Need to know how to throw fastpitch softball pitches? Baseball isn’t the only sport where pitchers have a wide selection of pitch options. Fast pitch softball also offers a variety of different pitches for its pitchers to throw. There are at least six different pitches that fast pitch softball players can throw, but with each comes its own level of difficulty. The following is a list of the five most common pitches in fast pitch softball and how to throw them.
Fast ball. The fast ball in fastpitch softball can be thrown two different ways: as a 4-seamer or 3-seamer. To throw a 4-seam fast ball, hold the ball with the pads of all four fingers across the “U” (horseshoe) seams on the ball. For a 3-seam fast ball, grip the ball with the thumb, index, and middle fingers across the “U” seams and roll the ring and pinky fingers under. The arm circle should be tight, keeping the arm close to the ear and the hip at follow through, snapping the wrist. Generally, the fast ball has no movement, unless your ball has a natural curve.
Change-up. There are three common ways to throw a change-up in fastpitch softball:
- Open Palm Change. To throw a change-up, use the same grip as with the fast ball. But unlike the fast ball, you want to hold the ball far back in the palm of your hand. Instead of snapping the wrist on the release, you want to spread open your fingers and push the ball on the heel of your hand. Arm rotation and speed should be the same as with the fast ball.
- Flip Change. This is the most commonly thrown change-up in fastpitch softball, and it uses the same grip as the fast ball. The difference here is the arm rotation. As the arm is coming down in the rotation, you want to rotate the hand so that the outside of the wrist is facing the catcher. On the release, you want to flip the ball to the catcher, flicking your wrist upward.
- Circle Change. To throw a circle change, you want to grip the ball on the side with the tip of your thumb and index finger (they should be touching, thus forming a circle). Your remaining fingers should help hold the ball in place. To release a circle change, either use the same release as the open palm change or release it with the circle directly facing the catcher.
Curve ball. The curve ball uses the same grip as the fast ball. The key factor with the curve ball is the wrist. Instead of the basic snap release, you want to twist your wrist on the release to cause the ball to curve.
Drop ball. A drop ball is thrown like the fast ball, except instead of placing the pads of your fingers across the seams, they should be along the side of the seam. On the release of this pitch, your elbow should be in close to your body, staying tall and snapping the ball off your fingertips with a downward spin. You should also shorten your stride when throwing a drop ball.
- Rise ball. Throwing a rise ball in fastpitch softball uses a two-finger grip: the pad of your middle finger and ring finger should be placed where the seams come closest together on the ball. Your index finger should be bent so that the pad of the finger almost digs into the ball. During the arm rotation, as it comes to the downward swing, the fingers should be on top of the ball before the release point. With the rise ball, you need to release it lower than the fast ball, keeping your hips open, with a quick snap of the wrist on release. The ball should be snapped in such a way that it goes from the palm down to the palm up.