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Friday, July 8, 2011

3 Drills to Help Improve You Pitching Mechanics in the Offseason

3 Drills to Help Improve You Pitching Mechanics in the Offseason
By Jim Bain

You may be able to throw a baseball 110 mph but without proper pitching mechanics and endurance you'll never become a quality pitcher. Pitching strength is the ability to throw that 110 mph fastball, consistently for strikes, for 9 innings.

I can't show you how to throw 110 mph, but I will teach you drills which will train you in proper pitching mechanics and increase your pitching strength.
These drills are the basic building blocks, the foundation, of the long road to perfecting our pitching mechanics. They may seem simplistic at first, but similar to "Wax On -- Wax Off " of the Karate Kid, they will build into sound pitching mechanics.

Mastering Upper body mechanics is the first issue to be dealt with and the "Knee Drill" or "Upper Body Drill" will teach these proper techniques.
This drill requires 2 players, both kneeling @ 30 - 50 feet apart. A right handed thrower kneels on his right knee, lefty on his left knee. From this kneeling position they simply play catch.

Without Lower Body involvement, the player is able to concentrate solely on developing good arm mechanics. Special attention should be paid to:

A. The shoulder alignment with the target, shoulder should directly face the other player.
B. Check for Good Circular arm rotation. Bad rotation results in shoulder problems.
C. The elbow should be at least as high as the shoulder, forming a right angle with the head / shoulder as the arm comes pass the ear.
D. Complete follow through is important. The pitching hand should completely cross the body ending at the opposite hip or knee. Finishing your pitching motion is every bit as important as the beginning step.

Performing this drill religiously until perfected will engrain proper upper body pitching mechanics into muscle memory, which will then become automatic.

Balance is critical to every aspect in baseball, but especially pitching and hitting. Without having good balance, besides all the other problems of control and velocity it causes, it will sap your strength reducing your endurance and quality pitching starts. This drill will help teach you how to maintain balance while pitching.

This drill is to be performed without a baseball and will include the full wind up and stretch position.

Perform your normal pitching delivery as if you were throwing to a batter. When you reach the "lifting of the leg" portion of your delivery -- Stop! Now hold that position for 5 seconds. There should be no teetering, wavering or wobbling. If properly balanced you should feel as if you could hold this pose indefinitely.

Finish your pitching motion. You have now, through intense practice of these two drills, learned proper Upper Body pitching mechanics and Balance. You are well on your way to becoming a quality pitcher.

Tarp Drill: This drill is especially helpful in allowing a pitcher to attain accuracy and velocity, because it can be performed without the need for a catcher. The player can do this by himself in his back yard.

1. Buy a 10' X 10' colored plastic tarp and cut it into 4 - 5' X 5' pieces.
2. Paint or Tape a rectangular strike zone on the tarp piece and securely hang it.
3. Place a pitching rubber, in line with a rubber home plate in front of the tarp, at ¾ three quarters the player's age regulation pitching distance.
4. Throw from the full wind up and the stretch position. After obtaining the skill to consistently throw strikes from this distance, move the rubber back to regulation distance.

As the pitcher's accuracy and velocity increases, divide the rectangular zone into 4 separate zones and have the pitcher throw at each zone within the zone.

Jim (Coach) Bain is a former Minor League Player and Coach of Youth Baseball for over 10 years. He has drawn from fellow successful coaches' experiences and combined them with his own extensive experience to create a Baseball Teaching Website. The site is packed with 100s of tips, drills, history and instruction on how to play and coach the game of baseball.

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  1. These three drills will definitely help me improve when it comes to playing the sport I like. Hope to have new ideas and information regarding this sport.

  2. Great article Jim! We will be including a brief synopsis of it on our new blog and linking to the original.


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