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Tips to Help You Become the Best Softball Pitcher You Can Be

Clopton Lady Hawks vs. Mark Twain Lady Tigers - Softball

I see a lot of young ladies who aren't taking the steps they should be taking to become the best softball pitcher they can be. Many of these pitchers will never reach their full potential because they are making mistakes during practice that will haunt them the rest of their careers. It's frustrating to see a pitcher who has natural talent let that talent go to waste because of poor work ethic or, even worse, poor coaching. Here are a few things you may be doing now that could hurt you later on down the road:

1. Not taking practice seriously. This is the number one mistake I see young pitchers make. They practice because they feel like they have, but they just go through the motions during practice. This is the worst possible thing you can do, because instead of working on mechanics, chances are you'll pick up bad habits. I tell my pitchers that one good pitch during practice is worth more than 100 bad pitches. The way you pitch in practice is going to be the way you pitch during a game. If you're lazy and don't work hard during practice, game time isn't going to be a fun time for you. If you work your tail off in practice, games are going to be a breeze because you've worked hard at becoming the best softball pitcher you can be.

2. Practicing with bad mechanics. I'm not going to go over the mechanics you should be using in this post because they're covered in other areas of this site. What I am going to say is that you are not doing yourself justice by allowing your mechanics to break down during practice. Focus on pitching with good mechanics every single pitch you throw.

3. Sacrificing speed for mechanics. I know I repeatedly beat the whole mechanics thing to death here on this site, but it's important to learn to throw fast from the beginning. Don't slow down your pitches or your wind-up speed just to make sure your mechanics are right. Learn to throw hard from the beginning. The control will come later as you get used to the mechanics and muscle memory kicks in. It's much harder for a pitcher to learn to throw harder after starting off slow than it is to learn how to throw fast from the beginning.

4. Only practicing throwing down the middle. This works in 10-u and maybe 12-u recreational ball, but it will not work as you move into travel ball. Fast balls down the middle get hit, and they get hit hard. Learn to work the corners, especially the low inside and outside corners. The best softball pitchers can paint the corners, enticing batters to swing at pitches that are just outside of the strike zone.

5. Fail to learn pitches other than the fastball. Learning the fastball is important, as it is the basis for pretty much every other pitch you will learn to throw. As a young pitcher, it's important the fastball mechanics are practiced until they become ingrained. As a pitcher matures, a good change-up and movement pitches become more important than the fastball. Batters get smarter and it's important to keep them guessing. A pitcher who only throws a fastball is easy to figure out, because the only thing the batter has to worry about is location. A pitcher who also has a good change-up is harder to figure out because batters now have to worry about the speed of the ball as well as the location. Add in pitches that move up and down or in and out and you now have a pitcher who is able to keep batters confused as to what's coming next.

Use these tips to become the best softball pitcher you can be.

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