Learning spins with the TightSpin Trainer
A little while ago I received a very interesting product — the TightSpin Trainer from Spintech. It looks like a softball on the end of the handle of a paint roller handle, but it’s a lot more than that. There is actually a braking wheel that allows you to adjust the tension to go from free spinning to very difficult to turn.
The manufacturer says that the TightSpin Trainer was originally developed to help pitchers build wrist strength. I can see where it would. The idea is you turn the ball 20 times in a row, quickly and powerfully. As the pitcher finds it easier to turn, you increase the tension. In that aspect it’s like any other weight lifting program. In conversations with George at Spintech, he says a pitcher can add 3-4 mph by training regularly with it.
I have not been able to confirm that part yet. But what I have discovered is that it’s excellent for helping pitchers learn the wrist snap for the curve ball. I have used it with several pitchers, and every single one was able to improve the spin on the ball after 10-20 turns of the unit.
This is important because true curve ball spin can be difficult to learn (as detailed in my post Getting Proper Spin on the Curveball). You have to be able to get the hand under the ball, palm up and fingers pointed to the side. And you have to be able to snap the wrist sharply from side to side rather than upwards as with a fastball or peel drop.
When pitchers are struggling with the curve ball, both of those aspects become a problem. The TightSpin Trainer helps them learn it quickly. Here’s how to make it happen.
Start by having a coach, parent or friend hold the handle straight up and down, with the ball at the bottom. The pitcher then grasps the ball palm-up. Don’t worry about getting the proper grip relative to the seams. Any grip will do. Then instruct the pitcher to snap the wrist quickly. Odds are she will turn it slowly and/or just a little bit. Encourage her to snap it quickly. Watch out for the elbow flying out — make sure it stays tucked in. Once she has the feel of turning it properly, go back to pitching.
The TightSpin Trainer can also be very effective for training the rollover drop. It is another pitch that requires the wrist to move in a direction that is other than the standard up-snap.
One of the nice things with the TightSpin Trainer is that it comes with an instructional DVD if you catch it at the right time. Otherwise the DVD is $14.95. The DVD is helpful for learning how to use it — especially for me, who thought it should always spin freely.
Cost for the TightSpin Trainer is $39.95. In my opinion it’s well worth the price. Especially with its “guarantee with teeth” — if you haven’t increased your strikeouts in 90 days after following the program, call them and you’ll get your money back. Can’t beat that.
If you’re looking to improve the spin of various pitches, or just want to increase wrist strength, check out the TightSpin Trainer.