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Throw Movement Pitches That MOVE!

Pitchers learning movement pitches often struggle to get them to move in the right direction. A movement pitch that doesn't move is nothing more than a meaty fastball that will often get taken deep. There are a few things pitchers need to concentrate on to improve the effectiveness of their drops, curves, rise balls and screw balls.

The first thing is not to try to learn too many pitches at once. It's common for coaches and parents to push a beginning pitcher to learn too many pitches at the same time. This results in all of the pitches looking pretty much the same. The drop looks like the curve which looks like the rise ball, which all look like a juicy fastball down the middle to the batter. It's best to concentrate on one pitch at a time, not moving on to other pitches until the pitcher is able to consistently throw the pitch they're learning with the proper spin and movement.

No matter what movement pitches a pitcher is learning, the spin on the ball is what creates movement. Point blank, the ball will move in the direction it's spinning. Drop balls have to spin towards the ground, rise balls have to spin away from the ground and screw balls and curves have to spin in the direction you want them to break.

The speed of the spin dictates how much the ball will break, and even when the break starts. To get a ball to move more, the pitcher must add more spin to it, and the spin must be in the right direction. A common problem with many of the movement pitches is balls that spin like a bullet. The bullet spin indicates an incorrect snap, and no matter how much spin the pitcher gets on the ball, it isn't going to move much.

A perfect pitch will spin only in the direction you want the ball to drop. For example, the perfect drop ball will spin exactly from top to bottom. This is tough to get right. A lot of pitchers throw balls that spin at as much as a 45 degrees away from the exact top to bottom spin. These pitches can still move, but will need to be thrown with more spin to get the same amount of drop.

Softball pitching drills that concentrate on getting the snap right will help pitchers learn to impart the correct spin on the ball. A good tool to help with this is the TightSpin Trainer. It is a ball that is held at the release point of the pitch you're working on with the pitcher. They grip it just like a regular ball and twist it in the direction of the pitch. It can be adjusted so it requires a large amount of force and will help pitchers improve both spin and the direction of the spin.

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