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Cathi Aradi

The Pull-Up -- The Forgotten Drop

The ball comes to the batter as slow as molasses in January and moves like a cue ball falling off of a pool table. If there ever was a change drop, this is the mother of them all! One of the greatest benefits of this pitch from a coach's point of view is that it can be taught easily at any age level. I've had 10-year-old pitchers learn it as quickly as a 20-year-old. Probably the best benefit is that this pitch is very effective at the higher skill level of the game because most batters are looking to hit speed, which of course, this pitch lacks.

When instructing this pitch, there are a few simple guidelines to follow. First of all, the step must be ultra short, about 12 inches, depending on the size of the athlete. At delivery, the pitcher should be up on her toes, appearing much like a ballerina. The grip should be a three-finger, four-seam rotation.

The release should be as follows: At the bottom of the power phase (6 o'clock), the pitching hand should be pulled up the side of the body to the rib cage. The elbow should point toward second base when the pitch is finished. The delivery hand should not pass the vertical plane of the body and the pull-up must be as crisp as possible to create a tight downward spin.

As in all new pitches, start slow. Start close, then work the pitcher's way back to the rubber. Once the mechanics and movement appear to be good, I like to have her throw over an obstacle into a cut-away bucket. I use two wooden dowels and caution tape, which can be purchased at any hardware store. Keep the tape knee-high and about 15 feet in front of the bucket. Mix this pitch in with the turnover drop and enjoy the results.