Sometimes they just miss the point

I was at a lesson tonight (as usual) and got to talking to the parents of one of my students. They have been excited to see the progress their daughter has made, especially since we started back up in late September, and then they told me an amusing story.

There are four pitchers on their daughter’s 12U team (including her). My student actually could be playing 10U but moved up.

Anyway, at a recent practice the pitchers were all warming up, and one of the coaches pointed out that my student was the only one not doing wrist snap drills. Her mom and dad said, “Yes, that’s right” and smiled. (For me, wrist snaps as warm ups are a total waste of time, as I’ve written in previous blog posts.)

Her parents told me the other pitchers go through this elaborate warm-up sequence before pitching. Their daughter is often pitching for 25 minutes (or at least seems like it) before the others get started.

So then I asked the big question: how is she doing compared to the others? Because if she’s not doing what they’re doing, you’d hope she’s doing better.

She is. And that’s the funny thing to me. Despite being younger and smaller than the others, apparently she throws harder and more accurately. If that’s the case, and she’s doing something different from the others, maybe it’s time to question what the others are doing instead?

Just sayin’.

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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 February 1, 2012, in Pitching. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. So then I asked the big question: how is she doing compared to the others? Because if she’s not doing what they’re doing, you’d hope she’s doing better.

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  2. I am one of those that teaches wrist snaps at the start, I am not a pitching coach per say but I need to teach someone in a month before our first game.I teach freshmn who have never played ball before. What would you begin with to these freshmen.

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  3. Hi Roy,Sorry about the delay in getting your comment posted and my response. The blog isn’t supposed to screen comments (other than spam) but sometimes it does anyway. I like to use what’s called backward chaining, which means starting at the end of the pitch and moving back to the beginning. So the first thing I have new pitchers do is stand sideways, spread their feet out wide and work on bringing their arms down elbow-first. Best way to explain it is start with the ball over their heads, facing away from them (toward 3B for a right handed pitcher). They then pull the upper arm down until the elbow is just inside the hip. Once it gets there the forearm muscles pull the hand through. If the arm and wrist are loose they will feel the release as the wrist naturally snaps. The finish should be long and loose. When they get the hang of that, have them do full arm circles while standing in the same position. Then introduce the footwork — feet start together, front foot angled at 4t degrees. Push off back foot with a “jump forward” effort, land with the front foot at 45 degrees, and drag the back foot toes up behind the heel of the front foot. When they get the footwork, have them do it with the ball starting overhead, then a full circle. When they have all that, it’s time to pitch face-forward. With each of the steps you want the body to be open (facing 3B for a right handed pitcher) until the elbow passes the hip. The body should then naturally rotate in to about 45 degrees. Don’t force it — allow it to happen. I find that routine can get them going in a good direction pretty fast. If they don’t have bad habits to break a HS freshman should be able to get to face-on pitching in a half hour to an hour. The key is to keep the arm loose and relaxed so it can whip at maximum velocity. That will snap the wrist faster than you ever could purposely.Hope that helps!

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