Like the changeup, a good drop pitch can serve as an off-balance tool in a pitcher’s arsenal because it creates doubt in the batter’s mind as she tries to guess what’s coming next. More importantly, the drop pitch is effective at creating swing-and-miss strikes. When the ball drops several inches as it approaches the plate, the batter generally swings over the top of the ball.
At the very least, an effective drop pitch causes the batter to hit only the top portion of the ball, typically resulting in an infield ground ball. That said, the drop pitch serves as an effective “out” pitch whether trying to induce a double play or getting out of a bases-loaded jam.
So, how can softball players master the drop pitch? Maggie Kichler, MSI’s Director of Softball, explains below.
Turn Over Drop Pitch
- Hard snap down and staying tight into your hip
- Push up off the mound instead of out
- Four-seam rotation downwards
- Weight should be shifted forward
- Straight down with snap and not across body
The name says it all – a drop pitch should appear to be coming straight, but dip down before it reaches the batter. This forces the batter to start thinking much more strategically than when she faces a straight pitcher. The drop pitch combined with fastballs and changeups will play mind games with the batter, leading to strikes and forcing mistakes as she tries to anticipate the ball’s movement. Like the changeup, the movements preceding the drop pitch should mimic the set-up for a fastball.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our pitching series. Later, we’ll discuss the peel drop and its importance in a pitcher’s arsenal.
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