As the season progresses, most young players will hit a tough stretch. Pitchers lose one or more of the three most important things that make a successful pitcher – control, movement, and velocity. These three general areas are listed in order of importance and the following sections of this article will help restore a pitcher’s these essential elements to make them successful.
Being able to spot pitches is the most important asset. When a pitcher’s control is lacking, the release point is inconsistent. Fixing some key mechanics will lead to a more consistent release point.
1. Being square at foot-down – After the pitcher kicks and strides, at the point where the foot lands on the ground, the side of the hip must be facing the catcher. Often, young pitchers hips fly open too early. This leads to shoulder soreness and other shoulder issues as well as control problems.
2. Over rotation- most times the prior is the main issue. However, at release, sometimes a pitcher over rotates causing the release point to become inconsistent. Exactly at the point of releasing the baseball, the pitcher’s chest should be pointing to the catcher. At that point, the ball is thrown and the pitcher follows through.
As pitchers get older movement is essential to be effective. No question the mechanics in the (Control) section will help with movement, however, the most important position is (Throwing Position).
1. Throwing position- at (foot-down) the pitcher’s elbows need to be extended and even with the shoulders or above slightly. If the pitcher’s elbows are below the shoulders, the pitcher is not staying “on top” and will never get max movement.
2. Staying back- after a pitcher kicks it is important not to rush. The pitcher must break hands (spill the drink) before the body starts traveling toward the catcher so that the elbows have enough time to reach the high point which is even with the shoulders.
The above mechanics will undoubtedly increase a pitchers velocity. Staying back, staying straight (hip to target at foot down), and chest to target at release with a good follow through will give a pitcher max velocity. Remember, nothing is more important than throwing position. After stride, and at foot-down, does the pitcher have elbows even or above the shoulders, and is the hip facing the target?