Ways to Throw a Drop Ball in Softball
Throwing a drop pitch is essential in fast-pitch softball. Pitchers tend to dominate fast-pitch softball because they have an array of pitches, including the fastball, the rise ball and the change up. However, the drop is probably the most important pitch besides the fastball. The drop pitch will sink as it approaches the batter and it will produce groundball outs, which will help the pitcher seize control of the game.
This is the pitch that is often taught to young, pre-teen pitchers who show talent and can throw a fastball. The basics to the drop pitch start with you gripping the ball along the seams. You then take the ball back to a shoulder-high position on the back swing, take a short stride forward as you start the forward motion and then pull your arm back right after the release of the ball. This creates a dropping action of the ball as it approaches the plate.
In order to throw a more substantial drop, pitchers with a bit more experience can throw the peel drop. The peel drop requires a shorter stride from the pitcher. Instead of striding 18 to 24 inches as a pitcher would with a fastball, the stride should only be 6 to 12 inches long. Put all your weight on your landing leg and stay as tall as possible on your release point. When you release the ball from your fingertips, pull back sharply. The shorter stride accompanied with the sharp pull back will create a steeper drop as the ball approaches home plate.
Grip the ball where the the seams are the narrowest. As you bring your arm back on your back swing, slow your arm speed down slightly. Take a short stride as you step to the plate, perhaps about 6 to 12 inches long and make sure all your weight shifts to your front leg. As you release the ball, snap your wrist toward your inside hip. A good snap for the rollover drop will have your little finger pointing up at the conclusion of the pitch and your thumb will be pointing down. This can be a devastating pitch for batters to attempt to hit once a pitcher has mastered it. It can drop 6 to 10 inches from where the batter is used to seeing the fastball cross the plate.
Drop Pitch Drill
To perfect the mechanics of the drop pitch, take a bucket of 30 balls and stand 3 or 4 feet away from a fence or a catch net. Go through your pitching motion and exaggerate your release as you pitch the ball. Snap the ball directly into the ground and try to get it to bounce high into the fence.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.