Isn’t it difficult to pitch slowly and also master the slow pitch techniques?
However easier it seems for a softball pitcher to pitch the softball slowly, it’s still hard to manage the perfect technique and pitch to hit the target.
In order to master the skill of slow pitch techniques, you first need to figure out what works for you for different kind of batters.
This can only be understood by continuous practice using the right techniques and this article as you read further will help you to understand how to pitch slow pitch softball.
This article has assembled all the slow pitching basics in 2020 to help you optimize your performance.
Different Types of Slow Pitch Softball Pitches
The goal of a slow pitch softball pitcher is to get the hitter to hit in your defense and not to strike them out. This is achieved by delivering them with a pitch to control or just throw some junk on the pitch where they can hit and prevent any direct contact.
The slow pitch pitching is the highest scorer in the game and you can easily become a slow pitch pitcher if you can consistently throw strikes.
However, the slow pitch softball can be quite complex to understand and you can easily get distressed but don’t be discouraged as with continuous practice along with the right techniques one can excel in the game.
There are majorly four different types of slow pitch softball pitching techniques that are listed below with a brief description to enhance your game and level up your performance.
The backspin slider is the best technique to score high in the game as it has the highest spin rate and also has a sharp break to it. The slider is the pitch that breaks from your pitching arm or your glove arm side. In this technique, as the pitch leaves your hand it should be rotating on to your glove hand side.
The rotational axis of your pitch should never be perpendicular to the flight or track of the ball as it won’t break properly and run through due to the same pressure on both sides of the ball.
However, if you tilt the axis slightly while releasing the ball then the pressure on one side increases than the other side.
The pressure should always increase on the pitching arm side to drive the ball towards your glove arm side. Now as you go to the technique of the gripping of the ball you will understand the axis of rotation relative to the flight of the ball perfectly.
The grip of the slider needs you to hold the ball with your two fingers and thumb with the strip aligned vertically in between the two fingers. The horse-shoe of the striped ball should be upside down and then take your index and middle finger over the ball holding it with the tip of the fingers on the seam. Spread these fingers wideout as it improves the rate of the spin.
The thumb of your hand needs to be placed between the seam and the vertical strip of the ball. The ring finger of your hand goes on the side and its only responsibility is to work as a support. This is the grip for a backspin slider slow pitch softball.
The backspin slider is the best way to accentuate your spin rate to get better action on the ball in the game. You only need to practice this as often as possible even when you are on the field.
The Screwball pitch is the best companion for the backspin slider pitch in the slow pitching techniques. As we know the backspin slider breaks to your glove side, the screwball is responsible to break on your pitching side.
This makes this pitching technique quite easy as well as comfortable as you do not have to worry if you are a left-handed player or a right-handed as it does not matter at all.
The screwball is pitched in two seams just like the slider and the rotational axis moves towards your pitching arm side. As it is a companion pitch, it offers you an opportunity as you can throw them both to gain a good command over the location. This can actually benefit to score high as you can interrupt the timing of the hitter.
If the hitter knows that you can throw both the pitches it can clearly confuse him and he would have to wait up to the time the ball reaches half the way to the top of the arch to determine if it’s a straight pitch or an inside or outside pitch.
The grip of the screwball is the same as that of the backspin slider where you hold the ball with the pads of your middle and index finger on the seam on the backside of the ball with the strip in between lined vertically. The horseshoe shape of the seam should be placed upside down and your thumb should be placed in between the seam and vertical strip.
The two fingers should be kept as wide apart as possible to accentuate the spin rate while pitching. This is quite similar to the backspin slider with the only difference being the breaks occur towards the pitching side of the player.
Backspin power pitch
The backspin pitching technique is one of the most difficult and important pitches in the slow pitch softball. It is known as backspin straight pitch but also sometimes used as a backspin power pitch.
This is called a power pitch as you once develop the skills you would be able to throw it with a high backspin rate that gives you a number of advantages in the game.
The high backspin rate allows your ball to drop steeply from the top of the arc to down the plate of the hitting zone. This delivers the pitcher with an advantage of an angle as the hitter would be unable to score with such a steep angle. The second and most important advantage is that the high backspin deflects the ball off of the bat in a downward motion.
The grip of this backspin power pitch requires you to hold the ball with your index finger and a middle finger placed on the seam with the pads of the finger on the backside of the ball wide apart. The wideness of the two fingers helps you to achieve the highest backspin rate that allows the ball to break through the track.
In this pitch, you need to keep your both ends at the extreme in this pitch that means that if you are able to pitch as high as six foot or six and a half foot with the instruction of an umpire then try to keep it down there.
The only goal is to prevent yourself from staying in the middle as it may make an easy target to hit for the hitter keep on changing your limits both up and down.
You need to practice and drill this pitch repeatedly to get skilled and always try to keep them shot to make them more effective.
The grip of the knuckleball requires the four fingers of your hand leaving the thumb to hold the ball. The four fingers are placed right across the seam using the fingernails of your four fingers.
You don’t need to have long nails for this technique a little bit of nail will work quite fine. Thumb is placed over the backside of the ball over the seam.
A little space is left between the palm and the ball but not too much. Thus this is the grip for the knuckleball slow pitching technique. However, you can adjust the grip according to your convenience and preferences like you can also use three fingers instead of four.
The only goal of the knuckleball pitching technique to not rotate the ball a lot and allow it to move straight across the track. The knuckleball is successful only by the airflow around the seams.
The knuckleball requires the maximum arm speed to move the ball or successfully throw the pitch. You just need to practice a lot by adjusting your fingers, height, and distances to excel in this technique.
The knuckleball requires a tremendous amount of practice and consistency as it can take someone years to excel in this particular pitch. There are even times this wouldn’t work at all but can sometimes be amazingly good. As a batter hits a knuckleball pitch, it induces quite short flies that need your fielders to be ready for.
The knuckleball pitch is quite effective on the power hitters as it dances all over the place confusing the hitter completely. This is the only pitch that can dance in all directions from left to right and back again.
The only downside of this pitch that if thrown incorrectly can get you shelled but with continuous practice, you can easily excel this pitch.
You need to experiment with your grip by turning a little bit, making different angles or do not turn at all, adjust your arm speed by increasing or decreasing its velocity this will help you to get the perfect pitch technique in few practices. The only focus on a knuckleball pitch is to prevent the ball from rotating a lot.
How to Slow Pitch a Softball
There are many different techniques to slow pitch a softball and also it is the main reason to score in the game for your team. One of the basic techniques to slow pitch a softball is described below to help you go through the process and understand the whole technique and requirements of being slow-pitch softball pitcher.
Step 1: Holding the ball with the dominant hand
The ball is held in the palm of the pitcher’s dominant hand to have full contact between the ball and the fingers. The fingers are wrapped around the ball in a way that is comfortable for the pitcher and gripped tightly with the fingers as well as the thumb. You need to hold the ball as tightly as possible to avoid the slipping of the ball.
Now, if you a right-handed pitcher hold the ball in your right hand and if you are a left-handed person then hold it in the left hand.
Step 2: Position the body to throw
Now stand in the direction of the hitter where you need to pitch the ball then you need to take a step back on your dominant side to keep you slightly angled to your target. If you are uncomfortable with this position then you can easily adjust by keeping your feet together or you can also bend your waist slightly.
However, you need to keep in mind to keep your knees soft and prevent it from locking up as it might disturb the pitch.
Step 3: Position of arm to throw
As you take a step back, bring your arm on the backside as well along with it alongside your hip. Now hold the ball tightly in your hands on the back before you start to pitch. The ball is held below the waistline of your body with your arm straight out and always ensures that your palm is facing towards the target.
Step 4: Throwing with technique
Now take one step ahead with the foot that was placed behind and then swing your hand forward and backward. The ball is released from the palm as soon as the hand passes your thigh by loosening your fingers to allow the ball to slide off. The ball flies up following the arch and reaches the target.
The movement of the throw should be quick but not forceful as it may deliver you an excessive speed warning from the umpire.
Pitching is quite a hard position to play but with continuous practice as well as drill you just score games for your team. You just need to keep on practicing your pitching forms and focus on making the ball keep hitting the target.
We hope that this article helps you to understand the different slow pitch softball techniques and helps you to level up your skills and forms in the game.