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A skilled pitcher can become the face of a College Softball World Series winning team, the dream of many a young player. However, mastering the art of softball pitching requires a difficult combination of precision, control, and power. This important role not only tests an athlete's physical skill but their mental strength as well.

You probably ended up on this blog post because you had the question: "What are the best softball pitching drills?". This guide will not only walk you through how to perform each of our favorite drills but also underlines their key benefits. Whether you're a young pitcher interested in learning the basics or an established athlete looking to refine your techniques, these drills serve as an excellent foundation for your practice plan.

The Short Answer: The best softball pitching drills can be categorized into a few broad types: rotational drills, power drills, speed drills, and explosive drills. Each of these categories will help you polish different fundamental mechanics and commit them to muscle memory. Read on for specific drills that can help you focus on these key categories!

Softball Pitching Drills: The Wrist Snap Drill 

A great place to start is the wrist snap drill. This drill specifically targets one of the most essential actions in pitching -- the snap of your wrist. A properly executed wrist snap is vital in generating pitch velocity and adding spin, making your throw more unpredictable and challenging for the opposition. 

Infographic explains how to perform the wrist snap drill.

How to Perform the Wrist Snap Drill

Executing the wrist snap drill begins with correctly setting your starting position, which is halfway between the mound and home plate. You should position yourself stationary and perpendicular to your target. For this drill, the aim is to isolate and master the snap of your wrist to generate velocity on the ball, rather than pitching with your whole body. Follow these steps to effectively perform the Wrist Snap Drill:

  1. Stand in a perpendicular position to your target with the ball in your hand.
  2. Swing your right hand ever so slightly backward.
  3. Snap your wrist in a quick forward motion as if you're flicking the ball towards the strike zone.
  4. Repeat the drill regularly for mastery.

Pro Tip: The momentum for this drill comes solely from your wrist and not your whole arm or body.

The Benefits of the Wrist Snap Drill

Aside from enhancing your pitch velocity, the wrist snap drill offers other benefits. As you continuously practice this drill, you will gain finer control over your movement pitches, making it harder for batters to predict what each pitch will do. This skill, when combined with your complete pitching motion, can significantly improve your overall pitching performance.

Softball Pitching Drills: The Stretch It Out Drill

Moving on, we like to call this drill the stretch it out drill. As the name suggests, this is an exercise designed to warm up the pitcher's motion, especially focusing on loosening the throwing arm, enhancing your range and flexibility. It's an excellent starter drill to prepare for more intensive exercises.

Infographic explains how to perform the stretch it out drill.

How to Perform the Stretch It Out Drill

The starting position for the stretch it out drill is similar to the wrist snap drill, but this time, the entire body is engaged in the pitch motion, instead of just the wrist. Here is a step-by-step guide to perform the stretch it out drill:

  1. Start halfway between the mound and home plate.
  2. Pitch using your full body motion, focusing on your arm path (Repeat x10).
  3. Now, move back to increase the distance of the pitch (Repeat x10).
  4. Move back to your standard pitching distance on the mound and increase intensity (Repeat x10).

The Benefits of the Stretch It Out Drill

The stretch it out drill paired with the wrist snap drill is a great way to start each practice section. By incrementally increasing the distance of the pitch, the pitcher gradually adapts to throwing longer distances, lessening any apprehension or strain. This drill is also very laid bak, allowing the pitcher to focus on the proper mechanics of their pitch.

Softball Pitching Drills: The Long Toss Drill

The long toss drill takes the concept of the stretch it out drill but kicks it up a few notches. It not only involves increasing the distance of the pitch but also aims at enhancing the leg drive and wrist-snap/finger push. However, to keep things interesting, this drill incorporates a target or goal, making the exercise both fun and challenging.

Infographic explains how to perform the long toss drill.

How to Perform the Long-Toss Drill?

Unlike the previous drills, the long toss drill starts with the pitcher positioned about 80 feet from their target. The goal here is to throw the ball over a designated marker such as a fence or goal-post. Follow these steps to perform the long toss drill:

  1. Start with a small bucket of balls about 80 feet from your target and then take three steps back.
  2. Walk in towards the target, releasing the ball as you cross the 80 feet mark.
  3. If the ball clears the marker (could be a fence or a power line), move back another five feet.
  4. Continue this process until you reach a distance that you can't clear the target and empty the bucket from there.

Pro Tip: Make a note of the furthest distance reached and aim to beat it in the next session. Immediately stop this drill if you develop any arm pain.

The Benefits of Long-Toss Drill

The long toss drill is not about over-exerting your arm, but about developing the leg drive and strengthening the action of the wrist snap and finger push. Incorporating longer distances instills a mentality of pushing past your boundaries and setting new personal benchmarks.

Softball Pitching Drills: The Rotation Drill

The rotation drill is an exercise that encourages the development of the pitcher’s arm rotation speed. As the name suggests, rapid arm rotation is the essence of this drill, leading to more powerful throws and enhanced controlled speed. 

Infographic explains how to perform the rotation drill.

How to Perform the Rotation Drill

To start the rotation drill, the pitcher’s feet should be wider than shoulder width and positioned in a stride stance as if she has taken a small stride. This particular drill involves making fast arm circles with your pitching arm and releasing the ball on the third rotation. Here's a detailed breakdown of the rotation drill:

  1. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, mimicking a stride position.
  2. Make three fast circles with your pitching arm. Keep your shoulder relaxed but in control.
  3. Release the ball on the third rotation (pay special attention to maintaining the proper release point).
  4. Aim the ball by keeping your glove hand at shoulder height and facing the catcher.

Pro Tip: After practicing three rotations before a pitch, reduce it to two and, eventually, one rotation and a pitch.

The Benefits of the Rotation Drill

The purpose of the rotation drill is to increase arm rotation speed and practice releasing the ball with more momentum. It also helps the pitcher aim more accurately, making for a deadly duo of speed and precision.

Softball Pitching Drills: The Extra-Step Drill

Our final focus is the Extra-Step Drill – an exercise that aims at extending the pitcher's range and enhancing their momentum. This particular drill is beneficial for pitchers aiming to extend their reach on the mound. The practice involves taking an extra aggressive step onto the mound before delivering a pitch.

Infographic explains how to perform the extra step drill.

How to Perform the Extra-Step Drill

The extra-step drill begins with the pitcher positioning behind the mound. Here are the steps:

  1. Start from behind your standard pitching position on the mound.
  2. Take a step onto the mound while presenting the ball.
  3. Follow this movement with a pitch.
  4. Repeat, focusing on your balance and how you transition your body weight.

Pro Tip: Ensure your step is both aggressive and long to maximize your stretch and momentum.

The Benefits of the Extra-Step Drill

The extra-step drill focuses on enhancing the pitchers’ reach and pitching range. The additional momentum provided by the extra step helps generate more energy, translating into a speedier and farther-reaching pitch. Additionally, it's an excellent drill to practice the transition of body weight and balance during the pitching motion — all critical in delivering a controlled and powerful pitch.

Around the Horn: How BRUCE BOLT Can Help

Pitching drills certainly play an indispensable role in honing your softball pitching skills. Still, the effectiveness of your training also significantly depends on the quality of your gear. High-grade softball equipment not only elevates comfort and safety during demanding training but also boosts confidence, further elevating your performance on the field.

This is where BRUCE BOLT comes into play. As a family-owned, Austin, Texas-based business, we pride ourselves on our wide-ranging collection of softball gear. As you work on perfecting your pitching drills, remember to complement your game with style when you choose BRUCE BOLT. 

Explore our range of batting gloves, softball pants, protective gear, compression sleeves, and more to discover the difference today!

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