From Novice to Ace: A Beginner’s Guide on How to Pitch in Fastpitch Softball

Last updated on August 4, 2023

Fastpitch softball is a fantastic sport that many people love to play. It requires both your body’s strength and your mind’s smarts. One of the key parts of the game is pitching, where you have to throw the ball with the right technique, power, and aim. If you’re just starting out in fastpitch softball, pitching might seem a little hard to learn. But don’t worry! With some practice and the right tips, you can become a great pitcher and have a lot of fun doing it!

The Role of the Pitcher

The heart and soul of a fastpitch softball team is the pitcher. This is the one who sets the game in motion, with the main goal of stopping the other team from scoring runs. Throwing the ball with precision and speed is a must, but it’s not all about raw power. Being a great pitcher requires skill, understanding of the game, and, of course, the ability to pitch different types of pitches. From fastballs to curveballs and screwballs, each pitch can be a secret weapon if thrown just right.

But there’s even more to being a pitcher. This key player also helps lead the team, working closely with the catcher and the infielders to make sure everyone is in sync. It’s like being a conductor in an orchestra; the pitcher has to read the game’s situation, make quick decisions, and act in the blink of an eye. This kind of teamwork is essential to the game and can make the difference between a win and a loss. The pitcher also needs to field the ball, make quick plays, and sometimes even cover first base.

One thing’s for sure; the pitcher’s role in fastpitch softball is vital and multifaceted. If you’re looking to understand more about this essential position and others on the field, you might find this guide on softball positions helpful. Whether you’re throwing fastballs, leading your teammates, or making a play in the infield, being a pitcher means being at the center of the action. It requires excellent pitching skills, smooth communication, and a keen sense of the game. But most of all, it’s about giving it your all, every time you step onto the field.

Young softball pitcher

Step-by-Step Pitching Guide

Pitching in fastpitch softball is a rewarding skill that, while challenging, can be mastered with the right approach. Whether you’re brand new to the mound or looking to polish your technique, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you on the right path:

Step 1: Grip

First things first, you’ll need to know how to hold the ball. Place your fingertips over the seams with your thumb underneath. This grip sets you up for throwing a fastball, an essential pitch for all budding pitchers.

Step 2: Stance

Next, find your stance on the pitching rubber. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with the front foot just ahead of the rubber, and the back foot touching it. This stance helps distribute your weight evenly and provides a solid foundation for your pitch.

Step 3: Windup

Here’s where the energy comes in. Start your windup by bringing your pitching arm back behind your body. As you do, step forward with your front foot and pivot on your back foot. This motion creates the power and momentum necessary for an effective pitch.

Step 4: Release

Time to let the ball fly! As you swing your arm forward, release the ball at the height of your windup. Aim for the catcher’s mitt, focusing on both speed and accuracy. This part may take some practice, but the effort will pay off.

Step 5: Follow-Through

The pitch isn’t over once the ball leaves your hand. Following through with your throwing arm helps you maintain proper form and finish the pitch with controlled power.

Pitching in fastpitch softball is a blend of art and science, requiring attention to detail and a love for the game. Remember to practice regularly, paying close attention to each step, and don’t be afraid to seek guidance from more experienced players or coaches. Slumps happen to every pitcher; with time, persistence, and a positive attitude, you’ll find yourself not just pitching, but thriving on the mound.

Different Types of Pitches

Pitching in fastpitch softball requires a variety of pitches to keep the batter guessing. Here are some of the most common pitches used in the game:


The fastball is the most basic and common pitch in softball. It is a straight pitch thrown with maximum velocity. There are two types of fastball: a four-seam fastball and a two-seam fastball. A four-seam fastball is the fastest and most consistent pitch, while the two-seam fastball has more movement.


The curveball is a pitch that moves from side to side as it approaches the plate. It is thrown with a snapping motion that causes the ball to spin and curve. This pitch can be difficult for batters to hit because it appears to be headed towards one location before breaking in another direction.


The changeup is a pitch that looks like a fastball but is thrown with less velocity. It is designed to deceive the batter by changing the speed of the pitch. This pitch can be particularly effective when the batter is expecting a fastball.


The riseball is a pitch that appears to rise as it approaches the plate. It is thrown with a high release point and a backspin that causes the ball to rise. This pitch can be difficult for batters to hit because it appears to be headed towards the strike zone before rising out of reach.

Drop Ball

The drop ball is a pitch that appears to drop as it approaches the plate. It is thrown with a low release point and a topspin that causes the ball to drop. This pitch can be particularly effective when the batter is expecting a riseball.

Pitching Drills and Practice

Pitching is a skill that requires a lot of practice to master. Here are some pitching drills that beginners can use to improve their skills:

  • Wrist Snap Drill: This drill helps pitchers develop a quick and powerful wrist snap. Start with your pitching hand in front of your body, with the ball in your hand. Snap your wrist forward, releasing the ball at the end of the motion. Repeat this motion several times, focusing on snapping your wrist quickly.
  • Towel Drill: The towel drill helps pitchers develop proper arm motion and mechanics. Hold a towel in your pitching hand, and go through your pitching motion as if you were throwing the ball. The towel will help you focus on your arm motion and release point.
  • Stride and Separation Drill: This drill helps pitchers develop proper stride and separation. Start in your pitching stance, and take a step forward with your front foot as you begin your pitching motion. Focus on keeping your upper body back and your arm in the correct position.

It’s important to practice these drills regularly to develop good habits and improve your skills. You can also seek out online pitching lessons for those who don’t have as much free time. In addition to drills, pitchers should also practice pitching in game-like situations. This can include practicing against a live batter or throwing to a catcher.

Nutrition and Hydration for Pitchers

As a pitcher, it is important to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet to perform at your best. Proper nutrition and hydration can help you stay energized and focused during games and practices. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:


Staying hydrated is crucial for any athlete, especially for pitchers. Aim to drink at least 8-10 cups of water per day, and more on hot and humid days. During games and practices, make sure to drink water regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty.


Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can help you maintain your energy levels and perform at your best. Avoid sugary and fatty foods, as they can cause energy crashes and sluggishness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some basic pitching techniques for beginners?

For beginners, it is essential to learn the basic pitching techniques, such as the grip, stance, and throwing motion. A Four-seam fastball and two-seam fastball are the first pitches to learn. The pitcher should grip the ball by placing four fingers inside the “c” curves of the stitching on the top of the ball and the thumb in the middle of the “c” curves on the bottom of the ball.

The pitcher should stand on the pitching rubber with the heel of their push-off foot resting on the front of it and the heel of their non-dominant foot slightly behind the rubber. Then they should transfer their weight from their back foot to their front foot and use their legs to generate power in the throw.

What are the different styles of fastpitch softball pitching?

There are several styles of fastpitch softball pitching, including windmill, slingshot, and crow hop. Windmill pitching is the most common and involves a circular motion of the arm. Slingshot pitching involves a straighter arm motion, and crow hop pitching involves a jump before the throw. Each style has its own advantages and disadvantages, and pitchers may choose the style that works best for them.

Are there any good videos for beginners to learn how to pitch in softball?

Yes, there are many good videos available online to help beginners learn how to pitch in softball. One popular option is the “Softball Pitching 101” series by Amanda Scarborough.


Pitching in fastpitch softball can be a challenging but rewarding experience. With practice and dedication, beginners can learn the fundamentals of pitching and develop their skills over time. Remember to focus on the basics, such as grip, stance, and windmill motion, before moving on to more advanced techniques.

To become a successful pitcher, it’s important to develop a variety of pitches, including the fastball, changeup, and curveball. Each pitch requires a different grip and release, so take the time to practice each one until you feel comfortable throwing it in a game.

In addition to mastering the technical aspects of pitching, it’s important to develop mental toughness and focus. Stay calm and confident on the mound, and don’t let a bad pitch or a tough inning get you down. Remember that every pitch is an opportunity to learn and improve. With a combination of it all, you can feel confident that you know what it takes to get out there and perform your best!

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