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The “W” drill conditions pitchers in fielding the bunt, making a firm throw, and developing mental toughness.
Draw a large “W” in the dirt.
Stand on the pitching rubber with the “W” facing the pitcher.
The first pitcher throws a pitch to the catcher, drives off the mound to her right, fields a rolled ground ball or bunt from the batter’s box, makes a firm throw to first base, and returns to the pitching rubber.
The pitcher then throws her second pitch, drives downhill and fields a rolled ball at the top of the “W”, makes a firm throw to second base, then back pedals full speed to the pitching rubber.
The pitcher then throws her third pitch, drives downhill, fields a rolled ball to her left, makes a firm throw to third base, then back pedals full speed to the pitching rubber.
The second pitcher then toes the rubber and starts her round of the same drill, and then the third pitcher, etc.
This drill is an effective way to practice stride-foot placement.
The pitcher should be striding across the power line and to the throwing arm side of the noodle, since this is where it is intended for the ball to start.
Hang a rope, string, or preferably a swimming noodle suspended vertically from the ceiling. The noodle or rope should be 5 to 7 feet in front of home plate and as wide as the spot where the pitcher or coach would like the ball to be when it reaches that location.
The pitcher breaks the ball around the noodle. A right handed pitcher will pass the noodle on the right side and, if the ball breaks effectively, she will see the pitch caught on the other side of the noodle.
This drill aids the pitcher with an effective visual aid, preventing an early load.
The pitcher holds a glass of water in the pitching hand. A correct pitching motion will allow the glass of water to stay upright until the bottom of the circle, approximately 12 to 18 inches behind the body, as the arm begins to move forward for the wrist snap. At that point the water will spill out of the glass.
An early loader will spill water as soon as she reaches the back side of the top of the circle.
This drill will encourage the pitcher to stride further.
The coach places a rope in front of the pitcher, about 4 to 5 inches above the ground, at about three quarters the full distance of her stride.
This placement will train her to stride further, and force her to keep the stride leg higher and longer.
The distance and height of the rope can be changed gradually, but the pitcher must keep in mind the timing that must occur with the stride foot landing and the arm between ten o’clock and twelve o’clock.