Category Archives: Pitching

Pitching Instruction

Keep it Simple Stupid: How to Hit and Pitch without Overthinking

texas longhorns“The Baseball Brain-Mental Side of the Game”

“Baseball is 50% from the neck up”   - Ted Williams

How to Hit and Pitch without Overthinking

  • Remember Baseball is a Game and not a Life or Death Situation: Have Fun
  • Relax, Focus, and Keep the game Simple: Don’t do too much
Essentially pitching and hitting can be explained as a process that can be executed in a series of steps. 
 
Hitting can be explained as simple as Load, Stride, Swing or Load, Dance step, Squash the bug, or even Ready, Set, Swing…
and 
 
Pitching can be explained as Come Set, Lift leg, stride towards home and throw… just as long as it crosses home plate it can be called a pitch and or a strike. 
 
There are many other explanations for how to over analyze both pitching and hitting but most simply put..if you achieve the goal of either hitting the ball or pitching a pitch then your already half way to your goal. Relax step back from over thinking and remember that baseball is a kid’s game and meant to be played for enjoyment. At most the only detrimental thing that can happen upon failure is a little time passes and you get another chance at SWEET! GREAT! Redemption! The coolest thing about pitching and hitting is you get up to 3, 4 or 5 opportunities a game to succeed and even if not successful then you still can come out at a .500 average with success in the next game. Competition and challenging yourself shouldn’t be anything more than setting goals to better yourself and improve from where you were the day before. If you over analyze too much your thoughts can often become dense and get you down. Try to do one thing at a time and keep it simple when your opportunities to come up at bat or pitch and remember that as long as your trying your best, your doing what you can. And even if for some reason your not at your best you have teammates there to pick you up, play defense for you, or drive you in if you happen to get a walk. 

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The Pitching Tunnel effectively enables its users to hone their pitching skills and advance their sports careers successfully. All players strive to play in the Big Leagues and a Pitching Tunnel can make the path to the Big Leagues a little easier. Coaches and catchers benefit as they can sit back and enjoy watching their pitching staffs throwing full speed and getting their work done faster and more efficiently than ever before. Coaches save time, catchers save their knees and teeth, pitchers lock in and gain command of all their pitches. Wins increase and the organization becomes a contender almost overnight. Good pitching beats good hitting and all pitchers need more accuracy. The Pitching Tunnel will improve every pitcher on the planet regardless of age, gender or skill level and is fast becoming a standard piece of equipment on ball fields and sporting facilities worldwide. Would you like to improve your pitching?

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pitching tunnels 2

pitching tunnels

 

 

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How to “Do” Baseball in Simple Steps

astros tryout

  • Sign up for a Little League, Sports Association, or School Sports Team
  • Find out when Tryouts for Leagues that are in your area are to be scheduled
  • Post on social networks and send text messages to friends that you are interested in baseball
  • Get with a friend who is already playing and ask them to show you how to play baseball
  • Watch Baseball to Get an Idea of the Rules and Format of the Game
  • Hire a Baseball Coach /Personal Trainer to teach you the Proper Mechanics of Throwing/Hitting
  • Pick a position You would like to Play Defensively
  • Practice, Practice, Practice so when you eventually play in a game you can be prepared
  • Baseball is a Sport, so when “Doing” Baseball Have Fun and Keep it Simple

Baseball isn’t a complex game. Essentially baseball can be seen as a form of tag with the bases as safe zones. Ironically when your on a base when you are tagged by a player with a ball, the umpire is most likely to call you “SAFE”. So essentially baseball is a fun safe game than can be played at all ages and over time and progression improve drastically at different levels. The first step is to get involved in a league and find information on sign ups or tryouts. After that usually the league sends out information and practices and games are usually laid out. From here you can decide to seek professional help in the former of a personal trainer, otherwise known as a personal baseball instructor that offers private lessons. This coach will provide more emphasis on your individual game getting started as opposed to becoming lost in the team game. The point of team practices is execution on the field during game day, however when you take the position of pitcher or are hitting, essentially your in control of the game and working individually to help out the team. Overall remember baseball is fun and should be enjoyed. The more you practice, the more you will become perfect.

 

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Pitching 101: Curve balls hurt your arm and this is why!

Byung-Hyun Kim

Throwing side arm as you can see in the picture above causes excess stress on the arm. The reason not to throw sidearm is to avoid arm pain and forced inflammation of the tendons by them rubbing on the elbow ligament joint. As you can see Byung-Hyun Kim has an inverted W which is the first sign that the pitcher must over compensate to release the ball out in front of his body once his arm catches up to his body after hip rotation, further putting stress on the elbow if the front hip and shoulder is not aligned toward the catcher. If for instance the pitcher has a closed front hip or has his lead foot pointed inside to a right handed hitter he must also throw across his body to reach a target on the outside of the plate. Byung-Hyun Kim didn’t last long after his implosion giving up world series home runs in back to back games against the Yankees before having arm issues and further being released.

Zack Greinke Dodgers RHP Pitching Analysis (W/ Pictures)

Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke Pitching

Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke Pitching

Zach Greinke is one of the  most dominant young pitchers in the game today. As you can see in pictures he has all the elements of the perfect balanced delivery. Greinke maintains focus and momentum throughout his delivery. His long stride and triple extension enables him to increase his velocity as if he is throwing down hill, and he maintains full momentum even upon follow through.

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Baseball Drills for Pitching

The best drills for pitching are those with the aim of repetitive movements to improve balance and control when in a game situation. Drills can be to improve balance while also improving mechanics of the arm and throwing motion while also increasing velocity. Pitching involves a combination of mental and physical attributes that combine the tall and fall approach with and aggressive lunge like aggression toward the hitter and added hip rotation to torque the body in the direction of home plate.

The most popular drills for pitching include the “Rocker Drill”, long toss, the towel drill, and the balanced T drill and the airplane drill.

Drills should be done repetitively to create muscle memory and further improve overall balance of the body when performing a pitching motion. If your youth pitcher is suffering from poor control this could be attributed to no releasing the ball far enough out front towards the hitter and “finishing” each pitch off completely.

If you find that your youth pitcher is experiencing arm or elbow issues this could be due to not fully rotating the hips toward the hitter after front foot strike thus causing the pitcher to throw up hill while leading the arm away from the direction of home plate. Another cause of arm issues is over rotation of the hips causing the throwing arm to throw across the youth pitchers body. This is normally cause from opening the shoulders to the hitter prematurely and not keeping the front elbow and shoulder perpendicular to the direction intended to be targeted.

rocker drill baseball

Having your youth pitcher perform throws from the balanced T position as shown above forces the pitcher to rotate the back hip toward the hitter thus causing the back foot to step over the imaginary plane and release the ball closer to the hitter. The aim for this drill is to incorporate as much of the body as possible into the throwing motion. The further the pitcher releases the ball towards the hitter the less reaction time the hitter has to make contact on the ball. The balanced T drill is a great tool for starting in an athletic balanced position.

Adam Wainwright Pitching Analysis [Phases of Pitching Delivery]

adam wainright

 

adam wainright pitching

 

Author: Justin T. Higgs

Adam Wainwright has been one of the best starting pitchers for the St. Louis Cardinals the last couple years. Above pictured are phases of his delivery which will be identified below.

  •  In the top right picture you can see that as Adam is in the “stretch” position he is in an ATHLETIC POSITION . This is a position in which he is essentially balanced and ready to begin his pitching process. In this position Adam is preparing mentally where he wants his pitch to be in the strike zone as well as what grip he will be using as he pitches the ball.
  • Next Adam exhales from a deep breath and begins to lift his front leg up as high as he can without offsetting his balance. Balance here is very important as Adam picks up his target in his line of vision and begins the first step of linear direction toward the hitter. As he leads his hip toward home plate into about a 4 inch free fall his back knee also transitions forward toward the direction of the batter beginning the next phase of delivery which is his strike and triple extension of the ankle, knee and hip horizontally toward home plate.
  • Adam’s momentum with his lower body is now triple extending toward home play while as his momentum leg is going down, he leads momentum leg with his heal as far as he can towards the hitter, eventually landing sideways with front foot strike.
  • Adam’s upper body as his heal leaves his center towards home also aims to get back to balance and his lead glove arm extends toward his target while his throwing arm creates the “POWER T” behind in either a straight or cocked position with his thumb pointing down.
  • As the body reaches front foot strike and opposite and equal extension of the upper body the back hip begins to rotate which causes hip rotation to trigger the throwing arm leading with the elbow into a position to throw the ball.
  • Its important that the lead elbow remain on the catcher and target for where the ball is going to be thrown and that the pitchers eyes also remain on target as the body rotates to throw. The front foot stays where its at but the body rotates fully and the throwing arm releases the ball as far in front of front foot as possible.
  • The final phase of delivery is to not only release the ball out front, but to make sure that the finger tips finish the pitch by moving down the ball, essentially if only by figure of speech, handing the catcher the ball.
  • As a result of such a forward release of the ball and the hip rotation and leg drive of the delivery the front glove will either stay in front of the front knee or end up in a position similar to putting the glove into the pocket of the front hip as the back leg follows through and the arm reaches full follow through and deceleration.
  • Important checkpoints of delivery at endpoint should be the nose of the pitcher, bellybutton and both knees be facing the hitter essentially in ready position to field a ground ball. The throwing shoulder should finish almost in the same direction as the catcher to ensure full follow through and acceleration toward the hitter.

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Long Toss Program-Throw HARDER!!!

longtossThere are many debates about whether or not a long toss program is an effective tool in a throwing program for building velocity. My opinion, if your not throwing long toss you really don’t want to throw that hard. Long toss is the most effective example of throwing at maximum intensity. Whether your an outfielder or pitcher an athlete must realize that the arm is a rubber band and made up of tendons that need to be stretched to be maximized. This doesn’t mean throw until your arm falls off, but it does mean your training your arm to throw long distances with the proper throwing motion, creating arm extension, good release after front foot strike, and proper follow through after ball release. Long toss should not be thrown on consecutive day and at max should be thrown 3 times a week and in a throwing program designed with enough rest as possible. Ideally a Monday-Thursday or Monday-Friday schedule would be good with perhaps a bullpen or normal catch session in between mixed in.

DO’s

  1. Make sure that you warm up your arm and body before beginning even one throw. This includes proper Jobe exercises, arm circles, arm and leg stretches, hip rotations, and a light job to get body temperature up.
  2. Proper distance and the amount of throws should be decided on before hand when beginning the throwing part of the long toss. ie Start at throwing at 20 ft. and extend back 10 feet per 10 throws or so not to surpass 180 feet. Foul pole to foul pole is usually about 180 feet depending on the size of field being used.
  3. At maximum distance digression should be taken into the number of throws. I would say no more than 10 throws be thrown at the maximum distance to ensure arm safety.
  4. Upon reaching the furthest distance the long toss is then done. The choice to either throw another 10 throws at 60 feet at maximum velocity on flat ground is an option or all throwing can be done and the rest can begin till the next session.
  5. If the arm is fatigued after the long toss session it is o.k. If the arm however is sore and in pain this is not good and the thrower may have over exerted his efforts. Proper RICE/Ice procedure along with rest should be taken into effect.

Effective Pitching Philosophy-Simple Pitcher’s Approach

ultimatepitcher

I believe pitching is the end result of preparation and hard work in the off season.  I feel off season conditioning and a good long toss program should enable pitchers to keep balance and good mechanics from the first pitch to their very last.  Pitching on the mound should be a mental game of perception in which the hitter perceives the pitcher as a passive strike thrower, when in reality the prepared pitcher is an aggressive power pitcher with a game plan and goals of how to approach and get every hitter out before that hitter steps into the box. I believe with a good game plan pitchers should maintain mental toughness regardless of the “stuff” they have that particular day and be able to take each outing and particular pitch as a learning experience and “live in the moment” as if every pitch were their last. Conditioning and agility and core strength of a pitcher I feel is essential to getting up on the mound and being successful as it will enable the athlete to know he is capable of at any moment throwing the pitch directly in the location desired not to the hitter but through the catcher with the proper stride length and body balance/velocity desired and with the best mechanics to protect the arm as possible. Through mirror drills, bullpens, and long toss the pitcher should be able to know their own body and be able to make adjustments on the mound to throw at minimum 2 strikes to every 3rd baseball delivered.Pitching on a mound in a game situation is nothing more of a mental game of getting ahead with a first strike on hitters, and further becomes a chess match of keeping the hitters off balance and throwing the most optimal pitches to get either strikeouts or ground ball outs. Depending on the pitcher I feel any given day there should be more groundouts than flyouts and with a good defense/infield a starting pitcher should have no problem throwing 6-7 innings. The goal of the getting the  first strike on hitters is to never be predictable from one pitch to the next, yet remaining confident when the count is not in one’s favor. Pitching on the other hand can be as simple as throwing a baseball through a tire for target practice. Whats your take? Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment or reply.questionmark

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Balancing a Pitcher-Before the Throw!!!

Most pitchers reach opposite and equal at some point in their delivery. If they didn’t they would either throw it into the sky or throw into the ground. So wouldn’t you agree that the most simple approach to pitching begins with a balanced start on the mound, a balanced simple leg kick and keeping everything top center on the mound ready to explode inertia to the hitter. So the phase of pitching I’m describing today is basically the standing on the mound in a “athletic position”.

athletic stance

This position is one in which the knees are perhaps slightly bent but the pitcher could essentially stand there all day and someone could not walk over and simply push him off the mound as if he were standing straight up with no stability. From here the most simple thing a pitcher can do to maintain balance and simplicity is either “side step stride” toward the hitter and begin towards the power “T” or lift the lead leg straight up to the pitcher’s highest balanced point.

harden2

At this point things starts happening and we will go into that another day…Today’s message, simple leads to directional. You can’t go wrong by standing athletic on the mound and lifting your lead leg up centrally. God made us with only our body therefore there is no extra torque that can be generated by swinging your leg back, looking to the sky (Fernando Venezuela style) or any other of the various strategies. Pitching is repetition and to throw the highest amount of likely “strikes” one must keep it simple and leave the room for error to a minimum.

aroldischapman