Football Drill for Forearm Fire

In today’s video, I demonstrate¬†how to get the feeling of forearm fire using a football.

About the author


Phil Schonberg is a co-founder of Fastpitch Power, inc. He teaches all aspects of fastptich softball, specializing in windmill pitching and coaches' training.


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  1. Shelley Monas

    Thank you Coach Phil! Well Done! I like the pumping action idea prior to spiraling the football. I will definitely add that to the drill. Is it okay that I have the kids add the circle to this spiraling football drill? I even took it a bit farther than that and I had the kids hit targets with the football. We are still looking for the spiral, of course. It helps to teach keeping the integrity of the throw zone, helps with their confidence and we have a blast doing it!

    1. Phil

      Hi Shelley – It is absolutely ok to do a complete arm circle provided that difficulty in holding on to the football does not compromise the mechanics involved in performing the full circle, and having the hand enter the throw zone in the correct position. Take a careful look at that, as that may be the reason they are struggling with the spiral. As you discovered, one of the added bonuses of performing this drill is solidification of the hand path. Keep up the great work.


      1. Shelley Monas

        Awesome! Thank you Coach Phil!

  2. Fred Fitzpatrick

    Good Morning Phil & Happy New Years

    I just watched your football drill video because I use it too for a few (not all) of my students. I do have 1 question/thought though. As we both know there are 2 basic fundamental spins upon release of the ball from your hand, a “bullet” spin and a “forward” spin respectively. With the football drill, doesn’t that favor or teach a “bullet” spin? As the hand comes through at the release point of the forearm fire, wouldn’t a pitcher be leading with their pinky finger, ring finger, middle finger and finally pointer finger?

    What if a pitcher is a natural “forward” spinning drop ball pitcher?

    I know we are talking about a 1/4 rotation of the hands position between a “bullet” spinner and “forward” spinner upon ball release. To you and I that is very little to overcome and adjust to but I have found that for some students learning to throw, it came be a bit overwhelming.

    I use Frisbee drills for my “forward” spinners and Football drills for my “bullet” spinners. Now the frisbee drill essentially teaches and has a “roll over” drop feel to it. It mimics the pointer finger coming over the top of the ball upon release and allowing a long, palm down follow through and eliminates the “Hello Elbow” finish.

    Thanks Phil
    Fred Fitzpatrick
    “Throw The Next Pitch”!!

    1. Phil

      Excellent comment, Fred. I do not utilize the football drill for any purpose other than creating the feeling of the elbow leading the arm down the backside of the circle with forearm lag. The shape and size of the football, I find, does not lend itself well to relating the drill to the type of spin created upon delivery. The creation of the spiral, when performed correctly, will not result in a hello elbow finish and that is all I am looking for here. I do a separate set of drills to reinforce the desired spin for a given type of pitch. Hope that answers your question.


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