Hawks Softball Pitcher Reflects on the Art of Pitching
I am one of the pitchers for Henry Ford and I have been pitching for almost 10 years now. It all started when my father, who is my motivator when it comes to softball, got me into pitching lessons when I was nine years old. I pitched from sun up to sun down for years and years. It took a lot of heart and motivation to pitch and play as much softball as I did. I would go to pitching lessons once a week, and then batting lessons once a week, and the other five days, I would be pitching in my backyard or in my basement. It was non-stop softball my whole life and sometimes I would want to drop everything and quit but with the motivation from my father and mother, I am glad I did not because I ended up getting a scholarship to Henry Ford for softball and I could not be happier with the decision.
When it comes to pitching, there are many mechanics. The obvious difference is that baseball pitches are overhand while softball is pitched underhand. There are other mechanics to think about as well.
With baseball pitching being overhand, there are way more injuries especially for younger kids. With softball on the other hand there are less injuries and that is because the pitching is natural movement, where baseball pitching is not. With younger kids you have to be careful how much you pitch them because you truly can overpitch someone and it could ruin their career. In baseball, there is a pitch count and usually for major league they do not let them go more than 100 mph as to where softball you can pitch over 100 mph and still feel great the next day. I pitched almost 25 innings over the weekend and yes I am sore but not nearly as sore as a baseball pitcher would be.
Another difference between softball and baseball pitching is that there are many different types of pitches. For softball there is fastball, change-up, rise ball, curveball, screwball, drop-curve, and drop. For baseball on the other hand, you have two seam fastball, cut fastball, slider, knuckle curveball, circle change-up, and split finger fastball.
The last big difference between softball and baseball pitching is the speed. In major league you see them throwing anywhere from 75-105 mph, and softball you will see anywhere from 50-75 mph. But sports science did an episode to see if softball or baseball was harder and turns out softball is harder because the mound is a lot closer. A softball mound is about 45 feet away whereas a baseball mound is about 60. So the reaction time for softball has to be quicker than baseball. Many people think softball is easier because the size of the ball is 12 inches where a baseball is 9.25 inches. But when tested, softball was harder because even though numbers show that a baseball is faster a softball is just as fast, if not faster, because it is from a shorter distance.
The most important thing when it comes to playing any sport is to make sure you stretch well because not doing so can cause injuries and that’s the last thing you want. Mechanics are also very important to avoid injury, and without good mechanics you could not pitch as well.
When I first started, I just wanted to throw strikes and be the fastest pitcher I could be, but unfortunately that is how you throw out your arm. The first thing you want to focus on is actually knowing how to pitch a ball and that is what we call “step by step formation.” You want to make sure you have a good balanced stance on the pitcher’s mound. You want to make sure both feet are touching the mound because if they are not, it’s an illegal pitch. Then, you want to make sure you have a good grip on the ball. For fastballs, you want a stronger grip than you do for any other pitch. Next, you want to physically visualize where the ball is going to go. Have your catcher put her mitt out there so you can see where she wants the ball and visualize the ball hitting that mitt. Now it’s time to put the ball in your mitt and start your motion. You will first lean forward and then get your momentum going and swing my arms back and around and push forward into a hard, firm land and then you will snap off the ball and it should go to where the mitt is.
The 2016 softball season is about half way done. It has been a rough start for the Hawks but my teammates and I keep improving each week. We had 10 games during last week alone. With all the bad weather and rain we have encountered in the last couple weeks, we have to make them up. So far our record is 3-9. We plan on working harder at practices and dominating the rest of the season. GO HAWKS!