Are you hurting your progress by cheating at your drills?

This general concept is true of any pitching drill, but I want to focus specifically on arm isolation drills today. For those just learning to pitch, and those who are trying to switch to forearm fire style from something else, arm isolation drills are very important for learning the correct arm whip. However, it’s very easy to cheat at these drills—so easy, in fact, that you may be cheating without even realizing it! Are you unknowingly hurting your development?

How do you cheat at your arm isolation drills?

When you’re practicing your arm whip by itself, eager to see improvement in your speed, it’s very tempting to throw the ball as hard as you possibly can to achieve that nice glove pop from a close distance. Be honest: it’s satisfying! However, most of the time, especially if you’re struggling with the arm whip in general, you’re going to achieve this by throwing your body into the pitch. It may only be a slight movement, but your shoulder and hips will want to get involved, and from half the pitching distance or less, this can produce a very satisfying speed effect.

What’s wrong with that?

Well, it might be satisfying, but you’re not really helping your arm whip get better. You’re using other parts of your body to make it look like you’re whipping better, but in reality you’re letting your arm get away with its same old stiffness.

How to fix it

When you’re doing these types of drills, do your best to use your core and your leg strength to hold your body completely still, and ONLY use your arms—your pitching arm to whip, and your glove arm to reach for your target and balance out your pitching arm as it drops.

This may feel strange at first, and it will probably feel like you’ve lost a lot of power. This is not a bad thing; it is simply a realistic view of the current state of your arm whip. It’s important to know this, so you know exactly what you have to work on.

THEN, when you DO add in the rest of your body, it won’t be doing ALL the work; it will add power to your pitch in addition to your good arm whip, and you’ll be even faster!

Arm isolation drills may seem boring and simple, but they are extremely important. Don’t short change them!

About the author


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!

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