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#AnythingButSoft: Two Simple Ways to Improve Outfield Arm Strength

We believe that softball is more than a sport - it makes players #AnythingButSoft on and off the field. This season, we'll be sharing tips and insights from leading coaches, nutritionists, and parents alike and talk about how softball makes athletes #AnythingButSoft.
When it comes to building arm strength among young outfielders, many softball coaches preach a similar refrain:
Get the rainbow out of the throw and send the ball to the infield on a line. Yet while that approach certainly makes sense in a game, it might not always be the most effective way to build up a cannon arm.

Janice Morey is the coach at Motlow State Community College in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Morey, who previously coached high school softball in the state and is currently in her first year at Motlow, said she uses two simple drills to strengthen her outfielders’ arms as part of an overall throwing program.

According to Morey, instituting a throwing program can be especially effective because you can really see a difference over a 6-10 week period.

“A lot of times you have to teach them to use more of their bodies,” Morey said. “They are either just using their arms and not getting whip of the wrist action.”

That said, here are two easy ways to improve outfield arm strength, according to Morey.

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Never Underestimate Long Toss

When it comes to outfield arm strength, Morey’s first recommendation is simple.

“Long toss, long toss, long toss,” she said. “It’s the best thing to do.”

The key to long toss is to elongate the muscle. It’s important to get the right motion and bring the ball all the way back. Throwing from the outfield involves a different motion than an infield throw, which is a quick movement back to about the ear.

“Some people still want to throw it as hard as they can, and long toss is trying to strengthen the muscle,” Morey said. “The rainbow is what you want to get there. A lot of people think on a line, on a line, but let it rainbow.”

Break Out the Bungee Cords

Another simple way to improve arm strength is by adding resistance, Morey said.

We also have bungee cords and exercise bands that we hook them up to,” she said.

Coaches can hook up their players to the cords and attach the cords to the fence. Or, if there is a workout in a gym, then they can connect the cords to a bench press.

As part of this resistance training, start the arm low and make an outfield throwing motion. The cord will try to pull your arm back. Going through the motion will strengthen the arm.

However, this is a drill that should always be done under supervision.

“There are different arm slots, and if you aren’t careful, you can mess a labrum or your shoulder up real quick,” Morey said.

From GameChanger and Maren Angus.

Softball, #AnythingButSoft, Softball Player Development, Softball Tips & Drills