The discussion about how much a pitcher can pitch is never ending. We hear how the underhand motion is natural and doesn’t cause damage to the arm or about how we watched a college pitcher throw 700 pitches to lead her team to the national championship.
Well, here is one more chapter to the never-ending discussion.
So let’s just decide to believe that the underhanded motion is less damaging than overhand throwing. The simple question is so, so what? You don’t throw with just your arm. The pitching motion requires the use of almost every joint in the human body to create all the movements we need to pitch a softball. So even if we agree that it’s not that bad for the arm, what about he rest of the body?
When the rest of the body and all the joints involved work together the act of throwing a pitch effectively and efficiently is not all that complicated. Where we get into trouble is the fact that as some of these other parts of the body become fatigued we are less capable of getting all the other parts of the body to work well together.
When we get fatigued, we struggle to keep control of the movements that all pitchers need to pitch well. As fatigue sets in, consistency of movement falls off. When we lose the consistency or control of each of the components of our pitching motion we can’t be shocked that our pitching is less effective.
So what’s the point? We need to help our pitchers understand several things that are crucial to their ability to maintain a high level of performance for a longer period of time.
What are some of those keys?
1. Train your entire body to increase overall fitness and stamina.
2. Train in shorter sessions more often to insure that you are practicing when your body is less fatigued. Fatigue leads to mechanical problems that lead to pitching problems.
3. Understand that very long training sessions are going to lead to the point of limited returns. Practicing when you are fatigued is often undoing many of your gains.
4. Understand that when one part of your body becomes fatigues other parts will naturally compensate. These compensations can often create mechanical flaws.
5. You are throwing pitches in lessons or practice at a much faster rate than you are in game settings. Realize that this pace is going to lead to fatigue at a faster rate than you’ll experience in games, again often making us practice bad habits.
Dig deep. Work through it. Fight through it. Find a way. And …
We hear statements all the time when we deal with our pitchers. Let’s take a second and think if that advice is smart.
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.