Throwing is the most fundamental skill in our game, but that doesn’t mean that there is no creativity allowed. As a matter of fact, the ability to be creative is crucial for taking your game to the next level. We all know about the ESPN Top 10 plays associated with former Yankee great Derek Jeter. If you want to make those kind of plays, you have to practice those kinds of throws!
The game of Fastpitch presents us with all kinds of situations where the defensive player can be creative. Not every play allows for the usual field it and throw it techniques. Short distances, weird angles, tight plays and the craziness of the game requires that a player have a lot of tools in their tool box
Dart Throw: Just like it sounds. The player flips the ball overhand to a teammate that is very close to you. An example would be when we have a baserunner in a run down and need to make short, quick throws.
Shuttle Throw: Picture the pitcher charging the ball and flipping it underhanded to the catcher or a second baseman charging a ball near to first and flipping it to the first basemen. Our infielders need to be able to handle the ball in tight situation, often on the run.
Half Throw.:When starting a double play, the second basemen is a little too far a way to flip the ball but doesn’t want to take the time to reset her feet to throw. Boom – half throw. The body rotates slightly but the feet don’t move. It is a controlled overhand throw.
Flips: You are really close to the receiver but need to get the ball to them quickly. Flips need to be practiced forehand, backhand, straight ahead, and over the shoulder. Good flips allow a player to make plays they would never be able to make any other way.
Pivots: The ball takes our fielder away from the direction they want to throw. We need to learn to pivot the body quickly to get the feet squared away to throw.
Jump Throw: Just like it sounds. You need to avoid a baserunner, or your momentum is carrying you away from the target but you don’t have time to reset your feet. See the Jeter special above!
Glove Flips: You are close to your receiver but don’t even have the time to take the ball out of your glove. You need to be able to exchange the ball directly from your glove. Hence the glove flip.
On-the-Run Throws: You are charging the ball, need to make a fairly long throw and do not have time to set the feet. the ability to throw the ball on the run is a must. Picture a third basemen charging the bunt and needing to get rid of the ball.
If you want to make amazing plays you must practice amazing! How often do these plays happen? Sometimes only a couple times a year. But what if that one time is when the championship game is on the line? You better have practiced using the right tool for the job!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.