One of the challenges of working with younger fastpitch softball pitchers is getting them to understand the importance of maintaining good posture during the pitch.
You want them to be upright, with a firm, straight posture and plenty of front side resistance. But what you get instead is more of a hunched over look.
There can be a variety of reasons for it. One is that they don’t have the core strength to maintain good posture, especially at the younger ages.
More often than not, though, it’s either inexperience or a desire to keep the pitch from going high. They figure if they schlump their shoulders down, or bend at the waist, that will help them keep the ball down.
Unfortunately, the opposite will most likely occur due to Coach Ken’s law of opposites, i.e., to make a ball go down you must first go up.
Now, you can tell them to stay up straight, but the words alone aren’t always meaningful. Sometimes you need to illustrate it more for them.
To do that I will tell the pitcher that she has the choice of being a servant or a queen. A servant stands with her shoulders bowed and head down. A queen stands up straight, with her head up. Then I ask her – which would you rather be, a servant or a queen?
I have yet to have anyone answer servant. So I tell them if you want to be a queen, finish like one. If they bend over while pitching, I can then ask them if they were a servant or a queen? That’s something they understand.
(Another way to make the same point, by the way, is to compare a chimpanzee or baboon to a giraffe. The primate hunches over. The giraffe stands tall.)
So if you’re having trouble getting a pitcher to stay up straight, give this idea a try.