Happy July everyone. Yes, I know.. July is over. Sorry for the delay in the letter here. I won’t ruin my apology with an excuse but, I will say that it’s been a very busy summer for me. Games, traveling, babysitting, (and not in that order!).
Thanks to all of you who’ve began booking the pitching clinics for the fall and winter months. I hope to have something worked out in my area for week nights in addition to traveling on weekends to various places for extra help. It really doesn’t take much to get clinics in your area, all we need is a facility and the kids. The rest is handled by me.
Regarding the video and DVD… we are shooting for an October release date. Right now, we are planning on having an event in Indianapolis to go with the DVD release party. This 2-day event will include a pitching clinic, private/semi-private pitching lessons and DVD release party/signing! As soon as the dates and Indianapolis location are confirmed, there will be online pre-registration on my website and www.softballone.com. Sign up for my newsletter to be notified! The video will be available in both VHS and DVD. We’re also hoping to have it translated into Spanish for all of the Latin countries. Again, this video will cover mechanics only. And without these mechanics, getting to the next level is impossible. There is a rough edit preview clip of the upcoming DVD online now about Crowhopping.
I’m very close to working a deal which will be taking me throughout Mexico and possibly Cuba this fall to work with beginners to National team pitchers of those countries. With softball confirmed as an Olympic sport in 2008, all International teams are now beginning to jockey for positioning. Regional tournaments such as the Pan Am games, European Cup, Latin America games, Oceana games, Commonwealth games, Asian games, All Africa games, etc. determine which countries get into the next ISF Women’s World championship to be held in 2006. From there, teams qualify for the Olympics.
While the this year’s Olympics has yet to begin, many countries are wasting NO time in getting ready in hopes of making it to Beijing in 2008.
This same concept should be applied domestically here in the US too. It’s never too early or too late to begin preparations for next year, and the year after. Depending on how far your pitcher wants to go, the foresight has to be there. And, lets be very clear about this… pitching clinics are great. So are pitching camps that people attend during the summers. But, even those aren’t enough. Unless the progress is checked and modifications are made, then it’s very possible for the lessons of the clinic/camps to get lost.
Having said this, I don’t believe a pitching coach is needed daily. But, it’s crucial to get the correct guidance and coaching consistently. So, follow ups are vital to maintaining great pitching mechanics and establishing a great program. It’s simply not enough to just have a clinic and assume the pitcher now has the right path to follow. If you find a coach/clinician who makes sense with what he/she says, then I implore you to maintain a working relationship with them.
Also, please make sure you understand everything this coach says, and WHY they are saying it. Pitching mechanics has to make sense, otherwise, it’s probably wrong! A case in point of what I’m talking about is one of the biggest misconceptions in all of pitching… the follow through of the arm.
Many coaches, including some of the most renowned in the USA, actively teach that the pitching arm should come straight up after releasing the ball. Some even say, as point of reference that the pitching elbow should be pointing at thecatcher with the hand touching the pitching shoulder at
the end. Not only does this type of finish eliminate the hope of getting great rotation on the pitches but, it eliminates the elbow’s ability to snap and help with velocity. I’m of the belief that the elbow has to snap, along with the wrist in delivering the pitch. This will add rotation and speed to each pitch. So, the follow through is more ACROSS the body than straight up. Think about it, when you throw overhand, does your arm come straight down or does it angle across your body allowing your elbow to snap? If you answered straight down… then we need clinic in your town RIGHT NOW. ha ha.
In next month’s news letter, I want to discuss how the fingers play a vital role in each pitch. Often, many pitching coaches spend too much time emphasizing the wrist snap when teaching pitches but, they forget that the fingers are what spin the ball. The wrist can’t do it alone!
Until next month… keep it rising.