There are specific pitching techniques that if taught correctly will fix other and more obvious issues with a pitcher’s mechanics automatically. Certain things considered to be mechanically “wrong” can be simply ignored because the basic and most important parts of the pitching motion far and away trump the issues that are most obvious to our eyes. As a parent or coach, ignoring obvious issues with our pitcher’s motion like release point or the step is very hard to do. One must realize that putting too much “negative” information, in a player’s mind is extremely counterproductive. For example, “you’re not stepping straight, you need to step straight!”
The 3 Absolutes & Tricks
If you can teach these three basic and important pitching mechanics to a pitcher, you can correct the obvious issues without ever having to tell the player they are doing something wrong. Let them learn and remember the positives instead of remembering the negatives.
1. Balance point
The pitcher must kick front leg toward opposite shoulder without turning the shoulder or hip away from catcher.
The pitcher must stay tall, stay back, and stay straight. Meaning, don’t bend back leg in the kick or leg lift because you will lose leg drive not gain leg drive. You must keep weight on the back foot for as long as possible until hands are ready to break and you are ready to stride. Keep hip and shoulder toward catcher.
Keeping your weight back
This is a must, for throwing hard. Your legs are the strongest part of your body and keeping your weight back helps utilize your legs to generate power up to your arm so that you gain velocity! Take a better look in our video below!
2. Throwing Position
This is the most important pitching “Absolute.”
Pitcher must now break hands. Hands break with the thumbs going downward toward thighs and the hands and feet must work together in that the leg comes down from the kick along with the hands/thumbs breaking downward.
Hands continue upward until the elbows get even or above the shoulders. ELBOWS MUST COME EVEN WITH SHOULDERS. This is the “equal and opposite” position where the elbows have the same bends and the arms are extended. If elbows are below shoulders, you will push the baseball instead of throwing it in a “whipping” motion.
SIDE OF HIP STAYS POINTED TO CATCHER UNTIL FOOT HITS GROUND.
After one is in the throwing position and front foot has landed the ball needs to be thrown.
You have to throw CHEST TO GLOVE. Glove must stay where it was in throwing position and the hips need to rotate so that the chest will literally go to the glove. GLOVE MUST NOT GO BEHIND THE BODY.
After chest to glove, pitcher must “get over front side”. The chest must at some point face the ground which we call the “Superman” position. Regain balance by landing in the ready position.
There are 2 basic tricks to improve velocity AFTER the absolutes of the motion are understood and being performed correctly.
Trick 1 is to add a “hip-fall” between the kick and the breaking of the hands/thumbs. When pitcher is at the high point of the kick, before the leg comes down, fall like a statue with the hip falling toward the catcher for one to two inches. This will lengthen the stride and add more leg drive without you even having to think about doing each thing, just think “fall.”
Trick 2 is to stick your chest out toward the catcher as you throw the ball “chest to glove.” This will cause the elbow to whip through more, giving you more velocity.
Take a look at this flat ground video to take your bullpen to the next level. It a great drill to gain that confidence you will need on the mound. it can be done a variety of ways but overall teaches you how to make every pitch count and works on the good mechanics of throwing. Enjoy!