No matter what level you are as a softball pitcher, it’s good to have a quick mental list of key things to remember once the season starts. Here are five tips to take with you when you hit the field.
1. Do those Jobes exercises.
These “prehab” shoulder conditioning exercises reduce soreness, prevent injury and increase strength and shoulder muscle endurance. Do the Jobes workout 3-5 days per week, using 1- to 5-pound dumbbells, depending on your strength. All position players—not just pitchers—can benefit from these exercises.
2. The game is in your favor.
The number of balls, strikes and outs are set up so the pitcher beats the batter more times than not. A seven-inning game requires each team to get 21 outs. Defense is set up so nine players are trying to get one batter out at a time. The odds are on your side.
3. Trust your motion.
Repetition develops muscle memory. If you are able to throw strikes and hit your spots during practice, you will be able to do it in a game with the same series of motions. It’s easy to get distracted by the fans, batters, weather, or the fact that someone is actually calling balls and strikes. Tune that out or adjust your concentration to achieve the results you need. Own your motion, be comfortable with what you do, then repeat that motion in games.
Your team can only go as far as your legs can take them. A pitcher is a leader and should be the fittest player on the team. You should be able to run a mile in under eight minutes or run nonstop for 20 to 30 minutes. Running can help you complete games, keep you from giving up runs late in the game, and maintain your velocity from the first pitch to the last.
5. Stick to your fundamentals.
Think about the first lessons you learned when you started pitching: power-line, arm circle, release point, finishing. Sound familiar? The most common mistakes young pitchers make involve the fundamentals they learned in their first two or three pitching sessions. Without the basic motions, your control will suffer and injuries will increase. If you struggle duirng a game, do not focus on what you are doing wrong, but remember what you know will work.