I just did a search for “baseball pitching drills” and Google came back with 1,080,000 results. I share this to illustrate a point: there’s a lot of garbage out there on the internet. You can waste a lot of time trying to weed through it all. Even worse, if you go with some of the more popular drills, you’ll probably waste even more time performing them! Because the sad reality is that most pitching drills are, at best, great time-wasters and, at worst, totally counterproductive.
[circle_list] [h5]Here are the big problems with most drills that teach “good arm action”[/h5] [list_item]Teaching the “L” – this works completely against developing fluid, efficient arm action. The “L” is a point in time. All pitchers should get to this position just before arm acceleration (or what I like to refer to as catapult & extend). But it’s just that – a point – and you pass right through it.[/list_item] [list_item]Starting from the “Power Position” or the “Power-T” (or whatever they’re calling it these days) does not teach good arm action. The act of throwing involves creating momentum and transferring that momentum out into the ball. When you start from a pre-set position, with your arm essentially where it would be mid-throw, you kill momentum and disrupt timing.[/list_item] [list_item]They teach “Thumbs to Your Thigh, Fingers to the Sky” … Catchy, but an awful teach. This is just not what good big league pitchers do, and is not the way to develop a fluid, efficient arm path. The problem is it teaches getting the arm up as the main objective, when really the focus should be on whipping the arm through and getting to a good fully extended release point.[/list_item] [/circle_list] [h5]So Say No to All Drills??[/h5]
The slider breaks down about six inches and in by six inches to an opposite hand hitter. A left-handed pitcher’s slider breaks down and away from left-handed batters; down and in on right-handed batters. It appears to be a fastball but breaks at the last minute going about six to eight miles an hour slower than the fastball. It is one of the fastest pitches in baseball.
You may already know about the risk of sustaining an overuse injury to the pitching arm, from repeated movements. For that reason, upper body drills shouldn't place excess stress on the shoulders. This is a very simple exercise that gently stretches the rotator cuff, and doesn't require any special equipment. This a great exercise for loosening up the shoulders before practices and games!
Next, place your middle finger along the bottom seam of the baseball and place your thumb on the back seam (as shown in the middle picture above). When this pitch is thrown, your thumb should rotate upward, and your middle finger should snap downward while your index finger points in the direction of your target. This, of course, is the reason this pitch is great for beginners: the ball goes where your index finger points. The beginners curveball helps to align your hand and ball to the target.
Two pitchers sit, with legs crossed, about 20-30 feet from each other. The receiver puts his glove in front of his face as the target. The thrower must hit the target without the ball bouncing, and with minimal rocking motion. This will require the elbow to be above the shoulder, and a good rotation of the shoulders to just get it there, thus teaching good technique.
Throw the Blitzball just as you would a regular fastball, but with your two fingers positioned about a half-inch to the outside and the ball should naturally roll off of your index finger to the side when you release it (kind of like throwing a football spiral). This Cutter is thrown just like a fastball with an off-center grip and requires no wrist snapping of any kind. Just make sure that the ball rolls off of the thumb side of your index finger as you release it and the ball should curve sideways a good 3-4 feet (away from a righty batter if you are a righty pitcher and vice-versa).
Typically, it's only a good pitch if you've got bigger hands. That's because the pitch itself should be "choked" deep in the hand. This is how splitters get their downward movement. Your index and middle fingers should be placed on the outside of the horseshoe seam. The grip is firm. When throwing this pitch, throw the palm-side wrist of the throwing-hand directly at the target while keeping your index and middle fingers extended upward. Your wrist should remain stiff.
Naturally, when you do the 1st two steps correctly, this will follow suit. Downhill means more tilt or depth. A 2-plane Slider which breaks Down & Away, or Down & In off the plate, does far more damage to hitters. Its not a side to side breaking pitch. When you throw the Slider Downhill, hitters will say that they can’t see the dot. Their frustration builds as they cannot pick up in the spin. That is because the dot in on the bottom of the baseball. Needless to say, this is when you will miss more bats. Obviously, it means MORE STRIKEOUTS & A LOT OF PISSED OFF HITTERS WHO FACE YOU!
No two pitchers ever throw exactly the same, but their deliveries share three components: balance, timing and power. (See how to work on some of these: The Keys to Improving Pitching Speed and Power.) Every good pitching drill must address at least two of these components. It also must be tailored to your individual style. For example, say you specialize in sidearm pitching. A drill that teaches throwing downhill and forward trunk tilt would be a waste of your time.
From the wind-up position have the pitcher rock, turn and raise his leg to the balance position. However, instead of either stopping, or going on to pitch, he now lowers that leg to the ground next to and immediately behind the pivot foot. He should now be standing facing either 3b (rh) or 1b (LH), in good balance before beginning. Now he simply re-raises the non-pivot foot and pitches.
Grip the outside of the ball along the long seam. Set your index and middle fingers along the inside of the right seam if you are right-handed, and along the inside of the left seam if you are left-handed. Place your thumb under the ball, opposite from your fingers, at a 45-degree angle. Make the ball roll off your index finger as you snap your wrist, creating a spin that takes the ball down and across the plate. Do not twist your elbow or wrist. "Most good slider pitchers grip the outer-third of the baseball and cock their wrist slightly, but not stiffly, to their throwing hand's thumb-side upon release of the pitch," pitching instructor Steven Ellis wrote on his website, The Complete Pitcher. "This enables a pitcher to apply pressure to the outer-half of the ball with the index finger."
Your next indoor baseball practice is a great place to train your accuracy with a helpful and effective drill from the mound. To run this drill, you’ll need a catcher and an additional teammate to stand in the batter’s box. Your teammate should be carrying a bat and wearing a batting helmet, but they won’t be swinging at any pitches. Instead, they’re serving as a point of reference for your aim.
Your wrist and forearm position with the slider at release is only slightly different than the curve. With your curveball grip your palm is facing you as you bring the ball out of your glove.: Throwing a slider is similar other than your palm facing you, it is slightly turned in. Using your fastball pitching mechanics with identical arm speed and arm slot, release the baseball in front of you.
This is a good partner drill to practice with a friend or teammate, as it will give you both an equal opportunity to practice improving your accuracy. Start by sitting cross-legged on the ground, facing each other, about 20 feet apart (gradually increase the distance to 30 feet as you get better). When you start, toss the ball back and forth, aiming at each other’s centers. The less the receiver has to move his arm to catch the ball, the more accurate the pitch.
In order to throw a proper Curveball, it is necessary to get "on top" of the ball and then spin it downwards. The grip is pretty simple: just put your index and middle fingers together and then place the middle finger alongside the Blitzball seam. You should get a good, tight grip on the seam with your middle finger so that you can really get some leverage on it.
A straight curve requires mastery of my beginners curveball, because many of the same principles that apply to both grips. This doesn't mean that you have to throw a beginners curve (most pitchers actually start right out with this pitching grip). But the beginners curveball is a good place to start. Then, of course, this pitching grip is the next step. That's because there is essentially no significant difference between a straight curveball and a beginners curveball, except for the finger placement of your index finger. It should be placed on the baseball as opposed to pointed at a target.
Certain relief pitchers specialize in this type of slider. Known as “Lefty One Out GuYs” (LOOGYs) or “Righty One Out GuYs” (ROOGYs), they are brought into a game to face a dangerous same-handed batter. They usually feed the opponent a steady diet of these “runaway” sliders, tempting the batter to swing at a ball that looks like a strike – but isn’t.
Place your thumb. Place your thumb under the opposite inside seam of the ball. The further your thumb is from your other 2 fingers, the more the pitch will drop. The closer your thumb is to your other two fingers, the more it will slide. If your index and middle fingers are at a 10 or 11 o'clock position, your thumb should be at a 4 or 5 o'clock position.
Coach Phil grew up in Rye, NY where he graduated from Rye Country Day School before heading to Northwestern University on a baseball scholarship. Phil was drafted by Major League organizations on three separate occasions: first by the Detroit Tigers as a High School Senior, then following his Junior year at Northwestern by the Atlanta Braves, and finally by the Cleveland Indians after his graduation in 1999.Most recently, Phil pitched for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League. His years of pro experience and his commitment to studying the art (and science) of pitching give him a real understanding of what it takes to be a successful pitcher at any level.
So, when their focus is on adding extension to the delivery and trying to “reach out”, trunk rotation suffers. Because the pitcher is focused on arm extension (the idea of “reaching out”), his body exaggerates that action and forgets that upon landing the trunk must begin rotation followed by flexion in order to maximize all transferred energy so the arm gains maximum velocity.
Does your son or daughter have slider spin when throwing a fastball? A common problem in youth baseball is not informing kids that slider spin on a fastball is not ideal for throw/pitch efficiency. How can you identify if your son or daughter has slider spin on the ball in their throws? First thing is knowing what you are looking for when you’re playing catch in the backyard. If your son or daughter is a righthanded thrower, the first good indicator of slider spin is YOU may be catching the ball on the right side of your body consistently pulling the throws across your body. A slider has a clockwise rotation and spins on an axis that faces to player indicated by the blue line in the gif below. When playing catch you will be able to identify slider spin by seeing a circle in the middle of the ball. For righty or lefty throwers a 4 seam fastball should have close to perfect vertical spin/12 o’clock to 6 o’clock spin. A 2-seam fastball’s axis, in comparison to a righty, points towards 11 o’clock. For young kids slider spin when throwing a 4 seam fastball is not horrible for them but can become a bad habit to break. Plus we want to have the correct spin on the ball, especially as a pitcher. In this article, we will identify slider spin, what causes it, and how we can help eliminate it from 4 seams and 2 seam fastballs.
The beginners curveball is a great pitch for younger pitchers. In essence, this pitch does the exact opposite as a fastball. Where as a fastball spins from the bottom to top (which is known as "backspin"), a curveball spins from top to bottom. And instead of leverage coming from behind the top of the baseball (as a four-seam fastball), leverage on a curve comes from the front of the baseball.
The downside risk makes some experts advise pitchers to avoid drills altogether. But I've seen them produce tremendous results in too many of my pitchers to discredit them. What athletes, parents and their coaches need is a way to navigate the landscape of pitching drills. The following will help you know what to look for so you can separate the good from the bad.