Softball Throwing Drills to Improve Accuracy and Strength!!
Note: When coaches or parents come to me about players that have throwing problems the first thing, I ask them is how is their footwork especially their crow hop.
Throwing is one of the most fundamental skills in softball. It is a skill that every player, no matter their position, needs to master. Softball throwing drills for beginners and advanced players are essential to developing the proper technique, accuracy, and distance of the throw are a byproduct of proper footwork.
Poor throwing technique can lead to not only inaccurate throws but also injuries. When players are new to the game, they may not understand the proper mechanics of throwing, leading to potential shoulder, elbow, or wrist injuries. That is why it’s so important to start with basic throwing drills, focusing on proper form and technique, which will challenge players and build upon their skills.
Throwing drills also help players develop muscle memory, which is crucial for consistent throws. As players repeat the same throwing motion with their upper and lower body over and over, their muscle memory will kick in and the throwing motion will become more automatic, resulting in improved accuracy and speed. In addition, softball throwing drills can help players build arm strength, which is necessary for making longer throws, such as from the outfield to home plate.
Overall, throwing drills should be a regular part of any softball practice. By focusing on proper form, crow hops, muscle memory, and arm strength, players can develop their throwing skills, leading to more accurate and successful throws on the field.
Note: Sore arms are generally the result of players not warming up correctly by using their legs!! The little league-style rock and throwing with no crop hop is a bad technique that leads to sore arms!!
Drill: Crow Hop with Cone Drill
Footwork in all sports is the foundation of success!!! Unfortunately, when people think of throwing, they think of the upper body, especially the arm. I start all my practices or training sessions with crow hops over cones. You have two types of crow hops. One is an infield crow hop where the feet shuffle and stay close to the ground with no knee lift. The second crow hop is the outfield crow hop, this is more dramatic with a jumping forward motion and the knees coming up to give the fielder a longer throw. You thrust and jump forward towards your target!!
How to execute a Crow Hop with Cones Drill
Outfield: Use 6-to-12-inch cones / Infield use Flat Cones
Start with the glove side toe up against the cone with the glove outside the left eye down on the ground as if the fielder is fielding an advance or forehand ball. Now the back foot is in a sprinter position ready to push off and drive the back knee over the cone. When in the air the player should be transferring the ball from the glove and landing in a break position with both feet even and facing to either the right or left side depending on which hand, they throw with.
Drill: Wrist Snaps
If you want to improve your softball throwing accuracy and strength, a great place to start is by focusing on your wrist snaps. This drill focuses on the small, but important, movements in your wrist that can make a substantial difference in your throwing ability. Remember the wrist snap is at the end of the throw which is called the follow-through.
To begin, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your throwing arm extended straight out in front of you. With a softball in your hand and up next to your ear, focus on snapping your wrist and releasing the ball with your arm extending out straight in the finish. Make sure to keep your elbow up and your arm straight as you practice this movement. Start with slow, deliberate wrist snaps and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable with the movement. Your target should be your partner’s chest area (to the letters).
Drill: Break & Transfer
The break and transfer happen when the player is taking the ball out of the glove and transferring to the hand to throw. The break and transfer happen during the crow hop:
Let us break it down!
This drill does not require a partner. I line up my players up on the foul line with the belly button and toes facing the field. Next, with a slight bend in the knees, the player has the ball in the glove with the throwing hand on the ball. Now the coach yells break, and the players pull the ball out of the glove creating a big C with a thrust and the glove goes forward, and the ball comes back to a throwing slot. I will repeat this several times in a rapid pace break, break, break, etc. several times in a row.
Note: The ball should not be behind the head. The feet, hips, shoulders, ball, and glove should all be lined up even with the foul line just like a bow and arrow technique.
Drill: Long Throws for arm strength
Long throwing is great for increasing arm strength and improving throwing accuracy. This is a simple drill that requires sufficient space, at least 80-120 feet in distance. The objective is to throw the ball back and forth with a partner over a long distance. The focus of the drill is to throw the ball accurately while maintaining good form and using a powerful crow hop! As you continue throwing back and forth, take a few steps backward each time to increase the distance between you and your partner. Remember to maintain proper throwing form and technique throughout the drill.
It is recommended to perform the long throwing once or twice a week, gradually increasing the distance as you feel comfortable.
Drill: One knee throws for balance and control
The one-knee throw is a great way for players to improve their balance and control when throwing the softball. This drill is simple but effective and can be done solo or with a partner.
First, start by kneeling on one knee with the other leg out in front of you. Make sure your throwing arm is in the correct position and start by making short throws to your partner or a wall. This drill is great for improving accuracy, as it allows you to focus on your arm movement and release point.
As you improve, you can increase the distance of your throws. This will help you build strength in your arm and improve your overall throwing technique. The key to this drill is to focus on your balance and control throughout the entire motion, from the wind-up to the follow-through.
How often and when to do these drills?
It is important to establish a consistent routine when doing these softball throwing drills. Doing them regularly will help improve accuracy and strength over time. Aim to do these drills at least three times a week, depending on your schedule and availability.
It is also important to note that doing these drills before a game or practice can help warm up the arm and improve performance during game time. However, make sure to not overdo it and cause unnecessary fatigue or strain on the arm muscles.
Be sure to checkout our YouTube channel to see the Throwing Drills Video. @SoftballUTrainingAcademy