Pitch movement in the WCWS

Is it just me, or are the pitches in the WCWS not moving as much as the announcers are saying? I’ve been watching on a DVR, and when they show a view from behind the catcher I’ve been putting it into super slow motion.

I already knew the rise ball doesn’t really rise at the end. In fact, it seems like with the better pitchers it sort of flattens out at the end. But watching even curves and screws it seems like there hasn’t been a lot of pronounced movement. Especially with Monica Abbott. I really thing she’s throwing hard and fairly straight rather than getting late breaking movement. Whatever she’s been doing has been effective, but I don’t think it’s movement.

Maybe it’s an illusion with the DVR, but often I don’t even see the ball having the correct spin. I just watched a supposed screwball have a spin more like a curve ball. It didn’t seem to break much either way.

Take nothing away from these pitchers. Both are terrific. But if you watch closely, are you really seeing a lot of ball movement?

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on June 7, 2007, in General Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. How much movement can you really expect when someone is throwing in the 70’s consistantly from 43 feet?

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  2. Robbie, good point. And how much movement do you really need if you can throw it that hard either, I suppose?When they would show the pitches from behind it seemed like there was more side-to-side movement, but that could’ve been angular movement rather than a change of direction. I did wonder from behind if maybe the camera angle was the problem. We weren’t looking directly from behind so that may have made a difference on what I thought I saw. Or it just may not move that much for the reasons you state. Whatever, it was certainly an exciting WCWS.

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  3. I didn’t see much movement either, but what I loved was how they proved the importance of the change-up. That pitch is so deadly when accompanied by a good fastball. Goes to show you don’t need 10 pitches to choose from. It can be just as effective (and better for the arm and probably confidence as well) to learn 2-3 pitches as best you can. Learn to hit spots with those pitches and you can beat anyone. Having a huge arsenal sounds impressive until you get slapped around because you don’t know how to throw any of them correctly.

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  4. Right on Mike. I’ve been preaching that for years. This stuff with kids throwing six pitches is totally unneccesary in my book. Two or three is plenty. It is much more effective to have a fastball and GOOD change up than it is to have six average pitches. I’m not sure about last years WCWS winner but 2007 and 2005 featured pitchers with wicked chang ups. Heck, It worked pretty good for Greg Maddux.Our girls faced a pitcher from Naperville Diamonds this past weekend that had an awesome change. Did not tip the pitch at all and didn’t take much more than 10 mph off her fastball speed. If you were looking fastball and got the change there was no time to reload and take a whack at it, you just had to doo your best to keep the hands back and poke it somewhere.

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  5. If your facing a Pitcher that you’ve not seen before, and she’s got a good change-up and is able to sell it well, and mixes it with a decent fastball. It’s going to be really tough to hit her effectively. My opinion is to have your kids work on their fastball, changing up their grip (two seam and four seam). This should cause the ball to move a little. Match that with the good sell of a change up, and you’ll have a very effective Pitcher. They don’t even have to be a fire-baller, just teach them to keep the hitters off balance. They may not break any strikeout records, but they’ll produce a lot of ground balls and pop ups, which if you have a decent defense will equal a great ERA.

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