Re: Re: Fastpitch Softball

Posted by: Beau (jarrell@dbtech.net) on Mon May 9 00:05:41 2005

Rise balls are thrown on an upward trajectory and gravity does not dictate an instant downward path of an object provided that the objects velocity is high enough to create a centrifugal force equal to or greater than the the force of gravity (f=mxa). This is how a satellite's orbit is maintained around the earth. Gravity will eventually become stronger again due to the mass of the earth being so much greater than that of the object orbiting. A pitched or hit ball is essentially a miniature satellite trying to orbit. It is then acted on by gravity and to a great degree aerodynamics. Wind drag slows down the ball and defeats it's ability to maintain the necessary velocity to orbit. Gravity then overtakes the ball and pulls it down. Satellites have fewer forces (none aerodynamic) acting on them and therefore take much longer to lose necessary velocity but do eventually degrade orbit and drop into the atmosphere and burn up (hopefully). Maybe I read it wrong where someone posted that a ball begins a downward path at release, but this is only true when it is delivered on a flat or downward trajectory. Otherwise, it would be theoretically impossible to throw or hit a ball straight up or to a lesser degree on an upward path. The act of a ball rising isn't simply a matter physics but also the same aerodynamics that allow for an airfoil (a plane wing is a good example) to create lift. The Bernoulli Principle states that as an object's velocity through a fluid (in this case air) is increased the pressure exerted on it decreases and as the velocity decreases, pressure increases. Velocity= Distance/Time. An airfoil takes advantage of the consistency of velocity in a rigid structure (plane wing, ball) and increases the surface area of the top by shaping it in an elongated bubble that tear drops to the back edge. This forces air to move over the top of the wing at an accelerated rate in relation to the flat underside (it has to cover a longer distance in the same time- greater speed). A ball is essentially a crude airfoil not because of it's shape, but because it spins. As the side of the ball spinning away from the direction of the throw (in the case of the rise, the top of the ball; the drop it is the bottom; curve or screw the appropriate side) moves toward the target, it actually has to move faster in order to not deform as it succumbs to the pressure of moving against the primary force vector- direction. As it spins faster, according to Bernoulli it therefore loses aerodynamic pressure on that side. Since there is less pressure, the ball is essentially pushed toward that side by the air. The Physics of Baseball (Adair) states that a ball cannot gain the necessary velocity or rotation when thrown on a downward angle to aerodynamically overcome the force of gravity. He says nothing (in my edition) of the action of a ball being thrown upward. It stands to reason that a ball moving in the direction of the change of plane (in this case up, in the case of the sinker down) has a better chance of the aerodynamic forces actually causing movement. Otherwise there could be no such thing as drop either. All of this is to say, reading one book doesn't make you a genius, my book LARNIN' includes degrees in human performance, physics, and orbital mechanics. By the way, I have played men's major fastpitch for over ten years and now make my living (after burning out as a college professor) teaching girls to throw the impossible pitch.
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> > > > > > > > > In the book "Keep Your Eye On The Ball" give a good explination and the math on the "rise ball." But beleiving there is a rise ball when there can't be a rise ball is a good example of why hitting in softball is in a dismal state and won't get any better.
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> > > (I am wondering who the best riseball pitchers, men or women, are that you have studied or at least watched in person? Just curious. I have seen a lot of effective "riseballers" who you could convince me were throwing a pitch that dropped less than you would expect and not rising from original trajectory. I have seen some who "appeared to make it break up much, much more than some of the first group. I am still trying to reconcile this "illusion". Just this saturday, I watched a girl throw backspin pitches (I call them a riseball, you call them a backspin pitch or whatever) and make good hitters who can drive the ball (some with rotational mechanics) miss the ball at the waist and below. OK, maybe it just looked like it was rising since we all expected it to drop more than it did. WHO CARES. It rose above the expected path and that is all that matters. In fastpitch, this pitch is called a riseball and a good one is a booger to hit. Especially if the pitcher can maintain the movement or illusion of movement in the strike zone. Just ask the Olympians who were baffled by possibly the best female rise ball in the world thrown by Cat Osterman at Fort Worth last summer. Last Sunday she used it effectively against the Olympians in a 2-1 win on a day when her rise ball was sub par for her. You can tell me it doesn't rise above it's initial trajectory and I'll say, maybe you're right but have you seen Cat pitch up close? Now if you tell me there is no such pitch, I'll say call it what you want, it's effective. Now if all you have seen is pitchers who have to throw it neck high to be effective, then you have never seen a good one. Can it actually rise? Doesn't matter.)
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> > > > > As was mentioned before,in college fastpitch,the pitchers have dominated.About 10 yrs ago,they went more and more to the riseball which was successful for a while and really encouraged the light aluminum bat/level shoulder armswing/linear mechanics.Pitchers then went to the drop ball which was the main pitch for a few years(PAC-8is what I see most),working up and down.Batters had to adjust and started rotating the body and bending at the waist and hitting the low ball,occasionally getting the lower body into the swing(low/middle-out location).The pitchers next adjusted with the off speed stuff,and now in the last year or two have had to learn to go inside/out and own the inside half of the plate to stay ahead of the hitters.There are almost no batters capable of keeping the hands in and turning on the inside pitch,yet.Pithchers now have the curve ball/screwball and screwdrop to go east west,torture hitters inside and keep it away from the lefty slappers.
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> > > (Interesting historical perspective. Thanks)
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> > > > > Hitters need to learn rotational mechanics and bottom hand torque to get better control of the inside half of the plate as a next step.The higher the riseball is the more it moves so it's still best to recognize and take it rather than look for it and try to hit it.
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> > > Yep.
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> > > > To Whom,
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> > > > A softball fastpitch cannot be released "just above the knee." For most girls (and guys) if they let their arms hang down at their sides their finger tips will come to about mid-thigh or a shade below. Girls know this because this is the usuall guide line for the lenght of skirts in most schools. Griping the softball makes the length shorter and most girls have their arms bent during their motion so the pitch cannot be relaased any were near their knee. Most of them release the pitch from hip level to the waste.
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> > > (You are presuming they are standing straight up which sounds like you are presuming stepping style mechanics. Most top pitchers use leap and drag mechanics dragging their trail foot far behind their lead or plant foot. This, combined with backwards lean, enables a lower release point.)
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> > > > I don't want to make a point of criticism but I think this demonstrates the nature of the problem with the teachings of softball techniques today. Releasing the ball below mid thigh is impossible unless the pitcher bends over in their motion, which none of them are taught to do and no good pitchers do. If they do bend over its early in their motion and are upright at release. Their arms are just not long enough to reach to their knee. Yet people will base a theory of pitching or hitting on this imaginary release point.
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> > > (You and I agree on the need for rotational mechanics (except of course for the left side slappers) and I don't want to make a point of criticism but even where you are right you seem to need to do a little more field research to add to your book learning or to what you have seen from the outside of the fence.)
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> > > > The rise ball is a pitch that is on an upward trajectory and drops from the pull of gravity. Its no more a "rise ball" then a fast ball thrown over hand to knee level is a sinker ball. Its just on a downward tregectory.
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> > > (A riseball is a backspin softball pitch that fools a batter by using lift to end up in the hitting zone at a point higher than the batter expects. Whether or not it actually does what it appears to do is an interesting discussion, but of no practical value.)
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> > > > Since gravity is a consistant force ALL thrown balls start to drop from the path at relase the instant it leaves the pitcher's hand. And the speed has nothing to do with it. This is a fundemental unchangeable law of nature and no spin, trajectory or wishfull thinking can change it. THERE IS NO RISE BALL.
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> > > (Is that why baseball's best struggle when they face a Joan Joyce or a Lisa Fernandez? I know a fellow who set SWC hitting records and got drafted into the pros. Pretty good hitter, not Ted Williams, but certainly very competent. Definitely hit rotationally. But when he tried to play high level men's fastpitch he couldn't hit a rise to save his life. OK, I won't call it a rise. It's a backspin softball pitch. Whatever it is, the men love to throw it at the knees and they wouldn't keep doing it if it wasn't effective. Once again, who cares if it rises or does the jitterbug, it works.
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> > > Louy, you may be right about much of what you say, but you sound like someone who took a walk in the woods and is prepared to lecture on botany. That's OK though, been there myself. Sometimes still visit. lol)
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> > > Mark
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> > Mark,
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> > Right, I will get some field experience and learn to beleive, as you do, that the ball is doing something it can't do. Yes I think this would be an intelligent way to do things. As I have said, people beleive, and say, the strangest things. For example, a backward lean will allow a lower release point, Get a picture of that in your mind.
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> > Well mark I am sure that you will believe what you beleive and no amount of that confounded silly book-larning aint changin your thanking, by golly.
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> > And I will assure you that I have more time on the field then you have been alive if you are under 35.
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> > Louy R.

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 Re: Fastpitch Softball Quinn Duty [ Sat Jan 16 07:08:05 2010 ]

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