Side arm or side lines?

Discussion in 'Softball Catcher Discussions' started by ovenmitt8514, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. default

    default Guest

    If ALL of the U.S. Olympic team infielders throw sidearm, what's the big deal of a catcher throwing side arm? My coach is fine with it, but it just really annoys me with other coaches or even parents tell me it's wrong. It works for me and I still get the girl out that's stealing or leading off. Can someone fill me in please. Thank you and have a nice day.
  2. default

    default Guest

    When you throw sidearm it puts a spin on the ball that causes it to move while in flight, this makes it harder for the infielder to field and make tags on throws, another factor would be the amount of throws a catcher makes, they might be worried about you hurting your arm. I went to an Akron Racers game and saw Olympic and Racers catcher Jenny Topping doing drills to ensure she was throwing over the top to second base. Just a couple thoughts, I hope it helps..
  3. default

    default Guest

    I myself throw 3/4 and sidearm....i never had a problem with it but i agree with 8dad when he says sidearm puts spin on the ball....when you throw down to second u want the ball to almost drop in the to the tag. Over the top throws help you accomplish that. Its your style to master...dont let every1 else tell you how to throw.
    It won't be a problem if you can control it...everything in sports takes work and practice.

    good luck
  4. default

    default Guest

    I was always told that throwing sidearm could cause injury--I think to the rotator cuff. Many players who throw sidearm don't seem to have that problem, but there are some that do.

    Now that I think about it, we had a girl on one of my daughters' travel teams that was having shoulder pain. Her doctor told her to quit throwing sidearm. She worked really hard on changing her throw, but every once in a while she would lapse back into sidearm. She would always complain that her shoulder hurt after a bit.
  5. default

    default Guest

    thanks to all 3 of you. it's not my shoulder that hurts, it's more my elbow than anything if i don't stretch well enough. the only time my shoulder hurt was when my high school coach forced me to throw straight over. I have no muscles built up in my shoulder but i have plenty in my elbow, that's why it hurts over but not side arm.
  6. TheSoftballZone

    TheSoftballZone Administrator

    Have we learn anything new on catchers throwing side arm?
  7. daboss

    daboss Well-Known Member

    Point of interest on this subject; While attending classes with instructors from NFCC (National Fastpitch Coaches College) there were sessions with differing views on throwing techniques. I'm old school and many college coaches in other courses were very conscientious about proper throwing form, pleading for us to teach the basics to players to insure less chance of injury. While taking a course that included fielding techniques the great Bill Edwards and Jay Miller pointed out the need for infielders to be able to accurately throw sidearm as a method to save time. Certain situations require the need to become "creative" to get an out. Speed kills in this game and the older girls can get down the baselines pretty quick when they want. Edwards would have the girls practice fielding a ball barehanded and throw to a target. They would charge a ball lying stationary on the ground and flip the ball barehanded to a base. They had timed the girls to show the difference between that and setting and throwing to the base. It was quicker. However; I never saw/heard them say a catcher should do it.

    Keep in mind these coaches were/are working with some of the greatest female athletes that play our game. The expectations are very high. The players are extremely well conditioned. They have the field smarts to know when they need to get "creative" and when to save their body. As mentioned, the sidearm motion normally affects the elbow while any joint including the wrist can be strained by unnatural motion. A true "sidearm" throw normally will add extra torque to the elbow. I say this because there is a difference between "throwing sidearm" and bending over and throwing with proper form. While watching the coaches work with the college players, it was obvious to me that many were indeed throwing more over the top but with the torso at a more parallel to the ground position rather than being perpendicular. The time being saved was from them not straightening up. This throw would add more strain to the lower back area but would mitigate any elbow or shoulder strain.

    What I believe many coaches miss when instructing the art of throwing while working with a catcher is the fact that many "lean" over partially to get some added torque from the shoulder muscle and chest area, not that uncommon of an outfielder trying to throw hard from the fence to home plate. The body will naturally have more strength in the motion this way because there is less resistance in that motion, thus allowing the muscles to pull thru 'cleaner'. I believe many misdiagnose a throw as "sidearm" when it may truly not be the case. The demonstration being held by Miller and Edwards, I saw maybe 2-3 sidearm throws. The rest were power throws from a bent position, they simply did not step to the target due to their momentum carrying them in a different direction. They threw across their body.

    Proper throwing form provides the least chance of injury while getting the most power in a throw. We aren't always granted the luxury of setting up a throw. The closer your position is to home plate, the quicker you need to react to a play. In my opinion, a catcher should never throw sidearm at any time. She'd be better off throwing underhand than throwing sidearm if it meant responding to make a play. We never need to worry about those natural athletes with good technique. It's the athletes with poor throwing habits, normally developed in the early stages of life, we need to constantly instruct. Just be sure what you are teaching. Girls react to instruction if you detail the reasoning "why" they need a good form and need a clean throwing technique. They still need to know that it's their call to get creative to make a play.
  8. PaulP

    PaulP Member

    It’s not easy to change someone’s throwing motion, especially as girls get older. Nevertheless, in my experience, girls with an overhand arm slot throw faster than girls with a sidearm throwing motion. An infielder that charges the ball is bent over and has a short throw, so they can sacrifice throwing speed for a faster, side-arm release.

    But in the end, a catcher is measured by their pop time. A 50 mph throw from home plate to second base takes 1.15 seconds; a 60 mph throw takes 0.96 seconds, about 0.2 seconds faster. My DD’s catching coach says a good transfer time (from ball hitting the mit to release) is under 0.8 seconds on most pitches. A 55 mph pitch will take approximately 0.53 seconds to reach home. Most baserunners can run from first to second in about 3 seconds. One way or another, the catcher needs to get the ball to second with enough time for the shortstop to tag the runner out.

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