Many pitchers focus on developing their pitch speed to get batters out. A very over looked aspect of the pitch is spin rate. Mostly because it is difficult to measure spin rate where velocity can be measured and tracked on numerous devices.
The benefits of velocity on your softball fastball is a reduced reaction time for the batter. Without an off speed pitch to compliment velocity, batters can adjust and train for high velocity pitchers. Spin rate, however, creates pitches that move up, down, and side to side. Spin rate also effects how long the ball and the bat stay connected if and when the batter makes contact.
Pitches with high spin rate actually cause the ball to "jump" off the bat. The ball stays connected to the bat long enough for the ball to make one complete turn. The elite pitchers can reach high velocities along with great spin rates.
College bound fastpitch softball pitchers should be have 20 plus revs/sec on all their pitches to be effective against batters. Through my Pitcher Assessments, I have had several college level pitchers come in for testing. One pitcher expressed she needed work on her change up where another has a signature change up that consistently generates pop ups at the DI level. After testing, the pitcher that knew she needed help on her change up was only generating 12 revs/sec. She was throwing a knuckle ball for her change up and she often gave up home runs on that pitch instead of getting the strike out. The DI pitcher had an incredible 31 revs/sec on her change up!! Several batters made contact but very few were able to get the ball to leave the infield.
Below is a graph from my students comparing their grip strength to their spin rates.
Through my testing, I have also noticed that improving grip strength also improves arm speed. (Arm speed is measured by how fast a pitcher can deliver her pitch from her power position and not using her legs.) Being able to over come the strength imposed on the ball during the windmill motion will allow the arm to move faster. Strong grips can allow the arm to move faster and the bulk of the pitch speed comes from arm speed.
Developing spin rate begins with developing finger and hand strength. Strong hands can coordinate the fingers effortlessly to create tight spin on movement pitches like drop balls, rise balls, curveballs, and screwballs. Coachataclick adjustable grip trainer is a great tool for fastpitch softball pitchers to improve spin rate and velocity. Grip trainer is sold separately or as apart of the Banded Pitching System available in the online store.