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How to Improve Your Wrist Snap in Softball

Your throw is one of your biggest assets on the field. Without proper mechanics, your arm will be flailing mid-motion and you won’t get that accuracy and speed you’ll need. The foundation to your throw is your wrist snap. The correct snap, coupled with the correct grip, will give the ball the rotation it needs to propel through the air. The harder you snap, the faster it will rotate. The faster it rotates, the faster it travels.

Line It Up

First, line your ball with electrical tape (you can also use a marker). Wrap the tape all the way around your ball to form a complete circle, in line with your middle finger. When you grip the ball, your middle finger should rest on the tape. Make sure it’s straight! This simple tool will give you immediate feedback for your throw.

Isolate the Wrist

Working on your snap is simple and quick. The exercise below will become the foundation of your snap, and should be part of your daily warm-up routine. All you need is a partner and your lined ball:

  1. Start off about 5 to 10 feet away from your partner, and kneel on your throwing-side knee.
  2. Raise your throwing arm until your elbow is shoulder-height; your forearm and upper arm should form a 90-degree angle. Your upper arm should be parallel to the ground.
  3. Wrap your glove-hand around your other forearm to isolate the wrist.
  4. Make sure that you have the correct grip on the ball. Keeping your throwing-arm steady, cock your wrist back and then snap forward. You should feel the ball roll backwards off of your fingertips — this is the spin you want. If you snap correctly, the continuous spin will make the electrical tape appear as a solid, black line, and it should not wobble.
  5. Repeat for 10 to 20 throws and work to obtain that perfect, straight, continuous rotation.
Hot Tip: Strengthen Your Wrist!

 If you have a strong snap, you’ll have more spin and more velocity on your throw. Needless to say, you need a strong wrist to get a strong snap. One good strengthener is weighted wrist flicks.

Hold a light dumbbell — nothing over three pounds — in each hand. Simply bring your wrist as far back as you can, keeping your arm steady. Then bring your wrist forward as far as you can. Do this 10 to 20 times in sets of three. You can also use wrist weights.

Add the Release & Snap

After having perfected your snap, move back another 5 or 10 feet. You will need your glove for this exercise:

  1. Raise your throwing arm until your elbow is shoulder-height; your forearm and upper arm should form a 90-degree angle. Your upper arm should be parallel to the ground.
  2. Rest your elbow on your glove, which should be positioned across your body, just below your throwing shoulder.
  3. Make sure that you have the correct grip on the ball. Keeping your upper arm isolated, bring your forearm back about 45 degrees, and then bring it forward towards your partner. When your forearm reaches a 45-degree angle coming forward, you should have already released the ball.
  4. When you release, focus on the hard wrist snap you worked to achieve in the first exercise. If you snap correctly, you will see a continuous spin from your tape, and it should not wobble.

You’re Never Too Good to Practice

Some girls play ball throughout their entire lives, and one thing sticks — the fundamentals. You’ll certainly learn new skills on your way, but you will always need to practice your fundamentals. With that in mind, know that practicing your snap is not a waste of time — it’s invaluable! Never assume that you’re too good to practice something as small as your wrist snap. Learning to perfect your snap early will take you a long way in softball.

As a beginning softball player, you will soon find out that before you can perfect your throw, you must perfect your wrist snap. Check out this guide to learn more.
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