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NFCA Drill: Pitching (Posted September 20, 2002)

By Larry Suba, Head Coach

Ravenna High School (Ohio)

Name of Drill: Grip Drill.

Equipment Needed: Two catchers (full gear), two home plates, 14-inch ball, weighted ball (add nails or buy weighted ball), regular ball, light ball (drill four holes into a regular ball and clean out the cork), two pitching mounds.

Objectives of Drill: 1) Strengthen a pitcher's grip on all of her pitches; 2) Learn to adjust her grip quickly.

Explanation of Drill: Set up two pitching stations with catchers (full gear). The stations will be close enough so each catcher can flip the ball to the pitcher next to her. There are six drills altogether, each for a different pitch.

Grip Drill 1 -- Fastball: Pitcher 1 throws the 14-inch ball and Pitcher 2 throws the regular ball. They must throw a strike to a corner. The catchers each flip the ball to the opposite pitcher. Pitcher 1 now throws the regular ball, while Pitcher 2 throws the 14-inch ball. A set is usually comprised of 40 pitches (20 with each ball).

The remaining five drills are performed the same as Grip Drill 1, except a different pitch is used for each drill:
Grip Drill 2 -- Change-Up
Grip Drill 3 -- Dropball
Grip Drill 4 -- Off-Speed
Grip Drill 5 -- Riseball
Grip Drill 6 -- Screwball

Note: Using the 14-inch ball to pitch helps in strengthening the grip for that pitch.

Options
1) Chart how many pitches each pitcher throws for a strike;
2) Put a time limit on the pitch count. If the pitcher fails to get the drill done in the allotted time, she runs.
3) Use the 14-inch ball with the weighted ball (all six sets).
4) Use the weighted ball with the light ball (all six sets).