Why did I get slower?
In a perfect world, when a fastpitch player comes in for softball pitching lessons the first thing that would happen is she would immediately get faster. Unfortunately, often the opposite happens.
A player will come in throwing hard, but wildly and inconsistently due to poor mechanics. Then, as we work on correcting those mechanics, she notices a drop in speed. It’s usually not a lot, but enough to cause her some concern. Some can get quite frustrated, at which point they begin to wonder whether learning new mechanics is worth it.
But seeing a temporary loss of speed is fairly normal. And it makes sense when you think about it.
When that player walks in, she’s usually totally comfortable with what she’s doing. She may not like the results — too many walks or hit batsmen — but she is used to doing what she does. Which means she does it with 100 percent enthusiasm and effort.
When we start to change the mechanics, though, she is then out of her comfort zone. She actually has to think about what she’s doing, and because she is uncomfortable with the new mechanics she tends to be hesitant in her approach. The natural result is a loss of speed.
Think of it in terms of running. If you are assigned to run a 100 meter sprint, and do it with 100 percent effort, you will get a particular time. If you then run another sprint with 80 percent effort, you will almost certainly get a noticeably slower time. You wouldn’t expect it to be any different either.
The same applies to pitching. Until you are comfortable enough with the way you’re throwing the ball to go 100 percent, your speed will be down. But it’s a temporary effect.
Eventually, better mechanics should result in even more speed than you had before; you just have to have a little faith and patience to get there. And you’ll be more accurate to boot. It’s a win-win!