Now is a great time to work on pitching speed

There’s a saying I’ve seen on signs that goes “You can never be too rich or too thin.” For fastpitch softball pitchers, I would add “And you can never have too much speed.”

While speed by itself is not the be-all and end-all of pitching, neither is a lack of speed. The faster you throw, the tougher you are to hit. It’s that simple.

So now, as fastpitch players are (or should be) ending their self-imposed shut-downs and getting ready to start working on next season, this is a great time to work on learning to throw faster.

Why now? Very simple — you don’t have to worry about where the ball goes.

Working on speed requires pitchers to get out of their comfort zones. When that happens, there can be a temporary loss of accuracy until the mechanics lock back in and the faster, harder motion becomes the “new normal” as they like to say.

During the season, a loss of accuracy isn’t good for anyone. But now, at this time of the year, accuracy isn’t at such a premium so pitchers are freer to make adjustments that can set them back a bit in the short run but pay off later in the long run.

Now, of course there is fall ball. For pitchers who are new to a team, or trying to prove that they’re ready to take on a larger role on the same team, a loss of accuracy can be counter-productive. For those pitchers, it might be better to wait until fall ball is over.

For everyone else, though, it’s a good time to start pushing the proverbial envelope and seeing just what you can do.

For those in the North (like me) there’s another good reason to do it now. One of the best drills for building pitch speed is long toss. But it’s hard to get enough distance to make long toss pay off indoors, in a batting cage or even a gym. But right now, you can go out onto a field and just keep backing up until the ball doesn’t reach the plate anymore. Do that once or twice a week, and give it all you’ve got, and you’ll start to see that speed go up.

I know the summer of 2012 seems like it’s a long ways away. But for pitchers it’s not. Get after it now so you’re ready when next summer (or spring for you HS pitchers) comes.

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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 September 4, 2011, in Pitching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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