Throwing and catching a ball is one of the most important elements in the game of softball. Playing catch is something that is taught at almost every single softball clinic put on from the 8U level to the college level. Throwing mechanics can be taught in many different ways and a softball player’s form can vary based on where they learned their throwing mechanics from. Having the ability to play catch and execute a throw with good form is important in softball.
Below are three reasons why playing catch is important.
It Carries Over: The way you warm up and play catch before a practice or a game will carry over to that practice and game. Don’t believe in the chance of “having a bad warm up means that you will play really well during the game”. You play like you practice and that includes in warm ups. Accurate overhand throws are critical to the game of softball. If players are able to focus their attention to good mechanics on every throw in practice or their warm up, their chance of making an accurate throw in a game will increase. Accurate throws in games lead to outs and coaches are going to put players at positions to set them and the team up for success. If you are a player who wants to be a short stop, but can’t hit the first baseman in the chest on a throw, chances are the coach will put a player there who can make the accurate throw.
Coaches Are Always Watching: Not only does throwing and catching play a huge role on the field, but it also does at tryouts and at any college showcase camps. The second a softball player steps on the field for a tryout or a college camp, they are being watched. College coaches love watching how future prospects warm up- this includes the dynamic warm up and throwing progression. Never just go through the motions while playing catch, this doesn’t benefit the player throwing the ball nor the player receiving the ball. It’s okay to ease into a throwing progression, but by 10 or so throws in, players should begin to showcase their arm speed and accuracy by hitting their partner in the chest. This will strengthen the throwers arm, challenge them to keep good mechanics as well as execute a good throw, and it will increase their chance of making a good throw in a game. It will also benefit the receiver by working on their hand eye coordination and tracking the ball.
Limits the Chance of Injury: If softball players learn and execute a throwing progression as part of their warm up- with proper mechanics, they will limit or decrease the chance of injury. Practicing proper throwing mechanics helps players build muscle memory, develop arm strength, and it will carry over to accurate throws in games. The important thing is taking the time to learn how to throw the correct way. It is encouraged for softball players to throw a ball with their elbow high and come over the top. An easy way to check for good form on a throw is to line a ball with electrical tape across the “C” grip. If a player truly comes over the top of her throw, she will be able to see a perfect line from the tape traveling towards her partner. If the line is diagonal, the player is likely throwing side arm and should be corrected immediately.
Feature Image by: Dina Kwit