The Pitcher's path to okc
Learn the secrets of D1 and Team USA pitchers.
Valerie Cagle, a redshirt Junior pitcher at Clemson University, is a two-time Top 10 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
4X All-American, Team USA World Champion, current D1 pitching coach, and SpinDr founder, Jamie Southern discusses what she loves about Valerie’s game and what young pitchers can take from Valerie’s approach to level up their own pitching performance.
What We Love About Valerie:
Jamie highlights several aspects of Valerie Cagle's pitching approach that she admires:
1. Fearless Attitude: Valerie goes at batters and challenges them from the first pitch of the bat. She doesn't shy away from throwing strikes and confidently engages hitters.
2. Spin and Movement: To be successful in challenging batters, it’s critical to have GREAT spin. Valerie excels in this aspect by throwing pitches on the plate, knowing that her ball will move enough to elicit swing-and-miss, foul tips, mishit fly balls, ground balls, or jams.
3. Consistency in the Zone: Valerie does not waste pitches outside the strike zone. She consistently aims to attack batters, making them mishit her pitches. This ability to throw strikes consistently near the plate is a valuable skill.
The Advantage of Being a Pitcher Who Hits:
Another quality that sets Valerie apart is that she is a pitcher who hits. This dual role allows her to gain insights into batters' thinking and adjust her pitching strategy accordingly. By understanding what hitters might be expecting or looking for, Valerie can make more informed decisions about pitch placement and selection. When pitchers have the experience of stepping into the batter's box, it deepens their understanding of the mental game and helps them refine their approach in the circle. Although it is possible for pitchers to develop this skill without hitting, the added perspective from being a hitter can sharpen a pitcher's senses and intuition.
Key Takeaways for Pitchers:
Based on Valerie Cagle's approach, Jamie Southern offers the following advice for pitchers looking to level up their performance:
1. Develop Great Spin: Mastering spin is the most effective path for pitchers to transition from being good to becoming great. Focus on generating proper spin and aim for tight rotation without any wobbling. Work on specific pitches until you can consistently throw them with perfect spin, allowing you to overwhelm hitters in or near the strike zone.
2. Trust Your Spin/No Fear: If you have fear of pitching on or near the plate, you limit your potential for success. Good spin and movement can give you the confidence to challenge batters and keep them off balance. Embrace the mindset of going after hitters and trust in your abilities.
3. Use Specific Workouts to Master Pitches: To help pitchers master specific pitches, Jamie Southern recommends checking out the workouts from the TWD Pitching Workouts Volume 1. These workouts can provide valuable guidance and drills to improve your pitching repertoire. By implementing these insights and focusing on spin, mindset, and targeted training, pitchers can enhance their performance and reach new levels of excellence.
The SpinDr, patent-pending, is a training tool for pitchers. It gives pitchers of all ages immediate visual feedback of their spins and is the only softball training tool that's engineered to feel and spin exactly like a full softball!
Purchase The SpinDr and take your pitching to the next level because when you control your spin, you control the game.
Our founder, Jamie Southern, was a pitcher at Fresno State and also happened to be a four-time All-American including three first-team honors. She won the WAC Pitcher of the Year award in all four years of her career and was later named to the ESPN All-Decade Softball Team for the 2000s.
Jamie was also part of Team USA and helped lead the team to a gold medal at the 2006 World Championships. She was a #1 draft pick in the NPF and was inducted into the Fresno State Hall of Fame in 2012. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about pitching!
Jamie is currently a mom, wife, and the pitching coach for Oregon State. Her passion is helping young girls perfect their pitch which is why she developed the SpinDr. You can find her on our social media platforms posting daily content to help young pitchers become the best they can be!