes of pitcher arm injury, according to pitching coach Gerald Warner. On many teams at the high school and youth level, teams rarely have more than one top-level pitcher. In an effort to be competitive, many of these pitchers continue to pitch daily even after fatigue sets in. Some pitchers might throw the same pitch with too much frequency. The rollover drop, for example, can cause strain on the pitching arm and lead to injury.
Stretching and Warming Up
Pitchers who warm up properly and stretch before they get in the pitcher's circle are less likely to get hurt while pitching. Running sprints in the outfield is a good way to start getting ready for pitching. Stretching out the hamstrings muscles is also essential for maintaining a pitcher's health. Pitchers also need to throw overhand for 10 to 15 minutes before moving to the pitching rubber and warming up for at least 10 more minutes. Throwing properly before competing in a game will get your shoulder, elbow and wrist prepared for the task.
Bending at the Waist
Pitchers need to take a position on the pitching rubber standing tall. Many pitchers bend over at the waist during the delivery because they think this will give them more velocity. However, bending over at the waist creates strain on the lower back, the shoulder and the arm. This added strain can lead to injuries that can force a pitcher out of action and lead to medical attention.
Chicken Winging
You will notice that when a pitcher is delivering the ball consistently, throwing strikes and building an array of pitches, her arms come from a straight-underneath position. However, pitchers can lose their form and allow their elbow to fly out away from the body just before release. This is called "chicken winging" the ball. The pitcher needs to keep her pitching elbow tight to her body to avoid straining her elbow ligaments. Not keeping the elbow in tight can produce a painful condition that forces a pitcher to the sideline for weeks.

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