Do You Have to Windmill? A Friendly Guide to Pitching Techniques in Fastpitch Softball

Last updated on July 5, 2023

Pitchers in fastpitch softball use a windmill motion to throw the ball. You may be asking yourself if they have to, or if they’re choosing to. The answer is: they have to. The windmill involves starting with the arm at the hip and bringing it up and around in a circular motion before releasing the ball. This motion allows pitchers to generate more speed and power behind their pitches, which is crucial in fastpitch softball where the ball is bigger and the bases are closer together than in baseball.

While windmill pitching is the norm in fastpitch softball, some recreational leagues may allow for other pitching styles. However, if you’re looking to play at a competitive level, it’s important to learn and master the windmill motion because it is mandated by most leagues. With practice and dedication, you can become a skilled windmill pitcher and take your game to the next level.

The Windmill Pitch in Fastpitch

If you’re new to fastpitch softball, you may wonder what the windmill pitch is and whether you have to use it. The windmill pitch is a type of pitching motion where the pitcher swings her arm in a circular motion, similar to a windmill. It is the most common pitching style used in fastpitch softball.

The windmill motion is complex and requires a lot of skill and practice to master. It involves several components, including footwork, arm mechanics, and body positioning. The pitcher starts with her feet shoulder-width apart and steps forward with her front foot while simultaneously bringing her throwing arm back. As she steps forward, she begins to swing her arm in a circular motion, releasing the ball at the top of the circle.

The windmill mechanics are designed to generate speed and power behind the pitch. The circular motion allows the pitcher to build momentum and transfer energy from her legs to her arm, resulting in a faster pitch. Additionally, the mechanics of the windmill pitch allow for a wider variety of pitches, including the fastball, changeup, rise ball, and drop ball.

Youth pitcher getting prepared to pitch

Origin of the Windmill

The windmill pitch in softball has its roots in baseball pitching techniques. In the early days of baseball, pitchers used an underhand style to deliver the ball to the plate. This technique was not very effective, as it was slow and lacked accuracy. In the 1940s and 1950s, softball coaches began experimenting with new pitching techniques in an effort to improve the speed and accuracy of underhand pitching. The windmill pitch was developed during this time as a way to increase the speed of the pitch and improve its accuracy.

The windmill pitch quickly became the dominant style of pitching in women’s fastpitch softball. This was due in part to the fact that the windmill pitch allowed pitchers to throw the ball faster than they could with an underhand technique. Additionally, the windmill pitch reduced the risk of injury to the pitcher’s arm, as it allowed the pitcher to keep their hand closer to their body. Today, the windmill pitch is an essential part of modern softball, and it is used by pitchers at all levels of the game.

Techniques and Drills

When it comes to windmill pitching in fastpitch softball, there are a few key techniques and drills that can help you improve your form and accuracy.

First and foremost, it’s important to focus on your balance and the position of your body. Make sure you’re standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight evenly distributed. Keep your shoulders square and your eyes focused on your target.

Another important aspect of windmill pitching is the wrist snap. This is what gives your pitch its speed and spin. To practice your wrist snap, try doing wrist curls with a light weight or resistance band.

One popular drill for windmill pitching is called “slam the door.” This involves starting in your pitching stance and then bringing your arm back as if you’re slamming a door shut. This helps you get the proper backswing and follow-through.

Another helpful drill is called “explosion.” This involves starting in your pitching stance and then exploding forward with your pitch, focusing on speed and power.

As you practice your windmill pitching, it’s important to work with a coach or experienced player who can give you feedback on your form and technique. They can help you identify areas where you need to improve and give you tips on how to correct your form.

Injury Prevention

Despite taking precautions, injuries can still occur. To prevent injury, it’s important to pay attention to any signs of pain or discomfort. If you experience any pain while pitching, stop immediately and seek medical attention. It’s also important to ice any sore or injured areas and take time off to rest and recover.

Pitch from the view of the shortstop

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the rules for pitching in fastpitch softball?

In fastpitch softball, the pitcher must start with both feet on the pitcher’s plate and release the ball underhanded. The ball must be released with an underhand motion and the pitcher’s hand must be below the hip at the start of the pitch. The pitcher can take a step forward with their front foot during the pitch, but they cannot take a step backward.

What is considered an illegal pitch in fastpitch softball?

An illegal pitch in fastpitch softball is any pitch that does not adhere to the rules for pitching. This includes pitches that are thrown overhand or sidearm, as well as pitches that are thrown with a motion that is not underhanded. It also includes pitches that are released with the pitcher’s hand above the hip or that involve a step backward.

What is the penalty for an illegal pitch in fastpitch softball?

The penalty for an illegal pitch in fastpitch softball is a ball for the batter. If the pitcher continues to throw illegal pitches, they may be warned or ejected from the game. The exact penalty may vary depending on the league or organization that is governing the game.

Can you use a windmill pitch in slow pitch softball?

No, you cannot use a windmill pitch in slow pitch softball. Slow pitch softball requires the pitcher to release the ball with an underhand motion, but the pitcher is not allowed to use a windmill motion.

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