7 Jul 2011
You hear it all the time. "It's all in the wrist". They may be talking about anything from bowling to curling. But today you are gonna learn a few quick tips on how to make your wrists and arms stronger for better, quicker spins for fastpitch pitchers.
Fastpitch softball pitching is all about the spin. You have to spin that ball as fast as you can to make it move. Movement is what makes batters strike out, and that's what pitchers love.
Strike 1, strike 2, strrrrrike 3 your out. Next to a "thats my girl" from Dad and Mom, that is the best thing a fastpitch pitcher can hear.
There are so many different drills and exercises out there that it is almost overwhelming. So instead of trying to lay them all on you at once, lets start with some good ones. These are simple ones to do, yet they are some of the most effective spin drills I know of.
1. 100 Rise Spins
2. Wrist Rollers
3. JC Band workouts
4. Rice Bucket
Let's get started with one that doesn't require any extra tools. All you need is a softball and well, your hand. The only thing about this one, is it really only works your throwing hand. I don't really recommend only working one side. So perhaps you could try some spins with your opposite hand too - just to keep you even and balanced.
1. 100 Rise Spins. Start with softball in your throwing hand. Get into your practice position for the Rise ball. Now, just start spinning the ball - tossing it up a few inches, then catching it. immediately spin and toss it back up again. You simpily repeat this 100 times.
Do this as fast as you can, while making the tightest spin you can. Try to get it to spin vertical too. You know, get all your mechanics correct on each spin. But do it quickly and repeat it 100 spins. You will be sore the next day, but it will quickly go away. Try working your time down - do it quicker each time you do this drill.
2. Wrist Rollers. Now this is one that every pitching coach and high school coach uses for tryouts. It is used for lots of sports and it works. Your forearms and hands will get stronger for sure. It is a burner too.
You will need the roller, which is as simple as a dowell rod about 12 inches long with a rope tied to the center of it. On the end of the rope is a heavy weight. The weight can be from 2 lbs. to maybe 10 lbs. The rope is long enough to reach the ground from your waist high.
Ok, simply start rolling the weight down to the floor, then back up as far as it goes. Repeat this as many times as you can for about 45-60 seconds. Take a minute rest, then repeat. Do this for about 5 minutes at first. Extending your time and number of roll ups as you get stronger.
3. JC Band workouts. Ok, here you are going to need some exercise bands. I recommend the JC Bands. They last and they are strong and inexpensive. You will start by attaching one end to a pole or bar or something stable.
Stand with your back to the bands, and your hands at waist high. Palms facing forward. Begin to flex your wrists forward and back. Try doing both at the same time. If this is difficult, do one hand at a time. You do want to do both hands to stay balanced.
You can then turn your palms around facing backwards and repeat the exercise.
Then get into a semi-pitchers stance facing at about 45 degrees to the side. Grab band in pitching hand and with arm long, begin to move through the pitching motion. Start at the hips and move it quickly out front to about the 8 oclock position. Hold it there for about 3 seconds, then slowly go back to start position at your hip. Repeat this for 45 seconds. Then repeat with opposite hand.
Doing this exercise a few hours before a game can actually help to increase your speed. Give yourself time to recover before the game though.
4. The Rice Bucket. The dreaded rice bucket. Oh my, this one is a serious burner but wow does it help. Not only will your spin increase, but your batting and throwing, will all be stronger.
Get a 5 gallon bucket. Go to the grocery store and buy a couple 16 lb bags of cheap rice. Enough to fill the bucket. If the bucket has a lid that is better, keeps the rice longer.
There are hundreds of movements you can do but we'll focus on just a few here. Start by doing each for 30 seconds, work up to 2 minutes or so.
1. Thrust your hands into the bucket, grabbing rice and squeezing and releasing. Squeeze hard as you can. Make it pop out of your hands.
2. Sit on a chair in front of the rice bucket Drive your hands into the rice - trying to work them all the way to the bottom, over and over.
3. Twist your hands inward as you drive them down into the rice
4. Repeat but Twist them outward Repeat but grab handfuls of rice and dig your way to the bottom
5. Push your hands into the rice with thumbs extended. Then roll your thumbs one way for 30 seconds, then reverse for 30 seconds.
6. Push your hands into the rice - as if diving in, then flick the rise just with your fingers. Try not to move your arms, only your fingers.
You can think of several variations for this drill. The main thing is to keep proper mechanics. Don't rush through any of these exercises just to see how many or how fast you can do them. Work yourself up to lots of reps and quick times.
Do these drills and exercises on a consistant basis and you will notice a marked improvement in your spin. Those rise balls will really start to pop, your drops will fall off the table and as a bonus your hitting will likely improve as a result of a much stronger grip.