As the game of fastpitch softball becomes more and more popular, more and more people are becoming experts. As more and more experts are born, more and more confusing theories are developed, and with each developed theory a young person knowing no different, believes it to be true and therefore passes it on as fastpitch softball truth.
Here's proof; go to any softball park on any given weekend, stand near a backstop and listen to the conversations of those standing around it, sadly most of those doing the talking loud enough to be heard are those that are managing a team, run an organization, or parents of the star of the team. Here you'll hear some of the most tactical comments, instruction and opinion that most in ear shot take as the gospel truth, after all, those saying it run respectable organizations, or are the parents of the star of the team that has been taking pitching or hitting lessons, so why wouldn't it be? The one that drives me nuts is when one of these experts comments on a high strike and says; that's a nice rise ball. Having never thrown a rise ball themselves, but semi understanding it's a lot like throwing a over hand curve ball except underhanded they explain how it should be done and you'll see 3 or 4 people just nod and agree. Here's the fact, 95% of the people hanging out at the park have no concept what it takes to throw a rise ball and in reality that young pitcher they're speaking of is just throwing high strikes with drop ball spin.
To the left you'll see what I personally feel is the worst information to give any fastpitch softball pitcher as it relates to movement pitches. While in theory it has merit it's the application where it fails.
Here's the problem; the concept is true! As your hand spins around a door knob is similar to the way your hand should rotate as you release this pitch. However, as we all know when we turn a door knob the door is always in front of us making this bad information as this type of release makes for a bullet spin. To make this information viable to a young pitcher, have them imagine a hallway of doors and to open the doors the must shuffle sideways down the hallway leading with their glove side of the body, the goal here is to open the door as they slide past it. This will place the door knob off of their hip instead of in front of them, their fingers will be pointing away from their throwing hip (right hip for right handers, left hip for left handers) as they shuffle sideways down the hall and their fingers will be moving from the backside of the ball (knob) to the front side as they travel under and around the ball (knob) down the hallway. This is the correct way to explain turning the door knob to a young pitcher and will actually create the proper spin for the ball to rise.
Below you'll see a little video I did about 6 years ago to help hitters recognize the spin of the pitch. In this video I explain the proper rotation of the rise, drop and curve and what to look for as a hitter. The point I was trying to make then is that any pitch where you can see a dot in the center of the ball (hitters dot) is a great pitch to hit as it won't move, providing it's within the strike zone.
This hitters dot pitch is a direct reflection of pitching coaches not understanding what they're teaching and saying things like; "it's ok to throw a bullet pitch from low to high, because learning the correct release is so unnatural." This is not teaching pitching its teaching throwing and there is a big difference.
Like anything if its worth doing, it should be worth doing it right. If you're daughter is being taught this way stop now and find an instructor in your area that understands the correct body angles to throw this pitch properly.
If we could remember back to the day we learned to walk we would probably think "how unnatural is this?" Today we just motor along. Learn to throw your spins properly and you're well on your way to learning to pitch, and becoming a pitcher, anything less is just throwing!