Softball Pitch Types: The Riseball

Learn how to surprise opposing batters with the gravity-defying riseball pitch.

April 01, 2019

Unique to softball, the riseball is one of the most difficult pitches for hitters to identify. However, it is also hard for pitchers to learn. The riseball is a tight-spinning pitch that breaks up and out of the zone rather than down.

“This pitch can be hard to master since we’re working against gravity,” former professional softball player Jessica Vogel says. “If we have a nice, tight spin and good control, it can be hard for a batter to recognize and, therefore, hard for them to lay off.”


With the riseball, you need a good, tight snap to get the correct backspin. This will require you to have good finger pressure on the seams. Your hand will also need to be fully around and underneath the ball.

You can practice this by standing close to a partner and snapping the ball backward out of your hand. Make sure it is rotating in a spiral motion. For more information on gripping and snapping a riseball, check out these tips.

Once you’ve mastered the grip and snap, you can move on to the motion of throwing a riseball:

  • First, your legs should move toward the catcher.
  • Maintain a slight backward posture to create the angle for the rise.
  • You need a long-arm action. Imagine that you are scooping sand out of the ground and getting it fully around the ball.
  • Finish with the ball up into your belly button or chest.
  • Bring your back leg forward to meet your front leg.


Practice the riseball with this drill. Set up about half the distance from the pitching rubber and the plate. Drop to one knee with your glove knee forward.

Stay parallel with the power line. The power line is an imaginary line that goes from the pitching rubber straight to the plate. Your hand should come down in front of your body where you snap the ball.

Remember to keep your core tight and focus on your wrist snap throughout.

Add more to your pitching arsenal with these guides on the screwball and curveball.