Sharpening the rollover drop
As I have mentioned before, one of the ongoing challenges of coaching is finding new ways to say the same thing. It goes back to Einstein’s definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
In the area of coaching, you will have a way of explaining something that works. Then all of a sudden it doesn’t for one student. No matter how many times you repeat the same phrase, it doesn’t seem to do any good. Insanity. So you have to find another way to obtain the results you want.
Recently I had one of those discoveries while working with a couple of kids on their rollover drops. I teach both the peel and rollover, depending on the student and which I think will work best for her. I used to teach the rollover exclusively. Now I teach more peel by far. But I still do both.
In any case, the rollover drop wasn’t quite working the way it should. It was starting too low and not breaking enough. I tried my usual explanations of what to do, but they didn’t help. Then I suggested using the wrist less and the forearm more. Suddenly it was like a lightbulb came on. By emphasizing the forearm, the hand came up higher, starting the ball around the hip, and the spin rate was greater, resulting in a flat pitch with a sharp downward break.
I don’t know if it will work for every pitcher. But it did for these two. I’ll keep using that cue — at least until someone else requires me to invent a new one.
Posted on March 28, 2009, in Coaching, Pitching. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Hello KenI am a student teacher in Manitoba and got asked to be the pitching coach for a high school team. I pitched in the NCAA but I didn’t throw the roll over, i threw the peel. I am wondering if you could send me some drills and pointers on how to teach my player. Thank youJen Falk
Hi Jen, Congratulations on your position as pitching coach. I am always glad to hear about players giving back to the game! Sorry it took so long to get your comment posted. It got caught in the approval process instead of going right up for some reason. Did you want me to email the tips and drills, or just post them here? I can do either – or both for that matter. There are two things I can think of offhand. The first is to play the hand slap game with the pitcher to get her the idea of turning the hand over quickly. That’s the one where you stick your hand out palm up, the pitcher lays her hand on top of yours palm down, and then you try to slap her hand before she can pull away. If you roll your wrist over you can win almost every time. Once you’ve demonstrated, have her try to hit your hand. The other is to have the pitcher hold a basketball in her hand, palm up. Then have her turn her hand over and dribble the ball – what is basketball is called “palming.” That, again, gets the idea of turning the hand over quickly. I like having the pitcher get her weight somewhat forward on the drop, whether that’s a peel or a rollover. She does that by driving out as hard as on any other pitch but pulling the foot down slightly early. As for how much shorter, I usually have the pitcher throw a fastball, then mark where her heel lands. That’s where her toes should go on the drop. One last “trick” is to use a swim noodle to teach the pitcher not to drop her shoulders, arm or hand too low. I place it knee high about three feet in front of the pitching rubber. It’s actually low enough that it’s unlikely the pitcher will hit it, but the psychological impact is that the pitcher stays high. Hope that helps. I’ll see what else I can think of.