Three Great Gifts for Every Windmill Pitcher

There are three “gifts” that all windmill pitchers would love to receive this holiday season.  Unfortunately, putting them on your wish list probably won’t get it done.

The three essential gifts for any truly accomplished pitcher are command, control, and speed.  Let’s talk a little bit about the differences among them and how, in order to master all three, they will almost always depend upon each other.

1.  Command  is the ability to consistently execute whatever pitch is called and to have that pitch do what it is intended to do (e.g. curve ball actually curves, drop ball drops etc.).

2.  Control is the ability to consistently add location to command.

3.  Speed is a little tricky.  Not all pitchers will reach the mid 60’s on the radar gun.  Body-type, genetics, muscle composition (fast twitch vs slow twitch) will all factor in to speed.  Suffice it to say that speed is relative but should never have to be compromised in order to have command and control, particularly for your fastball.  Some pitchers intentionally throw their movement pitches off-speed and that is fine.  As stated in prior posts,  varying speeds is a very effective way to keep batters off balance. However, unintentional deceleration or loss of speed in order to command and control a pitch is almost always a result of poor mechanics.

So, other than reaching out to the North Pole, what is the best way to acquire these gifts?  Having the will to succeed sounds like a wonderful thing.  Without the will to prepare to succeed, however, the will to succeed often transforms itself into unrealized expectations and unattainable goals.

Performing at maximum capability requires preparation and hard work. Do you, for example, train your body to enable you to develop and maintain consistent command, control and speed?  (We are focusing on pitching here, but these principals apply to any athletic endeavor). When I refer to training your body, I am not just talking about practicing pitches.  In order to have the strength and balance necessary to explode off the pitching rubber, without mechanical breakdown, you will need to fully develop your core, trunk, and other stabilizing muscles.   Without this internal strength, balance and stability, maximizing command, control and speed may very well be impossible.

Imagine getting into position to run a 50 yard race.  Now lean your upper body to one side and feel how your muscles tense to hold you in that position.  Then run the 50 yards in that out of balance posture.  Let me know if you think you ran your fastest. Any athletic movement that is unstable and unbalanced will rob you of the ability to execute optimally.

Preparation also includes active rest and recovery.  Over-training can be just as detrimental as no training at all. Preparation also includes proper nutrition.  Put dirty, low octane gasoline in a car and it won’t run very well. When, what, and how you eat has a major impact on athletic performance. Emotional well being is also a crucial component of preparing to perform.  If you find your passion and enthusiasm waning, take a break.  The softball season seems never-ending these days.  Get away from it periodically and you will likely return refreshed, renewed, and invigorated.

If you are willing to work hard and you understand the difference between  wanting success and preparing for success, you will find yourself on the path to excellence.  For you windmill pitchers out there, you may also receive three very nice gifts, and you will have the great satisfaction of knowing that you earned them.


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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