Throwing a softball requires you to use a chain of events that starts in your legs and moves in sequence to your hand. You might be surprised that you generate most of your throwing power in your legs, hip and trunk, rather than your arm. Using more of your legs and a more efficient technique will help you throw with more power during softball games and practices.
Practice throwing to the left and right and to targets placed deep and short to determine what your biggest challenge is in throwing. Try to hit each target several times, making adjustments to see how they affect your results.
Stand at a 45-degree angle to your target to get more of your hips into your throws. Place your right foot farther back than your left foot, if you are right-handed, with the heel of your left foot about even with the middle of your right foot. Rotate your core backward to create a back-and-forth, side-to-side motion with your torso.
Place the ball by your ear and bend your arm, with your elbow pointing away from you. Begin your throwing motion by turning your torso backward as you bend your knees slightly downward. Push your arm back with your shoulder turn -- don’t pull your shoulders backward with your arm.
Begin your throw by accelerating your right hip forward as you straighten your legs with an upward push. Move your hips forward, causing that movement to turn your torso forward. Your shoulders should then move your arm forward, rather than vice versa.
Throw the ball upward, releasing it as your arm straightens. Practice throwing with an upward rather than downward motion to see how this affects your arm speed and depth on your throws. Turn your forearm outward as you throw so that your thumb ends up pointing toward the ground, similar to giving someone a high five. Practice this by placing your hand near your ear without a ball in it, with your palm facing your ear and your thumb pointing behind you. Straighten your arm and turn your forearm outward so that you see the back of your hand and your thumb is pointing toward the ground.
Exercise with weights or resistance bands to build leg strength. Perform deadlifts, hamstring curls, heel raises, squats and lunges. Practice plyometric exercises to help with your knee bend. Do a variety of box jumping exercises. Add 10 minutes of core workouts that include ab and oblique exercises, three times each week. Build your arm muscles with biceps curls, lateral arm raises and triceps extensions, which include an outward forearm rotation, similar to the high-five motion.
- Relax your grip on the ball when you throw. Tensing your muscles can cause a decrease in acceleration, leading to slower throws. Think of throwing fast, rather than throwing hard. Check to see if the heel of your right foot is off the ground after your throw, or if you need to take a step forward after you throw, both of which are signs of correct hip movement.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.