Pitching is my passion. Through my enthusiasm and instruction, I try to pass on that passion to my students. A true passion for this unique skill is the best internal motivator for pitchers to practice. I've instructed young pitchers for over 28 years. In 1997 I became a full-time pitching instructor. I co-owned Batter Up, Inc. from November 1998 - August 2004. I opened up a new pitching school on my farm in Hanover County Virginia, August 2004. I just finished an addition to the training center including bathroom, store area and warm up room!Being a full time pitching instructor, I have the luxury of spending a lot of time studying the motion and inventing creative ways to teach it. Your greatest benefit is my expertise. I model my instruction and technique by studying the methods of the best softball pitchers in the world: our Olympians...especially Lisa Fernandez and Michele Smith. Why would we copy anybody else?I use video analysis to demonstrate the mechanics of these elite pitchers to new students. I video students and then analyze and compare each student's form to that of the Olympians. Then we go to work! We go step by step correcting and adjusting the mechanics and enhancing their performance. Efficient mechanics is our goal.One of the best parts of my day is to re-video at the end of the session. The student the can see her improvement and see herself hitting the correct positions. Some students can feel what their body is doing whereas others learn better if they see it. Body awareness is one of our best lessons. It is the pitcher’s responsibility to come back with that same perfect form. Bring a pitching notebook so I can write a "prescription" for practice success. Students are to have mastered their homework before returning the next lesson. I keep an appointment page on each student and document each lesson. I know what weaknesses had better be gone when I see them again! Lessons are fruitless if you don't practice at home. Practice with a purpose. Know what you are working on and why. Terms/ideas you'll become familiar with are attack position, reverse posture, resistance, figure 4 and hips staying open!!!!!! Review all the instructional videos on my website's store before attending lessons.The best way to improve a pitcher's accuracy and speed is by correcting a pitcher's mechanics. Practice Makes Permanent. Pitchers must practice correct mechanics at 100% effort. Aggressive mechanics done correctly builds speed and accuracy will result from consistent repetitions. “Strikes first” without regard for mechanics and speed is an absolute plan for failure…don't be fooled by instructors that teach accuracy first!!!!! Ask the Olympic coaches – all say teach speed first! Period.I have a JUGS radar gun to monitor progress. My goal is 55mph for 7th graders and 60mph for 9th graders. We have serious work to do to get you there or to get you caught up. It may be too late if aggressive mechanics were not ingrained in you from the start!II also use the new RevFire ball to measure spin speed of each pitch. We want spin speeds in the 20+rps (revolution per second) range. You must work on spins. A ball moves because of two things: direction of spin and speed of spin…nothing else. Too many kids have poor spin and poor movement. I really focus on arm whip, snaps, finger friction and spins!Parents, this is your lesson, too. If your daughter is going to be successful, you'd better prepared to get involved. Go ahead and get shin guards because you must spend years sitting on the bucket catching for your pitcher. You must learn how to be positive. I don't need a timid pitcher because you get after her for bad pitches! You fail to realize how hard this is! You also must set up a practice area she can use on her own as well as during those cold, dark winter months when practice is critical but hard to do because of all those excuses. And finally, you are my eyes at home. You must catch mechanical flaws and assist her in making corrections. Learn how to say it so your daughter will listen!!!Students have several options for pitching instruction:I have "Pitching Programs on the Road" where I come to your area several weeks in a row for group sessions. See the tab on my home page for specific programs and contact me to set one up in your area. These are primarily held in the fall and winter. I opt not to hold many of these due to lesson demands.Most students opt to train with me through individual or group lessons at my training center. Sessions are 45 minutes. I'd recommend two back-to-back sessions for any groups and for individuals over an hour and a half away. Contact me through email to set appointments up and to get prices. I book 3 months in advance so be patient and book ahead of time! Out-of-state students get weekend priority.Appointments are yours once booked. Time is valuable and I want to spend time with students who value their time slots. I expect you to keep appointments and give me the courtesy of a two-day notice of any cancellations. Payment is expected for any missed appointments. Always arrive early and let me know you're present. Completely warm up before our start time! Since we're indoors wear tennis shoes not cleats. Bring your own taped balls, Spin Right Spinner, cannonball, weighted balls, 14” ball, clicker and ball on a stick. New students may purchase these their first session. It is highly recommended you bring a video camera to record your lessons. Pitchers are responsible for everything we cover each lesson. Directions are on the website. Most importantly, bring a good attitude and lots of energy!Always email me to set up lessons! Resend if you don't hear back. I always answer!If you're considering bringing your daughter for lessons, the sooner the better. Practice Makes Permanent. You want to be on the right track as early as possible in her development. It's easier for me (and your daughter) to create correct habits than fix bad ones. Don't wait!!! I wish I had met lots of my students sooner!!!
Rita Lynn Gilman’s
Lacey Waldrop has trained with me since she was 10 years old. She was named the ‘14 USA Softball National Player of the Year and she was a 3-time All-American at Florida State Univ. She now plays professional fastpitch with the Chicago Bandits. She was the 3rd pick in the 1st round of the NPF '15 Draft.