Title:
Six step method for teaching and training the underhand pitching technique
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The method of teaching the underhand fast pitch softball pitcher is a new and proven technique derived from mechanics of the pitchers body during the underhand motion and the laws of physics. The six step method teaches pitchers how to pitch through dividing the motion into six different steps. Each step has been assigned a name to help generate a picture of the steps are in order to expedite comprehension and execution of each step. Due to the simplistic approach of each step and the use of pictorials, athletes of all skills and abilities are able to master the steps with out error with in weeks. The method also addresses the need to enhance pitching performance and reduce the risk of injury.



Inventors:
Huett, Amy (Farmington, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/546173
Publication Date:
04/17/2008
Filing Date:
10/11/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gary L. Huusko (Apple Valley, MN, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A six step method of teaching mechanics of windmill fast pitch softball pitching, comprising, a step one wherein a pitcher, the pitcher having all body parts normally found on a human being, starts from a set position, standing with shoulders down and relaxed, both feet centered on a pitcher's mound, with the right foot slightly forward of the left, wherein, starting from the set position, the pitcher with a ball in a ball hand and a glove on a glove hand, the ball and ball hand being in the glove, with elbows slightly bent, the pitcher raises its arms up and away from its body and toward a catcher, then, as the arms move up and out shoulder high, the pitcher will raise up onto both balls of its feet, position its shoulders behind its hip, and when the arms reach shoulder level, the arms stop and the pitcher will come down by lowering the arms, keeping the elbows slightly bent, and at the same time lowering the left foot so that it is flat on the ground, keeping its right knee bent wherein the pitcher's weight will remain over the ball of the right foot, the right heel being off the ground, as the right hand and glove hand continue down and approach the right hip, the right hand will rotate as it leaves the glove so that the palm of the right hand and the ball are facing the catcher, the right hand then moves past the hip and continues behind the pitcher at a 45 degree angle away from the body, and as the right hand leaves the glove the pitcher will turn the glove hand up and pull the glove into the left hip, the pitcher will slightly bend at its waist and pull the right shoulder back to open the body to a 45 degree angle, and once the right hand is about head high, the pitcher then flips the right hand up so that the fingers are pointing up and that the ball is facing centerfield, and a step two after step one wherein the pitcher, at the end of step one, will bring the right arm down toward the hips, as the right arm approaches the hip, the pitcher will then apply a downward push through the ball of the right foot and will stop any forward momentum through her right knee while the knee remains slightly bent, the right knee will then spring the pitcher upward while the pivot foot remains in contact with the ground thus keeping the pitcher's weight back at the same time whipping the right arm up along an arc to the top of an arm circle, the right hand and arm will being positioned past the eyes and in front of the ears, the right arm is straightened with the fingers pointing up and the palm facing the catcher, and as the right arm goes up, the pitcher simultaneously goes up onto the balls of the feet, slightly leaning back to make sure the shoulders are behind the hips, not in front of them, and a step three after step two having a part three-one and a part three-two, wherein in part three-one, the pitcher, after the end of step two, will pick up the left foot and bring the left knee up waist high, the left knee being pointed toward third base and the toes pointed to the ground, and at the same time, the right foot will pivot the body from facing the catcher to facing third base, after which the left knee, being positioned just below the waist, and the left foot, being pointing down to the ground, maintain balance and assure for proper timing, the pitcher then will need to balance on the ball of the right foot by keeping the right knee slightly bent during the pivot phase and leaning slightly lean back to counter balance the left leg, and wherein in part three-two, the pitcher, during the pivot, keeps its back straight by moving its hips and shoulders together and lock the hips and shoulders in place, moving them as one while the body turns on the ball of the right foot, and also during the pivot, while the knee, hips and shoulders are all moving together, the right arm is moved at the same time from the front of the body to the back of the body, the shoulders putting the right arm in position and once the right arm is in position then the pitcher can continue to move the arm down through the release point, the right hand then rotates from facing the catcher to facing centerfield when the shoulders move the right arm from the front side of the body to the back side, the right hand pivoting from facing the catcher to facing center field with the fingers then pointing up, and a step four after step three having a part four-one and a part four-two, wherein in part four-one the pitcher will slightly bend the right knee with no forward movement, then drop the left leg down as the right knee bends so that the left foot makes contact with the ground, the feet being about two shoe lengths apart, and as soon as ground contact has been made by the left foot, the pitcher forcefully resists as if in a tug of war, the pitcher remaining on the balls of the feet during this phase, and wherein in part four-two, while in the tug of war stance, the right arm will be placed behind the pitcher with the right hand and arm head high, the elbow will be straight, the ball hand palm facing center field, and fingers pointing out at a 45 degree angle, the right arm will come down until it makes contact with the body, first making contact with the body near the underarm and the top of the rib cage, when contact has been made, the pitcher stops the right arm and makes sure that the right hand is behind the hip by six inches, thus being at a release point position, wherein the pitcher then begins bringing its upper and lower body together by bending the right knee, and at the same time bringing the right arm down to the release point position, the left foot should arrive at the ground at the same time the right hand arrives at release point position to facilitate accurate timing of the pitch, when the right knee bends, the pitcher slightly leans the shoulders back so that they are behind the hips and keeping the shoulders back as the left leg plants, the pitcher resists and pushes the weight back off the ball of the left foot, the right arm and foot being the only parts of the body being thrown forward toward the catcher, and a step five after step four, wherein the pitcher is positioned with the body in a tug of war position such that the pitcher stands tall, shoulders behind the hips, with the knees slightly bent, then the pitcher shifts the weight over the ball of the right foot, then, with the arms resting at the side of the body, the pitcher pushes up onto the balls of the feet at the same time leaning the shoulders behind the hips, then the pitcher raises the glove hand up so that the glove hand is below the left shoulder and pointed toward the catcher, the pitcher then raises the right hand up as high as the top of the head, thus maintaining balance and keeping the pitcher's weight back, the right arm being at a 45 degree angle and the fingers of the ball hand pointing down, then to transition the ball hand from going up to coming back down the wrist flips up so the of the ball hand fingers are pointing up, thus preventing the elbow from bending, as the ball hand approaches the release point position, the pitcher pushes back off the ball of the left foot to throw the left hip and shoulder back or away form the catcher, moving the hips and shoulders together, and at the same time pivoting the body on the right foot so the body is squared up to the catcher, the right knee staying bent and pointed to the catcher and the left leg being at a slight angle away from the catcher, the right knee being bent pointing to the catcher and the right foot heel being up off the ground, the shoulders will then lean away from the catcher and stay away through out the entire motion, and lastly during the pivot, the pitcher will position the shoulders behind the hips and throw the right arm forward, the arm going in the opposite direction of the body, the body moving away from the catcher while the right arm proceeds forward toward the catcher releasing the ball at the release point and the pitcher staying on the balls of the feet until the ball is released, and a step six after step five, wherein the pitcher to leans away from the catcher through out the entire motion and continues to lean away and plants the left foot and throws the right arm forward, the pitcher relaxes the right ankle, slightly bends the right knee and puts the weight of the body over the right leg and the ball of the right foot, the left foot pressing down on the ground creating tension and resistance to stop the body from going forward, beginning the follow through of the right leg as the pitcher releases the ball, the pitcher will roll the inside part of the big toe of the right foot to the ground, the right foot dragging toward the left heel, then the right foot turning as the right knee is directed to point toward the catcher, thus creating a mark in the dirt that looks like a question mark as the body closes, the hip and shoulders then rotating until the body is square to the catcher and the step is complete.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the pitcher throws left-handed, comprising, a step one wherein a pitcher, the pitcher having all body parts normally found on a human being, starts from a set position, standing with shoulders down and relaxed, both feet centered on a pitcher's mound, with the left foot slightly forward of the right, wherein, starting from the set position, the pitcher with a ball in a ball hand and a glove on a glove hand, the ball and ball hand being in the glove, with elbows slightly bent, the pitcher raises its arms up and away from its body and toward a catcher, then, as the arms move up and out shoulder high, the pitcher will raise up onto both balls of its feet, position its shoulders behind its hip, and when the arms reach shoulder level, the arms stop and the pitcher will come down by lowering the arms, keeping the elbows slightly bent, and at the same time lowering the right foot so that it is flat on the ground, keeping its left knee bent wherein the pitcher's weight will remain over the ball of the left foot, the left heel being off the ground, as the left hand and glove hand continue down and approach the left hip, the left hand will rotate as it leaves the glove so that the palm of the left hand and the ball are facing the catcher, the left hand then moves past the hip and continues behind the pitcher at a 45 degree angle away from the body, and as the left hand leaves the glove the pitcher will turn the glove hand up and pull the glove into the right hip, the pitcher will slightly bend at its waist and pull the left shoulder back to open the body to a 45 degree angle, and once the left hand is about head high, the pitcher then flips the left hand up so that the fingers are pointing up and that the ball is facing centerfield, and a step two after step one wherein the pitcher, at the end of step one, will bring the left arm down toward the hips, as the left arm approaches the hip, the pitcher will then apply a downward push through the ball of the left foot and will stop any forward momentum through her left knee while the knee remains slightly bent, the left knee will then spring the pitcher upward while the pivot foot remains in contact with the ground thus keeping the pitcher's weight back at the same time whipping the left arm up along an arc to the top of an arm circle, the left hand and arm will being positioned past the eyes and in front of the ears, the left arm is straightened with the fingers pointing up and the palm facing the catcher, and as the left arm goes up, the pitcher simultaneously goes up onto the balls of the feet, slightly leaning back to make sure the shoulders are behind the hips, not in front of them, and a step three after step two having a part three-one and a part three-two, wherein in part three-one, the pitcher, after the end of step two, will pick up the right foot and bring the right knee up waist high, the right knee being pointed toward third base and the toes pointed to the ground, and at the same time, the left foot will pivot the body from facing the catcher to facing third base, after which the right knee, being positioned just below the waist, and the right foot, being pointing down to the ground, maintain balance and assure for proper timing, the pitcher then will need to balance on the ball of the left foot by keeping the left knee slightly bent during the pivot phase and leaning slightly lean back to counter balance the right leg, and wherein in part three-two, the pitcher, during the pivot, keeps its back straight by moving its hips and shoulders together and lock the hips and shoulders in place, moving them as one while the body turns on the ball of the left foot, and also during the pivot, while the knee, hips and shoulders are all moving together, the left arm is moved at the same time from the front of the body to the back of the body, the shoulders putting the left arm in position and once the left arm is in position then the pitcher can continue to move the arm down through the release point, the left hand then rotates from facing the catcher to facing centerfield when the shoulders move the left arm from the front side of the body to the back side, the left hand pivoting from facing the catcher to facing center field with the fingers then pointing up, and a step four after step three having a part four-one and a part four-two, wherein in part four-one the pitcher will slightly bend the left knee with no forward movement, then drop the right leg down as the left knee bends so that the right foot makes contact with the ground, the feet being about two shoe lengths apart, and as soon as ground contact has been made by the right foot, the pitcher forcefully resists as if in a tug of war, the pitcher remaining on the balls of the feet during this phase, and wherein in part four-two, while in the tug of war stance, the left arm will be placed behind the pitcher with the left hand and arm head high, the elbow will be straight, the ball hand palm facing center field, and fingers pointing out at a 45 degree angle, the left arm will come down until it makes contact with the body, first making contact with the body near the underarm and the top of the rib cage, when contact has been made, the pitcher stops the left arm and makes sure that the left hand is behind the hip by six inches, thus being at a release point position, wherein the pitcher then begins bringing its upper and lower body together by bending the left knee, and at the same time bringing the left arm down to the release point position, the right foot should arrive at the ground at the same time the left hand arrives at release point position to facilitate accurate timing of the pitch, when the left knee bends, the pitcher slightly leans the shoulders back so that they are behind the hips and keeping the shoulders back as the right leg plants, the pitcher resists and pushes the weight back off the ball of the right foot, the left arm and foot being the only parts of the body being thrown forward toward the catcher, and a step five after step four, wherein the pitcher is positioned with the body in a tug of war position such that the pitcher stands tall, shoulders behind the hips, with the knees slightly bent, then the pitcher shifts the weight over the ball of the left foot, then, with the arms resting at the side of the body, the pitcher pushes up onto the balls of the feet at the same time leaning the shoulders behind the hips, then the pitcher raises the glove hand up so that the glove hand is below the right shoulder and pointed toward the catcher, the pitcher then raises the left hand up as high as the top of the head, thus maintaining balance and keeping the pitcher's weight back, the left arm being at a 45 degree angle and the fingers of the ball hand pointing down, then to transition the ball hand from going up to coming back down the wrist flips up so the of the ball hand fingers are pointing up, thus preventing the elbow from bending, as the ball hand approaches the release point position, the pitcher pushes back off the ball of the right foot to throw the right hip and shoulder back or away form the catcher, moving the hips and shoulders together, and at the same time pivoting the body on the left foot so the body is squared up to the catcher, the left knee staying bent and pointed to the catcher and the right leg being at a slight angle away from the catcher, the left knee being bent pointing to the catcher and the left foot heel being up off the ground, the shoulders will then lean away from the catcher and stay away through out the entire motion, and lastly during the pivot, the pitcher will position the shoulders behind the hips and throw the left arm forward, the arm going in the opposite direction of the body, the body moving away from the catcher while the left arm proceeds forward toward the catcher releasing the ball at the release point and the pitcher staying on the balls of the feet until the ball is released, and a step six after step five, wherein the pitcher to leans away from the catcher through out the entire motion and continues to lean away and plants the right foot and throws the left arm forward, the pitcher relaxes the left ankle, slightly bends the left knee and puts the weight of the body over the left leg and the ball of the left foot, the right foot pressing down on the ground creating tension and resistance to stop the body from going forward, beginning the follow through of the left leg as the pitcher releases the ball, the pitcher will roll the inside part of the big toe of the left foot to the ground, the left foot dragging toward the right heel, then the left foot turning as the left knee is directed to point toward the catcher, thus creating a mark in the dirt that looks like a question mark as the body closes, the hip and shoulders then rotating until the body is square to the catcher and the step is complete.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to the teaching and training of proper underhand mechanics for fast pitch softball pitching specifically, a six step method teaching proper mechanics of fast pitch softball pitching through detailed explanations of the transitions from each phase of an underhand pitch motion to the next, whereby career ending injuries suffered by many young athletes due to the use of improper technique of the underhand motion are diminished or prevented.

2. Discussion of Prior Art

Prior art is based upon the laws of physics as they relate to the mechanics of the underhand fast pitch motion. Simply stated, the underhand fast pitch motion as a skill can be divided into four phases as explained by Gerry Carr in “Mechanics of Sport”, namely, preparatory and mental mind sets, the wind-up, force producing movements, and follow through.

The teaching approach used by many renowned pitching instructors has failed to teach the athlete how to properly transition from one phase of the motion to the next, leaving out important information that made learning how to pitch complicated and frustrating and that put the athletes at a higher risk of injury due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of proper mechanics. The prior art does not teach how to keep the weight back, how and why to keep the back straight, how and why to keep the arm circle in the proper plane, all of which are required to keep an athlete from being injured. Devices and tutors fail pitchers as well, because the pitcher needs to know how to move the arm correctly throughout the arm circle when the particular device is removed. Prior art devices do not solve the root of the problem of each individual needing to know how to keep the arm straight. When performing the underhand pitch, the elbow will bend if the pitcher is leaning forward, pivots the left foot too soon, pulls the arm through with out the shoulders, or even over rotates the shoulder. A device can not correct the cause of the bend; it only acts as a band-aid and forces the elbow to not bend even when the arm is in an incorrect position. When the device is removed from the pitcher, the pitcher will continue to throw incorrectly. Where these devices fail, the present method succeeds to teach the pitchers how to move their arm in the proper position throughout the arm circle and how to prevent incorrect movements. The present invention solves this problem by providing the pitcher with a complete six step method that is orderly and proven to teach and train pitchers through every movement of the underhand motion, as well as an explanation for each step. The six steps of the present method reduces the complexities of the underhand pitching motion down to a six step routine, each step easily shown to a student, who repeats it until muscle memory is achieved. The pitcher is also taught how the body interprets and reports the movements of the steps to the pitcher and how it relates to keeping the body in proper form. The athlete gains a tremendous amount of confidence once they are able to make adjustments with every pitch to maintain proper mechanics, which in turn gives them greater composure while in a game. The pitcher's ability to learn the six steps and how it feels to throw the ball with proper underhand mechanics also allows the pitcher to gain physical and mental advantage over their competitors or students of other methods.

DESCRIPTION OF THE MAIN EMBODIMENT

Your applicant has divided the underhand fast pitch pitching motion into six key step elements. To achieve the goal of training underhand fast pitch pitchers to maximize their performance and to avoid injury, the entire underhand pitching motion was analyzed. A specific point of transition was discovered between each step, each transition point itself a stoppage of motion, whereby pitchers can be taught each step individually in sequence, thereby learning the flow and timing of all the motions, steps and transition points, especially the ones that must done simultaneously. This method of teaching and training underhand pitching mechanics invention replaces an inefficient way of teaching through ambiguous drills, vague instructions and various pitching devices.

Descriptions throughout are for a right-handed pitcher. References to the right arm, right knee, right foot, ball hand, or generally to the right side of the pitcher means the side of the pitcher that is the same side as the throwing arm, and references to the left arm, left knee, left foot, glove hand, or generally to the left side of the pitcher means the side of the pitcher that is the same side as the catching or gloved hand. For left-handed pitchers, simply reverse the “left” and “right” references, making the ball hand the left hand and the glove hand the right hand.

Step One: The Bow

The pitcher starts from the set position with shoulders down and relaxed, feet centered on the mound, with the right foot slightly forward of the left.

Starting from the set position, the pitcher with the ball and hand in the glove and elbows slightly bent will raise the arms up and away from the body toward the catcher. The arms will stop going up when they arrive shoulder high. Then, as the arms move up and out shoulder high, at the same time the pitcher will go up onto the balls of the feet. Also, at the same time the pitcher will need to make sure the shoulders are positioned behind the hips.

Then, once the arms are up and the pitcher is up on the balls of the feet, the pitcher will need to come back down. The body will come down by lowering the arms at the same time the left foot is lowered to the ground. This is necessary for balance and for keeping the weight back. During this time, for the right handed pitcher, the right knee will stay bent and the weight will remain over the ball of the right foot. Therefore, the right heel will be off the ground. This position has the feel of preparing to sprint. As the right hand and glove continue down and approach the right hip, the right hand will rotate as it leaves the glove so that the palm of the right hand and the right ball are facing the catcher. The right hand then moves past the hip and continues behind the pitcher at a 45 degree angle away from the body. Also, as the right hand leaves the glove the pitcher will turn the glove hand up and pull the glove into the left hip. The pitcher will slightly bend at the waist and pull the right shoulder back to open the body to a 45 degree angle. It is very important that the pitcher does not place the right arm so that it is lined up with the right shoulder. The right arm must be positioned at a 45 degree angle away from the body to keep the right arm in proper position. Once the right hand is about head high, the pitcher then flips the right hand up so that the fingers are pointing up and that the ball is facing centerfield. This movement marks the end of step one and initiates step two.

Step Two: The Statue of Liberty

From the end of step one the pitcher will bring the right arm down toward the hips. As the right arm approaches the hip, the pitcher will then apply a downward push through the ball of the right foot and stops any forward momentum through her right knee while the knee remains slightly bent. The right knee has the feeling of hitting a wall. The right knee will then spring the pitcher upward while the pivot foot remains in contact with the ground. This action then helps keep the weight back at the same time whips the right arm up to the top of the arm circle. This is the first arm whip of two that occur with the underhand motion and is unique to the six step method. The right hand and arm will be positioned past the eyes and in front of the ears. The right arm is straight, the fingers are pointing up and the palm is facing the catcher. The position is much like one raising their hand is class. In addition, when the right arm goes up, the pitcher simultaneously goes up onto the balls of the feet. The pitcher will need to slightly lean back to make sure the shoulders are behind the hips, not in front of them.

Step Three: The Flamingo

Part Three-One: The Lower Body

From the end of step two, the pitcher will need to pick up the left foot and bring the left knee up waist high, left knee will be pointing toward third base and the toes pointing to the ground. At the same time, the right foot will pivot the body from facing the catcher to facing third base. When the pivot phase is done, the left knee will be just below the waist and the left foot will need to be pointing down to the ground. This is to help maintain balance and assure for proper timing. The pitcher will need to balance on the ball of the right foot. In order to accomplish this, the right knee will need to stay slightly bent during the pivot phase and the body will need to slightly lean back to counter balance the left leg.

Part Three-Two: The Upper Body

The Back:

During the pivot, the hips and shoulders must move together to keep the back straight. This is to keep the back safe. The hips and shoulders can not separate. Lock the hips and shoulders in place and move them as one while the body turns on the ball of the right foot.

The Arm:

During the pivot, while the knee, hips and shoulders are all moving together, the right arm is moved at the same time from the front of the body to the back of the body. Never move the right arm into position during this phase. The shoulders put the right arm in position, once the right arm is in position then the pitcher can continue to move the arm down through the release point. There should be no internal shoulder movements, meaning the pitcher shouldn't feel the shoulder muscles working during this phase.

The Hand:

The right hand rotates from facing the catcher to facing centerfield when the shoulders move the right arm from the front side of the body to the back side. The right hand pivots from facing the catcher to facing center field, the fingers will be pointing up.

Step Four: The Disco

Part Four-One: The Lower Body

The Legs:

From the Flamingo position, slightly bend the right knee with no forward movement. Then, drop the left leg down as the right knee bends so that the left foot makes contact with the ground. The feet should be about two shoe lengths apart. As soon as contact has been made by the left foot, forcefully resist as if in a tug of war. The pitcher will remain on the balls of the feet during this phase.

Part Four-Two: The Upper Body

The Arm:

While in the tug of war stance, the right arm will be placed behind the pitcher with the right hand and arm head high. The elbow will be straight, the palm facing center field, and fingers pointing out at a 45 degree angle. The right arm will come down until it makes contact with the body.

The right arm will first make contact at underarm and the top of the rib cage. When contact has been made, stop the right arm and make sure that the right hand is behind the hip by 6 inches. This is correct and is necessary for the right arm to be whipped thru the release point. We call this release point position.

Bringing the Upper Body and Lower Body Together.

From the Flamingo position, the pitcher will start by bending the right knee; at the same time the pitcher will bring the right arm down to release point position. The left foot should arrive at the ground at the same time the right hand arrives at release point position. This is the timing of the pitch. If this is off, the balance, stride and ball speed will be off. The timing has a beat. When the words plant, snap are said with a clap as each word is spoken, the timing between the plant and snap can be heard and comprehended by the pitcher. The pitcher will practice reproducing the timing during the left foot plant and wrist snap of the right hand. When practicing, this should be done without a ball so the wrist can snap with out the ball getting in the way. The pitcher needs to make sure there is no forward movement. When the right knee bends, the pitcher will slightly lean the shoulders back so that they are behind the hips and keep the shoulders back as the left leg plants, resists and pushes the weight back off the ball of the left foot. The right arm and foot are the only parts of the body being thrown forward toward the catcher.

Step Five: The Robot

The pitcher is positioned with the body in a tug of war position. The pitcher stands tall, shoulders behind the hips, with the knees slightly bent, then the pitcher shifts the weight over the ball of the right foot. When done properly an onlooker will see a straight line from the pitchers right shoulder down to the right heel. Next, before starting the step; the arms should be resting at the side of the body. Then, the pitcher will push up onto the balls of the feet at the same time leaning the shoulders behind the hips. Next, the pitcher will raise the left glove hand up so that it is below the left shoulder and point it to the catcher. The pitcher will then raise the right hand up as high as the top of head. This is necessary to maintain balance and to keep the weight back. The right arm will be at a 45 degree angle. The fingers will be pointing down. To transition the right hand from going up to coming back down the wrist will need to flip up so the fingers are pointing up. The pitcher must do this to prevent the bending of the elbow. As the right hand approaches release point position, the pitcher will need to push back off the ball of the left foot to throw the left hip and shoulder back or away form the catcher. Hips and shoulders must move together, not separately. At the same time, the right foot will pivot the body so it is squared up to the catcher. The right knee stays bent and points to the catcher. If the right knee straightens up, this indicates that there was a push forward by the right leg. Do not push forward at all. In order to keep the weight back the pitcher must push up and back off the ball of the left foot forcing the left knee, hip and shoulder back causing the right side to quickly square up with the left side. When finished, the left leg will be at a slight angle away from the catcher and the right knee will be bent pointing to the catcher and the right heel will be up of the ground. It will feel like the body is sitting down on the right heel. The shoulders will lean away from the catcher and stay away through out the entire motion. Lastly, during the pivot, keep the shoulders behind the hips and throw the arm forward. The arm will be going in the opposite direction of the body, the body will move away from the catcher while the right arm proceeds forward toward the catcher. The pitcher must stay on the balls of the feet until the ball is released.

Step Six: The Smiley

This step is the proper follow through of the drag foot. When done properly, the pitcher will see a smile mark in the dirt; some say they see a question mark, which would be more accurate. Straight drags, slanted drags and drags with sharp v lines are all indicators of the body being forward. To achieve a proper drag, the pitcher will need to lean away from the catcher through out the entire motion and continue to lean away even as the pitcher plants the left foot and throws the right arm forward. In order to follow through properly, the right ankle must be relaxed, the right knee must be slightly bent and the weight of the body must be over the right leg and the ball of the right foot. Also, the left foot will be pressing down on the ground creating tension and resistance to stop the body from going forward. The follow through of the leg begins as the pitcher releases the ball. When the ball is released, the pitcher needs to picture the right hand scooping up the right foot as well and throwing the right foot forward with the right hand. The right foot is released as the ball is released. With the right ankle relaxed the right foot will roll the inside part of the big toe to the ground, the right foot then will drag toward the left heel, then the right foot make a turn as the right knee is directed to point to the catcher. After doing so, there will be a mark in the dirt that looks like a question mark as the body closes. During the foot drag, the ankle will roll the right foot from the inside part of the big toe onto the tippy toe as the body rotates the hips and shoulders. The body should be square to the catcher and the step is complete.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a more detailed and specific approach to teaching the underhand pitching motion and how to perform the six step method. Step one teaches the pitcher how to generate momentum while maintain balance and proper form, step two teaches the pitcher how to generate the first arm whip of two, which has never been taught before, how to keep the shoulders back and what that feels like and proper placement of the hand, arm, shoulders, back and feet. Step three teaches the pitcher how to maintain balance, how to keep the back straight, and how to rotate the hand and arm through without bending the elbow. Step Four teaches the pitcher how to keep the weight back, how to keep the shoulders back, how to hear the timing of the pitch and how to time the foot plant with the release of the ball as well as how to create resistance through the plant foot to generate more speed. Step five teaches the pitcher how to rotate the body while maintaining balance and keeping the hips and shoulders together in order the keep the back straight as well as how to keep the shoulders back while the arm is thrown through the release point. Step six teaches the pitcher how to maintain resistance through the release of the pitch and how to drag the foot through properly. When the pitcher learns this foundational approach to underhand pitching, the pitcher will be sound, will know how make any adjustments needed to keep proper mechanics and will have a far less chance of injury.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of the pitching stance before the pitcher initiates the pitch.

FIG. 2a is a front view of the pitching motion during the initiating of step one.

FIG. 2b is a front view showing the hands and arms moving down.

FIG. 2c is a front view showing the glove and ball hand ready to move hand out of glove.

FIG. 3a is a front view of the pitching motion during step one.

FIGS. 3b and 3c show a front view of the pitching motion as the right arm continues to move behind the pitcher at a 45 degree angle.

FIG. 3d is a front view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step one.

FIGS. 4a and 4b are a front views showing the shoulders straighten up as the arm proceeds forward.

FIGS. 4c through 4e are front views of the pitching motion during step two.

FIG. 4f is a front view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step two.

FIGS. 5a and 5b are front views of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step three.

FIG. 5c is a front view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step three.

FIGS. 6a and 6b are front views of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step four.

FIG. 6c is a front view showing the pitching motion during the final phase of step four.

FIGS. 7a and 7b are front views of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step five and six.

FIGS. 7c and 7d are front views of the pitching motion during the final phase of step five and six.

FIG. 8a is a side view of the pitching stance before the pitcher initiates the pitch.

FIGS. 8b and 8c are side views of the pitching motion during the initiating of step one.

FIG. 8d is a side view showing the hands and arms begin moving down.

FIG. 8e is a side view showing the hands and arms moving down.

FIGS. 8f and 8g are side views of the pitching motion during step one.

FIGS. 8h and 8i are side views showing the right arm as it continues to move behind the pitcher at a 45 degree angle.

FIG. 8j is a side view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step one.

FIGS. 9a and 9b are side views showing the upper body straightening up as the arm moves forward.

FIGS. 9c through 9e are side views of the pitching motion during step two.

FIG. 9f is a side view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step two.

FIG. 10a is a side view of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step three.

FIG. 10b is a side view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step three.

FIG. 11a is side view of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step four.

FIGS. 11b and 11c are side views of the pitching motion during the final phase of step four.

FIG. 12a is a picture of the pitching motion during the initial phase of steps five and six.

FIG. 12b is a side view of the pitching motion during the final phase of steps five and six.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of the pitching stance before the pitcher initiates the pitch. The shoulders 1a and 1b are positioned down and are relaxed. The glove hand 2, with a glove 3 and ball hand 4 are placed together in proper set position. The right knee 5 is slightly bent. The left knee 6 is straight. The weight is over the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 is flat to the ground.

FIG. 2a is a front view of the pitching motion during the initiating of step one. The shoulders 1a, 1b are down and relaxed. The ball hand 4 is in glove 3 while the right arm 9 and the left arm 10 move together up toward the shoulders 1. The weight of the pitcher is over the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 goes up onto the ball of the left foot 11.

FIG. 2b shows the hands 2, 4 and arms 9, 10 moving down. The pitcher's back 12 starts to lean forward at the waist 13.

FIG. 2c shows the glove 3 and ball hand 4 ready to move the ball hand 4 out of glove 3. The back 12 is continuing with a forward movement at the waist 13.

FIG. 3a is a front view of the pitching motion during step one. When the right arm 9 goes back, the left shoulder 1b will be turned toward the catcher. The proper position of the ball hand 4 as it is removed from the glove 3 should be palm and ball down. The right knee 5 will be slightly bent to keep the weight of the body over the ball of the right foot 7. The weight of the body will be over the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 is flat to the ground to anchor the body and maintain balance.

FIGS. 3b and 3c shows the right arm 9 as it continues to move behind the pitcher at a 45 degree angle. The pitcher's weight from the body leaning forward is pushed down onto the ball of the right foot 7. The pitcher's body continues to lean forward at the waist 13 as the right arm 9 moves behind the pitcher.

FIG. 3d is a front view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step one. When the right arm 9 goes back, the left shoulder 1b will be turned toward the catcher. The proper position of the ball hand during the final phase of step one is shown with the ball hand facing centerfield, fingers pointing toward centerfield and the right arm 9 slightly away from the body. The proper position of the glove 3 is shown tucked into the abdominal area 14. The right knee 5 is bent as the weight is pressed down onto the ball of the right foot 7 and as the right knee 5 forces the body to not move forward. The left knee 6 remains straight to anchor the body and keep balance. The weight of the body is over the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 is flat to the ground to anchor the body and to maintain balance. The body leans forward at the waist 13 to protect the right shoulder 1a.

FIG. 4a shows the shoulders 1a, 1b straightening up as the right arm 9 proceeds forward. The right knee 5 stays slightly bent and tight to keep body from moving forward. The glove 3 stays tucked into the body. The pitcher's right foot 15 stays flat to the ground for balance.

FIGS. 4c, 4d and 4e are front views of the pitching motion during step two. The shoulders 1a, 1b straighten up as the right arm 9 proceeds forward. The ball hand 4 rotates from the palm facing the catcher to the back of the hand facing the catcher as the ball hand 4 passes the hip 16. As the ball hand 4 continues to move upward, the left arm 8 and the glove 3 will move upward until the right arm 9 is just below shoulder level and the glove 4 is pointed towards the catcher. The weight of the body is over the ball of the right foot 7 and the body is being pushed up onto the balls of both feet 7, 11. The right arm 9 continues moving up toward the head 17 as the pitcher goes up unto the balls of both feet 7, 11.

FIG. 4f is a front view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step two. The shoulders 1a, 1b are behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 is positioned behind the eyes 18 and in front of the ear 19 with the ball hand 4 facing the catcher and the fingers pointing straight up. The left arm 10 and glove 3 are pointing toward the catcher. The pitcher's body is up on the balls of both feet 7, 11.

FIGS. 5a and 5b are front views of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step three. The shoulders 1a, 1b are behind the hip 16. The left arm 10 and glove 3 are pointing toward the catcher. The left knee 6 is brought up to initiate the body's pivot on the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 will be pointing toes 20 down. The body's weight is over the ball of the right foot 7 in order to be able to pivot the body.

FIG. 5c is a front view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step three, showing the side of the pitcher after the pivot. The shoulders 1a, 1b are positioned behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 is positioned away from the body, with the ball hand 4 facing centerfield, fingers pointing up. The left arm 10 moves up and points to the catcher. The left knee 6 moves up and in, facing third base. The left foot 8 points down to the ground. The body's weight is over the ball of the right foot 7.

FIGS. 6a and 6b are front views of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step four. The shoulders 1a, 1b are placed behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 moves down with the ball hand 4 moving in an arc through the arm circle while the left foot 8 goes down to the ground. The glove 3 is pointing to the catcher. The left knee 6 is slightly bent while the left leg 21 descends down to the ground at a 45 degree angle. The right knee 5 bends slightly to facilitate the left leg 21 descending down to the ground. The body's weight is over the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 prepares to make contact with the ground as the ball hand 4 approaches the hip 16 to release the ball.

FIG. 6c is a picture of the pitching motion during the final phase of step four. The shoulders 1a, 1b are placed behind the hip 16. The ball hand 4 is just behind the hip 16 and ready to release the ball. The left arm 10 is positioned so that it is pointing toward the catcher. The left knee 6 is slightly bent as the left foot 8 makes contact with the ground but it does not bend upon making contact with the ground. The right knee 5 stays bent. The weight of the body stays over the ball of the right foot 7 until the ball is released. As the left foot 8 makes contact with the ground, as the ball is being released, the weight of the pitcher shifts to the ball of the foot 11 and the pitcher pushes off the left foot 8 without losing contact with the ground, such that the ball of the left foot 11 becomes a point of resistance between the pitcher and the ground.

FIGS. 7a and 7b area pictures of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step five and six. The shoulders 1a, 1b are behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 is positioned slightly behind the hip 16 of the body. The ball hand 4 is placed slightly behind the hip 16 and the wrist 22 initiates the ball hand 4 being snapped through. The left arm 10 and the glove 3 are pointing toward the catcher. The right knee 5 stays slightly bent. The left knee 6 stays slightly bent, though it will not bend any further upon touching the ground. The weight of the body is over the ball of the right foot 7.

The weight of the body is then pushed back on the ball of the left foot 8 as it makes contact with the ground. The right ankle 23 will relax the right foot 15 and cause it to roll the inside part of the right foot big toe 24 on the ground and drag it behind the left foot 8 a few inches, then the right knee 5 will turn and face the catcher causing the right ankle 23 to roll the right foot 15 onto the tip of the right foot big toe 24.

FIGS. 7c and 7d are pictures of the pitching motion during the final phase of step five and six. The shoulders 1a, 1b are positioned behind the hip 16. The ball hand 4 and right arm 9 are positioned and extended in front of the pitcher after the ball has been released. The glove hand 2 has been brought into the body during the release of the ball. The right knee 5 is slightly bent and pointing to the catcher. The left knee 6 is straight, but is not locked. The pitcher's weight is over the ball of the left foot 11 and the toes 20 of the left foot 8 have turned from a 45 degree angle to facing the catcher. With the right ankle 23 relaxed the right ankle 23 rolls the right foot 15 onto the tip of the right foot big toe 24 from the inside part of the right foot big toe 24.

FIG. 8a is a side view of the pitching stance before the pitcher initiates the pitch. The shoulders 1a, 1b are positioned down and are relaxed. The glove hand 2 and ball hand 4 are placed together in proper set position. The right knee 5 is slightly bent. The left knee 6 is straight, but is not locked. The pitcher's weight is over the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 is flat to the ground.

FIGS. 8b and 8c are side views of the pitching motion during the initiating of step one. The shoulders 1a, 1b are down and relaxed. The ball hand 4 is in glove 2 while the arms 9, 10 move up toward the shoulders 1a, 1b. The weight is over the ball of the right foot 7. Left foot 8 goes up onto the ball of the left foot 11.

FIG. 8d shows the hands 2, 4 and arms 9, 10 begin moving down.

FIG. 8e shows the hands 2, 4 and arms 9, 10 continuing to move down. The back 12 begins to lean forward at the waist 13.

FIGS. 8f and 8g are side views of the pitching motion during step one. As the right arm 9 goes back the left shoulder 1b turns slightly in and toward the catcher. The ball hand 4 should be palm forward as it leaves the glove 3. The right knee 5 will be slightly bent to keep the weight of the body over the ball of the right foot 7. The weight of the body will be over the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 is flat to the ground to anchor the body and maintain balance. The pitcher's body begins to bend forward at the waist 13.

FIGS. 8h and 8i show the right arm 9 as it continues to move behind the pitcher at a 45 degree angle. The pitcher's weight from the body bending forward is pushed down onto the ball of the right foot 7. The body continues to lean forward at the waist 13 as the right arm 9 moves behind the pitcher.

FIG. 8j is a side view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step one. When the right arm 9 goes back, the left shoulder 1b will turn toward the catcher. The proper position of the ball hand 4 during the final phase of step one is such that the ball hand 4 faces centerfield, with the fingers pointing toward centerfield and the right arm 9 facing centerfield and the right arm 9 being positioned slightly away from the body. The proper position of the glove 3 is such that the glove 3 is tucked into the abdominal area 14. The right knee 5 bent as the weight is pressed down onto the ball of the right foot 7 and as the right knee 5 forces the body to not move forward. The left knee 6 is straight to anchor the body and maintain balance. The weight of the body is over the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 is flat to the ground to anchor the body and to maintain balance. The body bends forward at the waist 13 to protect the right shoulder 1a and to generate momentum.

FIGS. 9a and 9b show the upper body straightening up as the arm moves forward. The ball hand 4 is pulled back at the wrist 22 to prepare for the release of the ball. The right knee 5 and ball of the right foot 7 resist the body's forward momentum in order to whip the right arm 9 up to the top of the arc of the arm circle.

FIGS. 9c, 9d and 9e are side views of the pitching motion during step two. The shoulders 1a, 1b straighten up as the right arm 9 proceeds forward. The ball hand 4 rotates from the palm 25 facing the catcher to the back of the ball hand 26 facing the catcher as the ball hand 4 passes the hip 16. The position of the ball hand 4 continues to move upward, the left arm 10 will move upward until the right arm 9 is positioned below the right shoulder 1a and the glove 3 is pointing to the catcher. The weight of the body is over the ball of the right foot 7 and the body is being pushed up onto the balls of the feet 7, 11. The right arm 9 continues moving up toward the head 17 as both feet 8, 15 go up onto the balls of the feet 7, 11. As the ball hand 4 rotates as it reaches a position near the hip 16, the right knee 5 will dip slightly putting more weight down onto the ball of the right foot 7, then spring up as the right arm 9 goes up to whip the right arm 9 up to the top of the arc of the arm circle just past the eyes 18, but in front of the ears 19.

FIG. 9f is a side view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step two. The shoulders 1a, 1b are behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 is properly positioned behind the eyes 18 and in front of the ear 19, the ball hand 4 is facing the catcher and the fingers are pointing straight up. The left arm 10 and glove hand 2 are pointing to the catcher. The body is up on the balls of the feet 7, 11.

FIG. 10a is a side view of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step three. The shoulders 1a, 1b are behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 is properly positioned and has begun to rotate as the body begins to rotate the shoulders 1a, 1b. The left arm 10 is pointing toward the catcher. The left knee 6 is brought up to initiate the body's pivot on the ball of the right foot 7. The proper position of the toes 20 of the left foot 8 will be pointing down. The body's weight is over the ball of the right foot 7 in order to be able to pivot the body.

FIG. 10b is a side view of the pitching motion during the final phase of step three. The shoulders 1a, 1b are placed behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 is properly positioned away from the body, with the ball hand 4 facing centerfield, fingers pointing up. The left arm 10 and glove hand 2 are up and pointing to the catcher. The left knee 6 is up and in and facing third base. The left foot 8 is pointing down to the ground to help maintain balance. The body's weight is over the ball of the right foot 7.

FIG. 11a is side view of the pitching motion during the initial phase of step four. The shoulders 1a, 1b are placed behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 is coming down through the arm circle while the right foot 15 goes down to the ground. The glove 3 points to the catcher. The left knee 6 is slightly bent while the left leg 21 descends down to the ground at a 45 degree angle. The right knee 5 bends slightly to facilitate the left leg's 21 descent to the ground. The body's weight is over the ball of the right foot 7. The left foot 8 prepares to make contact with the ground as the ball hand 4 approaches the hip 16 to release the ball.

FIGS. 11b and 11c are pictures of the pitching motion during the final phase of step four. The shoulders 1a, 1b are behind the hip 16. The ball hand 4 is behind the hip 16 and ready to release the ball off the finger tips. The left arm 10 is positioned so that it is pointing toward the catcher. The left knee 6 is slightly bent as the left foot 8 makes contact with the ground but it does not bend upon making contact with the ground. The right knee 5 stays bent. The weight of the body stays over the ball of the right foot 7 until the ball is released. As the left foot 8 makes contact with the ground, as the ball is being released, the weight of the pitcher shifts to the ball of the foot 11 and the pitcher pushes off the left foot 8 without losing contact with the ground, such that the ball of the left foot 11 becomes a point of resistance between the pitcher and the ground.

FIG. 12a is a picture of the pitching motion during the initial phase of steps five and six. The shoulders 1a, 1b are behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 is positioned slightly behind the hip 16. The ball hand 4 is placed slightly behind the hip 16. The left arm 10 is pointing to the catcher. The right knee 5 stays slightly bent. The left knee 6 is slightly bent, though it will not bend any further upon the left foot 8 touching the ground. The right ankle 23 relaxes and rolls the right foot 15 onto the inside part of the right foot big toe 24 and the right ankle 23 continues to roll the right foot 15 onto the tip of the right foot big toe 24 as the right knee 5 turns to point to the catcher. As the left foot 8 makes contact with the ground, as the ball is being released, the weight of the pitcher shifts to the ball of the foot 11 and the pitcher pushes off the left foot 8 without losing contact with the ground, such that the ball of the left foot 11 becomes a point of resistance between the pitcher and the ground.

FIG. 12b is a side view of the pitching motion during the final phase of steps five and six. The shoulders 1a, 1b are behind the hip 16. The right arm 9 is pointed toward the catcher after the ball has been released. The glove hand 2 is brought into the body during the release of the ball. The right knee 5 is slightly bent and pointing to the catcher. The left knee 6 is straight, but not locked. The right foot 15 will drag on the inside part of the right foot big toe 24 onto the tip of the right foot big toe 24. The toes 20 of the left foot 8 pivot during the release of the ball from a 45 degree angle to facing the catcher.