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.