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Rapid Fire Speed Pitching: Good or Bad?

I don’t know if this is a recent epidemic or a coincidence, but I’ve had several parents come up to me lately saying that their daughter’s coach has asked her to throw as many pitches as she can as fast as she can in some set amount of time during practice. They were wondering if that’s okay. This is an easy one: NO IT’S NOT!

There is not a single benefit to “speed pitching”

There are, however, many downsides:

  • ESPECIALLY in young developing pitchers, rushing encourages poor mechanics. Before the right approach is 100% set in the pitcher’s muscle memory, the pitcher still has to think about what she’s doing. Speed pitching takes away the time to think and relies on muscle memory alone, which does not work when the muscle memory is not fully developed.
  • There is no benefit to practicing poor mechanics over and over again. A zillion reps of the same wrong thing does not magically make you better; it encodes bad mechanics into the muscle memory where they become habits that take ages to break.
  • Repeating poor mechanics increases the chance of injury
  • Speed pitching has no real life application. What has a pitcher who has just thrown an insane number of pitches in a minute proven to you about her ability to pitch in a game?

Even in a PERFECT WORLD where the pitcher in question is used FLAWLESS MECHANICS, the perceived benefits to speed pitching are still misguided:

  • The obvious argument is I’m building the pitcher’s endurance. The truth is, there are safer, more indicative, more efficient, and all-around BETTER ways to build endurance than speed pitching. A long-term endurance-building conditioning plan should promote BALANCE and well-rounded strength as well (I could say the same about excessive running, but that’s another show). Check this out instead.
  • The other obvious argument is it’s good for her arm strength. Well, no it’s not. Again, it’s imbalanced and unsafe and there are far better ways to build a pitcher’s arm strength. Check this out instead. There are a TON of options in there. Pick your favorites.

It’s not as extreme, but the same applies for throwing hundreds of pitches a week at the 10 and 12u levels.

I know it can create difficult situations, but if you’re a parent and your daughter is being asked to speed pitch, for her own safety I recommend that you politely refuse. Back up your refusal with a list of all the awesome exercises above that she is doing INSTEAD, so laziness cannot be used as an excuse.

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!

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