Softball Pitching

Should a softball pitcher pitch fast, or accurate? “Both” would be the ideal answer. But this is a luxury very few pitchers have in their armory. A good pitcher throws strikes and trusts their defense. Their number one job is to get outs, even if this means giving up a few more hits – rather a base earned than a base awarded.

Fast pitching is a short-lived strategy.

Pitchers who throw fast often throw straight up the middle, giving themselves the biggest target to aim for and hoping to beat the batter with raw speed. But at any level, a pitch over the middle of the plate is going to get hit. And the faster the pitch, the further the hit will be. If not now, then later. But the success of this strategy, if there is any at all, is short-lived.

Accurate pitching is more often than not successful.

On the other hand, pitchers who can throw accurately are often more successful, even with limited speed. Speed and movement should enhance accuracy, but at the end of the day speed and movement are useless if the pitcher is unable to hit their spots. Less accuracy results in more walks, an inability to set a hitter up to get them out, and an inability to adjust to an umpire’s strike zone – all resulting in less strikes and fewer outs. A walk cannot be defended, and the defense are helpless when free passes are given away or when a pitcher can not adjust to situations. A defense can, however, be very successful and plan their plays with a pitcher who can hit a spot on command – with good calling it doesn’t even really matter what type of pitch they throw as long as they hit the spot one way or another.

Focus on accurate pitching.

In a perfect world, a pitcher would have the best of all 3 – accuracy, speed, and movement. But that is unrealistic for most of the pitchers out there. So aim to be the kind of pitcher that can get any hitter out. Aim to pitch with great accuracy both sides of the plate, rarely give up walks and be able to make in-game adjustments to the hitter and umpire. Speed and movement can be added to the arsenal along the way.

At the end of the day if a pitcher doesn’t throw strikes (accuracy) it becomes very difficult to win. And losing is just not as much fun!


Amy Bathgate
About the Author
Amy Bathgate is the Operations Manager at VS Sports, playing an integral role in product development, innovation, and design, and heading up a team of enthusiastic analysts working towards transforming the way sport is analyzed, scouted, and experienced. With over a decade of expertise in consulting, biomechanics, and performance analysis across various disciplines and levels, she understands that the little details make a big difference. One of her passions and specialties is swimming, and she assists and drives athletes and coaches to achieve their performance potentials using stroke and race analysis to better their understanding of the complexities of the sport in order to go faster and train and perform more efficiently. Amy is also a Dartfish Certified Instructor, certified in Functional Movement Screening, and a former lecturer at the University of Pretoria.