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The Different Softball Pitches: Drop Ball, Rise Ball, Changeup, Curve and Screw Ball

As you progress from a beginning pitcher to an advanced-level pitcher, you are going to learn different softball pitches. As a young pitcher, fastballs down the middle are often enough to get by. As you advance, you'll find fastball anywhere over the plate just don't cut. The only way you're going to make it at the higher levels of the game is to be able to throw pitches that move. Here is a list of the most common softball pitches along with a short description of what they are.

The Changeup

The changeup is typically the second pitch learned by a fastpitch softball pitcher. It is typically thrown 20-30% slower than the fastball. The bigger difference in speed between this pitch and the fastball, the better. The goal of the changeup is to throw the batter's timing off and keep them guessing as to the speed of the next ball being thrown. Different coaches teach different ways to throw the changeup, with the most common being the rollover, the flip and the horseshoe. It doesn't matter which one you throw, as long as there's a good difference in speed and the wind-up looks the same as your fastball.

Drop Ball and Rise Ball

Two different softball pitches that go hand in hand are the drop ball and rise ball. No big surprise here, the drop ball drops and the rise ball rises. A pitcher who masters each of these pitches can really keep the batter guessing as to where the ball is going. Follow a good drop with a good rise and watch as the batter misses the rise by a mile.

The drop ball is throw by putting downward spin on the ball. The more the ball rotates toward the ground, the more pronounced the drop will be. This is another pitch that is taught various ways. Common drop ball include the rollover and the peel. A pitcher who can throw a good drop will see a lot of ball hit on the ground where the infield can make plays.

The rise ball is the exact opposite of the drop. A good rise spins upwards and appears to defy gravity. It looks like it jumps up as it nears the batter. A batter thinks they are swinging at a fastball only to find they've missed it as it hops up over the bat. Many successful pitchers are successful because they've mastered the rise.

The Curve and the Screw Ball

Two more pitches  that keep a batter guessing are the screw and the curve ball. The curve breaks away from a right handed batter, while the screw ball cuts in toward a right handed batter. These are good pitches to throw out of the zone when ahead in the count. If the batter does swing at them, they'll often miss entirely or hit them off the end of the bat or the handle. A pitcher with a good screw ball and curve will see a lot of soft hits that are easy to make plays on.

Learning different softball pitches is key to continuing to advance your skills.

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