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Best drills for a bent arm circle

I am in desperate need of a drill or a specific aid that will help my daughter keep her arm straight while going up on her windmill. It’s bent and she has hit herself in her head several times with the ball…it’s a really bad habit.

Thanks for the question, Lisa. We’ve had a few comments about poor arm circles and this isn’t an area we’ve talked about a lot compared to other aspects of the pitch, so I’m going to collect some of our favorite methods here.

Step 1: understanding the arm circle and why you might be bending

In order to make a smooth arm circle, your body, hand, and elbow need to be in certain positions. If they’re not, your arm gets stuck, and you have to twist or bend to finish the circle. Here is one example: stand facing a mirror and try to make a full arm circle without turning your body away from the mirror at all. Your arm will get stuck at the top right past your ear, and you will have to bend or bring your arm to the side to continue. This is just one example of how your arm can get stuck; there are many ways.

In order for your body to make a smooth arm circle you must do two things: make sure you are tracking and make sure your hand is in the right position around the circle.

Here is a video explaining how to track your body to establish your throw zone. This video explains tracking position in a little more detail.

Here is a detailed explanation of hand position around the circle. When you are practicing and your arm is moving really fast, it can be difficult or impossible to check your hand position. I recommend taking a video of yourself and watching it in slow motion to see if you match up with the pictures in this article.

Step 2: drills

End game is a good drill for arm circle position. It helps you keep track of your hand position by providing three checkpoints: you touch your glove at the beginning, middle, and end (see video below)

The key is to make sure that at all 3 checkpoints your hand is in handshake position: ball facing/touching your glove, elbow pointed to the ground. The pitcher in this video is advanced so she goes through the motions quickly, but you should pause at all 3 checkpoints, especially the beginning and middle if you are having trouble with your circle. You should also spend a lot of time on end game 1 before moving on to 2 and 3.

The 3,2,1 drill is listed as a drill for arm speed, but it’s also a great arm circle drill. If your arm is getting stuck, you will notice WAY MORE when you’re making 3 circles. In order to do this drill comfortably, you need to have good arm/hand position and a smooth circle. Check it out here.

Wall drills are great for all kinds of arm circle problems because they give you a reference point. Sometimes young pitchers have trouble realizing where their arm is in space, but suddenly when they’re standing next to a big wall, they become aware. You can use a fence if you’re outdoors. Check it out here.

Finally, simply pitching slowly in front of a mirror can be a huge help. Sometimes the problem is merely that the pitcher can’t feel what she’s doing wrong, and thus has to see it. Don’t even throw; just stand in front of a full body mirror and go through the motion. If you see problems, slow down and try to correct them.

About the author

Carly

Carly is a windmill pitching specialist and co-founder of Fastpitch Power. She has coached teams at every level from 10U to NCAA. She also designed and built fastpitchpower.com. Please feel free to leave questions and site feedback in the comments or via our contact page!

1 comment

  1. Rudy

    Hi Carly
    My 13 year old daughter is having the same problem as Lisa daughter,she sometimes skims her head with the ball while pitching (incorrect arm circle path) My question is do you have a video that shows a correct arm circle path and an incorrect arm circle path and what causes the problem and how to redmedy it.

    Thank You

    Rudy

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