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The Softball Pitching Edge by Cheri Kempf

“The Softball Pitching Edge” is simply the best Fastpitch softball pitching book, ever. The first four chapters (“Pre-Motion Presentation”, “Feet and Legs”, “Arms and Posture”, and “Timing of the Motion”) set the beginning pitcher (and her parents) on her way by detailing and developing sound mechanics. The rest of the book is a fantastic resource for the intermediate or advanced pitcher and any Fast Pitch softball coach, teaching the mechanics, grips and body position required for pitching the drop, the change-up, the rise, the curve, and the screwball. It concludes with a section titled “Five more Factors for Excellent Pitching” which cover the importance of the catcher, practice routines and game preparation, mental makeup, physical conditioning, and communication. In short, it covers anything that could possibly be required to instruct a Fast Pitch softball pitcher.

There is so much that this book offers that it is difficult to narrow down exactly the one thing it does best. The chapters on mechanics go through every single part of the motion of a straight fastball pitch. Not only does it offer detailed explanations on the “why”, but it also dispels common misconceptions about pitching. One example is why the adage “open the door, close the door” is the wrong approach for pitchers. I have heard “open the door, close the door” since I started coaching, but I am now convinced that the author is correct, and will incorporate this knowledge into my own teaching.

Each chapter has multiple drills that reinforce the correct mechanics discussed. Even more helpful are the “Catching Common Errors” sub-chapters, which help a coach diagnose problems and identify which drills will help correct those problems. There are also hundreds of detailed pictures so that the reader can see and understand each and every movement and grip.

This is also one of the few softball books I have seen that advocates the use of videoing practice. Better yet, this is the only softball book that I know of that shows you exactly how to conduct a video analysis of a pitcher. This book is worth every penny just for this information alone (pages 52 to 54).

Finally, it not only teaches the mechanics of pitching, but also how to pitch -- specifically how to locate pitches inside and outside the strike zone, where the catcher should be positioned, and the movement one can expect on various different pitches. This is invaluable information for pitchers, catchers, and coaches alike.

"The Softball Pitching Edge" is a must-buy if you are a Fast Pitch softball coach at any level, a parent of a pitcher at any but the highest level, or a pitcher herself who wants to get better.


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