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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Proper Throwing Mechanics: A Must for Young Players

Please Teach Your Young Players the Proper Throwing Mechanics!!!

The single most important skill that a child needs to learn when he or she starts playing the game of baseball or softball is how to throw correctly. If a child does not learn how to throw correctly from the start, it makes teaching them the correct way down the road MUCH more difficult.

Learning to throw correctly at an early age is important because it will help prevent arm injury in years to come. Proper throwing mechanics along with developing and building arm strength as a child gets older also help to prevent arm injury. Having good solid throwing mechanics typically means more arm strength and accuracy, which enables a child to have the oppurtunity to play multiple positions when coming up through the Youth baseball ranks and in High School. If a child has "no arm" or cannot control where the ball is thrown, that will eventually limit what position he or she can play. For example, someone who has an inefficient throwing motion and a weak arm would not be a good candidate for SS or 3B. And would probably not fair well as a Pitcher. What I'm trying to say here is that if a player learns the proper throwing mechanics at a young age, it will give that player a greater opportunity to be on the playing field when they get older and help them to avoid arm injury.

There are several key things to teach a child when learning to throw:

1. Grip on the Ball: Remember that the child's hand will be small when in Tee-Ball. So all we can do with the grip is to make sure the fingers are on top and the hand is behind the ball. Also, watch to make sure that when the ball is released, the hand and fingers stay behind the ball.
We will discuss this further in the "Release" section below.

2. Front Shoulder & Elbow: Make sure the front shoulder closes down and points directly at the intended target. As this is done, the front arm comes up and points the elbow directly at the target also. If the player does not do this step correctly, there is ZERO power or accuracy on the throw.

3. Make the Circle: The actual throwing motion should be a circle. The throwing hand should be brought down by the hip (we actually teach players to brush the hip as they start the circle) and travel to the power position, which is at the top of the circle. (see photo below) As the hand is traveling towards the top of the circle, the ball and palm should be pointed AWAY from your body as seen in photo. The circle is completed by bringing the ball forward while keeping the arm at 90 degrees. Make sure the elbow is above the shoulder during the actual throwing motion. This will help avoid elbow and shoulder injury in years to come.

4. Step & Throw: Make sure that the player steps directly at the target. This step is just a comfortable step. Nothing big that will make a player become off-balance. Just a smooth comfortable step towards the target.

5. Release: The release of the ball should be out in front and the hand and fingers should be on top and behind the ball as mentioned in the "Grip" section above. Make sure the throw has backspin on it. As players get older, that backspin should get tighter and tighter. If the throw has sidespin of some sort on it, the player does not have their hand behind the ball upon release.
Also, make sure that upon release, the players arm is fully extended out front. A "long arm" circle with good extension is ESSENTIAL to proper throwing mechanics.

6. Follow Through: As I mentioned, make sure the arm is fully extended at the release point. As you release the ball, let the back leg and back side come through to create a good follow through. The back leg and foot should end up in front of the stride foot when the whole throwing motion is complete. Without a good follow through, there will be no power on the throw.

If you think a child needs assistance on learning the proper throwing motion, please check out a product called the Throwmax at
The Throwmax will put a player's arm in the correct position throughout the throwing motion.
You still will have to watch and make sure the child does the other key elements in throwing correctly, but the Throwmax will benefit a young player tremendously.

Have a great day, Nick

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick