Find out instead what will really make a difference when it comes to wrist snap in pitching.
I know I’m going against everything you’ve ever learned about pitching when I say that wrist snap isn’t important. I work with pitchers everyday who work so hard to snap their wrists when they have no idea why this makes them better.
As a pitcher, you’re going to be told a million different things and not all those things are true, which is why it’s really important that you know WHY you do everything you do.
So let’s look at the wrist snap. Whether throwing overhand or pitching underhand the act of snapping or flipping your wrist doesn’t do anything to make the ball go faster or straighter or have more movement. I know you’re going to argue with me but think about it this way – your wrist never touches the ball so how can snapping or flipping it actually make the ball do anything?
I’m not saying the wrist doesn’t snap when you pitch underhand or throw overhand, but I am saying that trying to snap it won’t make you a better pitcher. What will make you better is the act of using the pads of your fingers to push the ball faster out of your hand. The pads actually touch the ball and are the last things that actually touch the ball. The pads of your fingers, whether throwing overhand or pitching underhand, transfer all the power and speed you’ve built up through the pitch and transfer it to the ball – or not.
Think for a minute about throwing overhand. I’ll bet your goal isn’t to snap your wrist when you release the ball even though your wrist does snap in the follow through. What you are focusing on is making sure your fingers push the ball out of your hand via the pads of your fingers. It’s this push with your pads that results in your wrist ending up flipped – but that’s VERY different than simply trying to flip or snap your wrist.
Instead of pushing the ball out of their hand using their finger pads, what I see most pitchers do is working really hard to snap their wrist only to open their fingers at release and letting the ball just pop out of their hand. While I know this sounds far too weak to imagine this actually happens with your pitcher, you’d be amazed. In fact, over 90% of the pitchers I work with, from 8 year olds to 23 year olds, simply open their fingers up at release instead of pushing it out forcefully using their finger pads.
Fortunately, there’s something you can do to help your pitchers learn to better use their fingers at release and resulting in more speed and movement.
My two favorite drills don’t even involve a softball. Instead, I love using Zip Balls from a distance of about 10 feet and doing the whole motion at about 25% of full speed. Going slow helps the pitcher feel and control everything she’s moving and using the Zip Balls isolates her pads. The small size of the Zip Balls allows only her pads to be on the ball.
The other drill I love for helping pitcher’s activate their finger pads is the Basketball Pitch. This drill does the complete opposite of the Zip Balls by overwhelming the pitcher’s hand and forcing her to be strong with her fingers.