Throwing the softball right is incredibly important, whether you are a pitcher or an infielder. When you are pitching the softball, you are focusing more on how best to throw the softball as hard and fast as possible. However, when you are in the outfielder position, one of the vital considerations is the throwing distance of the ball.
The throwing distance is important for a variety of reasons. If you are able to throw a softball far enough, you throw will reach the bases quickly. A powerful throw with good distance means that the throw reaches the base with no more than a single bounce. It also makes it easier for your team mates to receive the softball at the base.
As with other aspects of the softball, you will need to practice in order to achieve a good throwing distance. Following are some of the best ways in which you can increase your throwing distance in softball.
Work on your muscles
When you throw a softball over considerable distance, you are making use of various sets of muscles. These include your arms muscles, shoulder muscles and back muscles, to name a few. Needless to say, the stronger your muscles, the more power you can channel into the throw. And the more power your throw has, the farther it is going to go.
So your primary consideration should be to work those muscles and add strength to them. There are many ways of going about it. Many coaches recommend using harnesses or resistance bands when practicing throwing. This way, your muscles are forced to work hard and attain strength.
Improve your fitness
Although the muscles mentioned above play a very important role in softball throwing, there’s more involved. Your hips also serve as an anchor of sorts when you are throwing the ball. So strength and flexibility in your hips will help you increase the distance and improve the accuracy of your throws.
You can jog, sprint or perform a wide range of other exercises to improve hip strength. See if your hip is channeling the strength of your body into the throw. If it is not, you need to work on the hip rotation during the throw.
This should be a part of all your softball drills but particularly when you are practicing throwing. Warm up sufficiently before you start tossing the softball around the field. If you miss out on the warm-up part and directly start throwing the softball, you may injure the arm or suffer a pulled muscle.
Work on your throwing technique
Very often, the problem lies with the throwing technique. A player is not able to achieve a good throwing distance simply because he or she is not throwing the softball in the right way. For outfielders, the best throwing technique is to throw the softball overhand. Simply bring the arm over your shoulder as your throw the ball.
This has the additional advantage that it doesn’t add any spin on the ball and you are able to achieve a better accuracy as well. Overhand throw is also simple and does not strain your arm or wrist too much.
You can also ask a coach to observe your throwing technique and give suggestions on how best to improve it. Alternatively, you can practice minor changes to your throwing technique and see which of them best help you achieve better accuracy and greater distance without straining your body.
Consider the footwork
Footwork also plays a very important role in softball throws. If you are an outfielder, you have to bring in throws while running as well as while standing. This means you must know how best to pull of both types of throws.
When you are throwing the softball from a standstill position, you should begin with your weight leaning on the front foot. This is the foot which is opposite to the arm in which you hold the softball. Now as you are about to throw the softball, you shift the weight towards the other foot so that by the time the ball leaves your hand, your weight is leaning on the same foot as your arm. This footwork switch adds momentum and power to your throw.
Work with a partner
You can work with a coach, a teammate, a friend or even your parents. Often, a good observer can be very helpful in improving your throwing technique since the observer can see your entire movement while you can’t. Ask your partner, the observer, to study your throw and see if you make any obvious mistakes.
If you are working with a coach or another softball player, you can ask them more detailed things like did you switch the weight on your footwork at the right time and are you using a high enough overhand movement for the throw.