The Pitch: Women’s Softball Superstar Jennie Finch Details Her Rise Ball

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“One pitch at a time.” That’s how Olympic gold and silver medalist Jennie Finch described her game-day strategy when she took the pitcher’s mound. Take just one look at Finch’s softball achievements, and there’s no doubting that her routine has led to success. Aside from the Olympic victories, Finch led the U.S. women’s softball team to World Cup victories, Pan American golds, and numerous wins along the way.

BODY IMAGESo what are some of secrets behind her success? For one, she worked tirelessly to be a multiple-threat pitcher. “My dad always told me to never have a go-to pitch” in order to be able to be more adaptable, Finch says. “He was adamant on me being able to throw all five of my pitches in any given count, in any given situation, and I’m so thankful he taught me to do that.”

Finch also credits her strong relationship with her teammates, specifically her catcher, to helping her execute on the mound. As Finch says: “I love it—having a catcher that I can trust 100 percent, and that is basically in my brain and knows what I want to throw in any situation.”

Finally, Finch knew the importance of putting in hard work off the field as well. “I loved using the agility ladder for short, quick sprint workouts,” she says. “I did a lot of work with parachutes, working on the first two, three, four steps being explosive. Coming off the mound, you have to be explosive. There’s no sense in bringing all that explosive energy forward if you don’t have anything to resist against, which I think is often overlooked in pitching and hitting.”

Check out this exclusive video where Finch breaks down her rise ball and shares some words of advice.