Category Archives: Drills


1710 Lincoln Ave., Alameda, CA 94501

1710 Lincoln Ave., Alameda, CA 94501

School’s back in session and fall ball is revving up! Get started with a pitching/hitting mini clinic series August 24 & 31. See details below.

Flyer download here.

Intermediate/Advanced Softball & Baseball Players Welcome!
Girls & Boys


Mini-clinics series (2-­‐4 players) for softball and baseball players that are at an intermediate or advanced level.


August 24 & August 31
*Mini-Clinic is a TWO weekend series


Next Level Softball/Baseball Academy
1710 Lincoln Ave
Alameda, CA 94501


9:00am – 10:30am-­‐(Softball Pitching or Hitting Advance)
11:00am – 12:30pm-­‐(Softball Pitching or Hitting Intermediate)
1:00pm – 2:30pm-­‐(Baseball Pitching or Hitting Advance)
3:00pm – 4:30pm-­‐(Baseball Pitching or Hitting Intermediate)



  • 3 hours of lessons over two weekends
  • Video analysis of all players
  • Free Next Level t‐shirt

To Sign Up:
Please call 510‐521-­3385 or email

Please include:

Name of Participant

Pitching or Hitting

Intermediate (11am ­‐ 12:30pm) or Advanced (9‐10:30am)

Baseball or Softball

Elbow to Hip Arm Whip

The arm whip is one of the most important parts of the pitch. If you’re not whipping, you’re pushing. And if you’re pushing, the ball is more than likely slow. This means your mechanics and timing are off.

In order to whip the ball properly, you MUST get your elbow behind your hip. I see too many pitchers with their elbow locked out and/or with their weight out in front. What does this make the pitcher do? Lean over and push the ball. Pushing the ball is slow. Whipping the ball is fast!

Below are a few examples of some of the very best pitchers in the world. The videos are in slow motion. Pay attention to the release. Where is the elbow? BEHIND THE HIP! Beautiful!

Cat Osterman
(Olympic Gold & Silver medalist. Cat was recently inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. WOW! Cat and I went to the same pitching coach, Tim Timmons, in Houston, Texas.)
Amanda Scarborough
(Amanda pitched for Texas A&M University. I pitched for Texas State – yes, there was a bit of a rivalry! Amanda is sponsored by Worth. I’m in no way telling you to purchase a power drive. I have one – we will use it eventually. I just love the slow motion in this video. She has GREAT mechanics.)

Sarah Pauly
(Sarah was an All-American during her career at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. She is also a seven-year veteran with the NPF – National Pro Fastpitch. She’s an incredible pitcher.)

Strike Zone Home Plate

Live on the corners!

I’m a visual learner (I’m also a graphic designer!), so it helps when I can incorporate these types of visual tools into my coaching and training. The strike zone plate is the perfect tool to help pitchers see where they’re throwing the ball and have an immediate understanding of the outcome of that pitch during practice.

Let’s talk about how this thing works:

  • Green, yellow and red are painted on the plate to represent the different areas of the strike zone.
  • Red is in the middle of the plate which is the EASIEST location for a pitcher to get a called strike. It’s also the EASIEST location for the hitter to make contact. As a general rule, we want to stay away from that zone.
  • The yellow zone is closer to the outside of the plate, which will be a little harder for the hitter to make solid contact. If the hitter decides to take, the umpire will more than likely call it a strike.
  • Green is painted on the outside of the plate which is THE PLACE TO BE! I often say to my students, “This is where you want to LIVE.” Depending on the umpire’s zone, it may or may not get called a strike, but you have the highest chance to keep the hitter from making good, solid contact.

As a pitcher, this is the name of the game: make it as hard as possible for the hitter to make good contact with the ball. Staying on the corners is key. Use this home plate as a tool to make throwing on the corners a habit. Every pitch should be in the green… even when doing drills (even when you’re doing knee drills!)


earth axisOne of the most important fundamental skills of pitching is making the ball spin. The more spin you can generate on the ball, the more movement. But what is most important is that the spin is pure.

Think about the ball spinning similar to the way the earth spins on its axis. When the ball comes out of your hand, the “dot” on the ball is the axis. Pay attention to that. The goal is to not see that dot and just create the pure spin. If you’re throwing a drop or rise, the axis should be on both sides of the ball. If you throwing a curve or screw ball, it should be on the top and bottom.

There are lots of  tools and tricks to help you create more spin on the ball.

14" softball

14", 12", and 11" softball

Here is a 14″ softball which is great to throw during spinning drills. It makes you over exaggerate the movement in your fingers. When you switch to a 12″ or 11″ ball, throwing a curve or rise will feel easy!

Another great tool for pitchers is the Spin Right Spinner. If you see a wobbly spinner, that means your spin isn’t pure. Work on making the spinner flat. Remember, more spin = more movement! Photobucket

You can do these hand dexterity drills with or without a spinner. They’re great!

Playing Card Drill

Playing Cards Drill

I just learned about this new drill to help with hand-eye coordination. Ideally, play with 2 or more athletes for competition.

The coach stands in front of the players and throws one playing card up in the air for each player. The player must catch the card to get a point. If they miss, no point is awarded. Whomever has the most points when the deck of cards is done wins. For the next round, make the athletes put one hand behind their back. Switch half way through the deck.

This is a really fun drill to play with a group. It’s probably best with girls age 10 and up. Have fun!

Hitting Your Spots


Split the strike zone up into quadrants and stay out of the middle!

It doesn’t matter how many pitches you have – if you don’t have control of them, they are worthless. A pitcher that can put the ball where she wants AND when she wants is an effective pitcher. Control is the most important tool for a pitcher. The younger they understand this, the faster they’ll develop.

Always set up your target or have the pitcher aim for the corners. Always. Every drill. Every pitch. Always.

Use the quadrant as way for the pitcher to visualize where she needs to throw the ball. For younger pitchers, just have them work on the lower in and out spots so they can learn to keep the ball down. A lot of pitchers, especially the younger ones, think a strike down the middle is a great pitch. It’s important to teach them early on that this is NOT TRUE! A pitch down the middle is the easiest pitch for a batter to hit!

Reasons a pitcher misses their spots:

  • Mental game
  • Not warm or rushing
  • Change in delivery or grip
  • Aiming or pushing the ball
  • Unnecessary body movement

Making sure that your pitcher is focused during practice is crucial. It’s common for a pitcher to get bored and nod off into LaLa Land. Keep them focused. It’s better to have 100 pitches in a workout where they are focused than 500 non-focused.

10 Point Game

This is a fun game I play with all my pitchers. She starts out with 5 points. If she hits the target, she gets a point. If she throws a ball (or doesn’t hit the target), she gets a point taken away. If she throws it down the middle, she gets MINUS 2 POINTS. If she gets to zero, she loses. If she gets to 10, she wins!