Denville PAL Girls' Softball

Throwing Fundamentals


There are a number of different ways to throw. They all fall into two main categories; overhand throw and underhand throw. The overhand throw has a couple of variations; the full overhand throw, the quick snap throw and the side arm throw. The quick snap throw and the side arm throw are generally used by infielders where there is little time and the throwing distance is short. Underhand throws that consist of short tosses and flips are also used by infielders when quick plays are needed and the intended target is a short distance away (usually less than 12 feet).


The player should hold the ball in the fingers and should not press the ball against the palm of the hand. The player should spread the three middle fingers on one side of the ball with the pads of the fingertips on a seam. The player’s little finger should fit comfortably along side the ball for stability. Her thumb should take a position on the ball that is opposite the three middle fingers. The grip pressure should be different for an infielder and outfielder. The grip of an infielder should be slightly firmer than the grip of an outfielder. If held with proper tension, the ball can be easily pulled out of the outfielder’s hand. Mild resistance should be felt when attempting to pull the ball out of the infielder’s hand.

Full Overhand Throw

The overhand throw consists of the windup, the throw, and the follow-through.

The Windup – The windup is designed to put the body in the best position to throw the ball. The windup starts with the player facing the intended target with both hands together and chest high. The right handed player should shift her weight onto her left foot and step toward the target with her right leg. As she steps, she should point her right foot outward so she can rotate her body to the right with her left side facing the target. As the player’s body rotates to the right, her hands should separate and move in opposite directions. The glove should point at the target with the arm extended. The throwing hand should traverse a downward arc past the right hip and to a position behind the body and above the shoulder with the elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. At this point, the ball should be facing opposite the target. As the hands separate to these positions, the left leg should be lifted off the ground with the knee bent slightly.

The Throw – The throw begins from the ending windup position. The player should begin with all of her weight on her right leg while the left leg is up in the air with the knee bent in preparation to step. As she steps towards the target with her left leg, the shoulders and trunk should rotate around to the left, simultaneously bringing the throwing shoulder forward while the glove hand drops to a position along the left hip, with the elbow bent. The right elbow should lead the throwing arm forward with the upper arm perpendicular to the ground and the hand behind and slightly under the ball so the wrist is cocked. The player’s weight should be transferred onto the front foot. The player’s hand and wrist should snap through the ball to complete the throwing phase.

Follow-Through – After the player releases the ball, her weight should be forward and on her left foot. The throwing arm should become relaxed and the hand should continue a path across the front of the body, ending at the opposite hip. The player should bend forward at the waist and should slightly bend the left knee. The right foot should come up off the ground and the right leg should bend slightly. Upon completion of the throw, the player should momentarily remain balanced on the front leg before stepping down with the right leg to fully ground her body.

Quick Snap Throw

The quick snap throw is executed with the elbow, forearm, wrist, and fingers of the throwing hand. The player should stand facing the target with her hands together at chest level and her feet approximately hip-width apart. The throw should begin by shifting the weight onto the right foot while stepping with the left foot toward the target. Simultaneously, the player’s hands should separate and the glove arm should extend with the glove pointing at the target. The right hand should be taken up over the shoulder with the arm bent at a 90 degree angle allowing the elbow to face out (upper arm parallel to the ground) and placing the ball at a position even with the right ear. The player should make the throw with the right elbow leading the arm forward, followed by a pronounced snap of the wrist and roll of the fingers forward under the ball. The player’s glove hand should drop to a comfortable position at the left hip with the elbow bent.

Side Arm Throw

The side arm throw is executed by an infielder in her fielding position. The key is to get the infielder to stay low to the ground. After fielding the ground ball, the player should keep her knees and waist bent and should rotate her trunk around to the right, taking both hands back to her throwing shoulder. Her right elbow should be bent and extended out to the rear. The upper arm should be parallel to the ground. She then should step with her left foot toward the target and should pull her glove are out, pointing the glove at the target. The elbow should lead the arm forward to begin the throw. The glove arm should bend and should tuck the glove near the left hip and she should snap the wrist to complete the throw.

Underhand Throw

The underhand toss is usually made from the fielding position. The key to the underhand toss is to stay low to the ground with knees and waist bent. With the ball in the right hand, the player should keep the arm straight and should swing the arm back in a pendulum motion taking care not to bring the arm above waist level. At this point, the player’s hand should be behind the ball. The player should step toward the target with her left foot and should swing her right arm forward, pushing the ball toward the target. The player should not snap the wrist or bend the fingers. The player should toss the ball at the waist level of the receiver.

Backhand Toss

The backhand toss is also made from the fielding position. The player should keep low to the ground and should field the ball with two hands. While gripping the ball, she should rotate her throwing hand around to a position inside the ball. She should then step toward the target with her right foot and leads with a bent right elbow. Her wrist and forearm should remain stiff as she pushes the ball toward the target with her fingers. She should be careful not to flip the wrist or bend her fingers. The ball should be flipped at the waist level to the receiver.