Hot Tips



Wonder how Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman seem to defy physics with their pitches? Here’s a quick guide to the most commonly thrown pitches. Expect to see these pitches thrown by the best pitchers in the game at the World Cup of Softball.

The fastball is the foundation pitch. It’s simple—throw it hard. Top softball pitchers throw their fastball around 70 miles per hour. That is roughly equivalent to a 100 mile per hour fastball in baseball. The idea is to throw a fastball with enough velocity to force the hitter into a late swing and cause them to foul it off or miss altogether. The grip maximizes wrist snap when the ball is released at the hip. Monica Abbott is a good example of someone who brings the heat with her fastball.

The riseball is unique to fastpitch softball and widely considered the most difficult pitch to hit. It starts out in the strike zone and breaks just before reaching the plate—forcing the batter to pop up or miss it completely. Jennie Finch throws a dominant riseball.

The drop works the exact opposite of a riseball. This pitch initially looks attractive to the hitter only to drop out of the stikezone just before reaching the plate. If the batter does make contact, the dropball commonly results in a ground out. Look to national team newcomer Jennie Ritter to throw this pitch masterfully.

The curveball, as with most breaking pitches, is meant to have enough movement to cause the batter to chase—often times well out of the strikezone. The curve moves away from the batter to the outside of the plate when thrown from a right-handed pitcher to a right-handed batter. This makes right-handed pull hitters especially susceptible to this pitch. Cat Osterman, a specialist at making batters chase her pitches out of the zone, has one of the nastiest curveballs around.

Softball_015Change Up
The change-up is a deceptive off-speed pitch that appears like a fastball but travels roughly 15 miles per hour slower. It is primarily used to keep the batter off-balance. The motion and mechanics as similar to the fastball. Alicia Hollowell has a very successful change-up that keeps hitters guessing.


Jennie Finch...hitting a softball is harder then hitting a baseball

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Softball player carried around bases - Sportsmanship

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Softball Quotes: 

We’re prepared, and we’ve done everything we can to prepare for this moment in time.  That’s what confidence is all about.

--Lisa Fernandez, pitcher, Team USA


Love it, experience it, and when you step on the field just do what you do.

--Kirk Walker, coach, Oregon State Univ.


Go hard every play. You don’t want to leave anything behind and regret it years down the road that you didn’t give it all when you could have.

--Ashley DeBuhr, pitcher, Univ. of Nebraska


We go out and work hard. We play this game with emotion and love.  Coach always says ‘Emotionally, physically, mentally -- come to the field prepared.’  Because if you don’t bring that to the field, you’re going to get beat.

--Laura Berg, outfield, Team USA


It's a game of making great pitches at the right time, being opportunistic by getting a run at the right time and playing good defense.

--Mike Candrea, coach, Team USA


I make my weaknesses my strengths and my strengths stronger.

---Lisa Fernandez, pitcher, Team USA


What I love about the game is that the game doesn't know who is supposed to win.

--Sue Enquist, coach, UCLA


In softball . . . , the softball gods giveth and the softball gods taketh away, but that evens out over the season.

--Yvette Girouard, Coach, LSU


I am now, and will always be me. But when it comes time to step out onto that field, me gets a little more dedicated, a little more serious, and nobody stands in my way.


It’s always about wanting to one-up myself from the day before. There’s never an absolute 100% perfect performance, but going out and striving for that perfect performance is what keeps me going.

--Cat Osterman, pitcher, Team USA



5 Drills to Train a Hitter's Eye:

If your players' batting mechanics are good, and they're still not hitting the ball, they are probably not seeing it correctly, or perhaps not following it right to the bat.

Here are a few drills that are designed to really keep your eye on the ball.

Balls and Strikes

Have the pitchers throw pitches and the batters just watch the ball into the glove and call balls and strikes. You'll be amazed at what batters think are balls. The best thing for good eyes are just seeing live pitching...lots of it, even if it is just being a batter while your pitcher is doing a workout. You can learn to read different pitches, and the pitcher gets better practice when there is a batter in the box.


Try golf whiffle balls, small coffee can lids (thrown like frisbees), pinto beans, etc, anything that has them concentrating on a smaller than usual target and hitting something that moves, rather than moving in a straight line. This will improve their concentration and teach them to follow the ball all the way in.


Use a series of three pitches to teach them to watch the ball. The first pitch, the batter swings over the ball. The second pitch, swings under the ball. The third pitch the batter hits the ball. Repeat this drill until they can do it every time. After that, you can really fine tune this: Pitch 1- just nick the top of the ball. Pitch 2-Just nick the battom of the ball. Pitch 3- Hit it right in the middle of the ball.

Two-Ball Soft Toss

Get two different color whiffle balls (say red & white) or mark half of the balls with a different color dot. Works better with whiffle baseballs or even golf whiffle balls. Its easier to toss s maller balls plus helps hitters in focus and coordination. Toss the two balls at the same time (from same hand) and ask the player to hit one of them, either red or white. This helps players to coordinate, focus and react ti=o hit the correct color ball.

Pick a Number

Take 3 or 4 balls, write a number on each ball. The players job is to see the ball well enough to tell you which number is on the pitched ball.