how to grip a softball

How to Grip a Softball For Max Accuracy and Velocity

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The grip used by many softball players holds them back.

Many players have their fingers in the wrong place.

Other players have their thumb on the side of the ball (a big no-no).

Others still still have their fingers spread too wide.

In this article, you’ll learn how to grip a softball from both a basic and advanced perspective. You’ll also learn how players can throw more accurately with greater velocity and carry…just by applying better spin to the ball.

How to Grip a Softball: What We’ll Cover In This Video

Check out the video below, where I demonstrate and explain the proper softball grip. In this short video I discuss: 

  • The grip
  • Finger pressure
  • Finger gap distance
  • Spin – how it works and what we want 
  • What most girls struggle with 
  • What our goal is in applying good spin.

The way most fastpitch softball players grip the ball costs them velocity and accuracy.

If you grip the ball with the fingers spread too far apart, each finger will apply pressure to the ball more individually, causing sidespin (which hurts accuracy and carry). Many girls also pull their thumb onto the side of the ball, which causes more problems by allowing the ball to roll out faster. Learning how to hold a softball with good finger and thumb placement really can make a big difference.

Thumb Placement Is Important in How to Hold a Softball

The thumb should be on the bottom of the softball to support it and allow the arm to move faster without fear of the it rolling out early (much like what happens when you throw a beach ball and it shoots up into the air). Learning how to grip a softball starts with an understanding of what each finger and thumb contributes to the throwing motion.

Do NOT Use the Wrist Flick Drill to Teach Spin. 

In the video below, I discuss the softball wrist flick drill and why I think it’s not a good use of time.

The wrist flick gives a player the feel for the center of the ball…but it does so while teaching an elbow position that absolutely destroys good throwing mechanics.

This idea that players need to “get a feel for being behind the ball” really is overblown. As a former pro baseball pitcher, I can tell you that–after throwing a ball for a living for over 2 decades–the wrist flick drill doesn’t feel or look anything like a real throw. The feel you get from it has little–or nothing–to do with real throwing.

Now, being able to throw with the fingers in the center of the ball IS very important. And it’s true that we don’t want our hands to slip on the side of the ball. But we can teach these things using a lot of much better drills that mimic a real throwing motion.

Learn more in this article or by watching the video below. 

If you haven’t been to my YouTube channel before, jump over to the Snap Softball YouTube Channel. I have tons of drills there that will be a much better choice for you or your fastpitch team.

I also have lots of strength training, mental training and other videos to help you with your overall game. Fastpitch is tough and you need all the educational resources you can get.

Want to Throw Farther, with Better Accuracy?

I have a lot of great free resources to help you improve your throwing. The best place to start is by downloading my free eBook below.

I also offer an extensive online course on throwing that walks you through your own video analysis and drills.  She’s Got a Cannon is my course, and it’s the first of it’s kind.

softball throwing course

Leave a comment and let me know if this article helped you! – Dan

How to Grip a Softball: FAQ

Read below for common questions and answers on gripping and throwing a softball.

How do you hold a fastpitch softball?

There are a number of important factors in how you hold a softball to throw it:
1. Keep your thumb on the bottom of the ball (even if your hands are small)
2. Keep your middle three fingers close together, so they work as a unit
3. Make sure your middle finger is centered on the ball
4. Don’t fork your fingers too wide apart
These steps are the big ones in helping you get the proper grip on the softball.

How do I improve my throw in softball?

Follow these steps to improve you throwing in softball:
1. Improve your mechanics through throwing drills and better footwork
2. Get stronger! Bigger players throw faster, so start a strength and conditioning program with good coaching.
3. Do arm strengthening exercises. These directly strengthen your shoulder and rotator cuff, which improve velocity.
4. Increase your conditioning. Do more sprints and some slightly longer distance running that will improve overall conditioning.
5. Throw 4-6 days per week. Good arm conditionin is also important – if you only throw 2-3 days per week, your arm isn’t getting enough work to grow.
6. Long Toss. Throwing farther and challenging yourself to improve your throwing distance is a great way to improve your mechanics and max throwing velocity.

Can throwing baseballs be helpful to softball players?

Yes! Softball players should throw baseballs (or other smaller, lighter balls) as part of their training regimen. These smaller baseballs allow the arm to accelerate faster and stimulate the rotator cuff and other throwing muscles to adapt to these higher speeds. And, because young girls have small hands, the baseball allows better mechanics and an easier teach of good throwing technique. I recommend using baseball as a practice tool for young players.

3 thoughts on “How to Grip a Softball For Max Accuracy and Velocity”

  1. Pingback: Clone of Three Can't-Miss Softball Throwing Drills - Nutrition For Softball

  2. Pingback: Three Can't-Miss Softball Throwing Drills - Nutrition For Softball

  3. Pingback: How to Throw Sidearm in Softball with Good Mechanics | Snap Softball

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