No need to say that pitching is one of the most important parts of the baseball game. It is the act of throwing a baseball toward home plate to start a play. The term comes from the Knickerbocker Rules. There’s been an extensive study about the biomechanics of baseball pitches in order to have the perfect pitching.
Even a few decades ago, most of the youth baseball pitchers were not taught in details about the correct pitching techniques and styles. In most instances, it was always about how not to pitch. Thankfully the coaches have realized the importance of teaching the perfect pitching styles and techniques.
Good baseball pitches takes good practice
Only practice can make everything perfect! No exception when it comes to baseball pitching. Aside from teaching the techniques, it is another sole responsibility of the coaches to make the young pitchers understand that good pitching skills is not a day’s game and it is not developed by just throwing balls. You know what can be the consequences if throwing is practiced in an improper way. You will simply injure your shoulder and elbows.
It makes lot more senses to me to try and identify the problems that can appear during the pitching practice and then figure out the solutions to fix that problem. Over the last 2 decades or so, many coaches, including myself, have been trying to do the same and eventually, I’ve come out with the right pitching practice that I’ve broken into six steps. These components will help any baseball pitchers to correct the pitching style without getting injuries.
Effective components for perfect baseball pitching
- Grip the ball – The perfect pitching starts with the gripping. Holding the balls into the fingertips is not just all about baseball gripping. It is the grip that will provide the good velocity along with a controlled wrist snap. Moreover, according to the different baseballs, the gripping will change significantly. There are four seam fastballs, two seam fastballs and the gripping is different for them. While for the first type – your index and middle fingertips should be placed directly on the perpendicular seam of the baseball. For the other type of ball – you need to directly place the index and middle fingers on the narrow seam. The grip would be tighter and deeper in the throwing hand. The grip should vary to experiment with the movement and speed.
- Delivery – Pitchers are basically smart and intelligent and they have been drawn to this position because of this quality as well as their athleticism. When it comes to the delivery, we find primly three types are there – Overhand, Submarine and Sidearm. The first one is the most popular one. It is also the most effective throwing motion for the young pitchers. This delivery position is followed the maximum because it offers optimal control and put lesser stain on the arms.
- Windup – This is the beginning motion for the pitchers to start the action. Every pitching motion starts with winding up. Here, controlling the body weight plays an important role. The front part of the ball is kept in side and the foot is in contact with the plate side of the pitching rubber. During this move, the pitcher shifts the bodyweight to the back leg and it shows like taking a backward step.
- Pivot – It is one of the most essential moves of the entire pitching motion. It is about keeping the weight balanced and eyes on to the target. Now the pitcher pivots on the ball of the front foot to turn it make it parallel to the rubber. This is when the pitcher moves the bodyweight onto the pivot foot and the other leg is put into the air.
- Stride – During the pivot and the leg lift, the pitcher takes the back foot off the rubber and stride towards the plate with the leg kick. The stride length definitely varies according to the height of the pitcher and what he feels comfortable doing. If it’s a too long stride, the ball will go high and if it’s a too short stride, the ball will go low. This is an experimental take that the pitchers follow. During the motion, the stride foot remains closed and the moment before the foot lands on the ground it opens up and points toward the plate. Along with the foot, the hips also open that brings the upper body through.
- Follow through – A good follow through is a combination of speed, control and proper fielding position. After the pitcher releases the ball, the wrists snaps over the top and the arm snaps across the body. Generally, the pivot foot swings around a position that makes a square position and the pitcher’s eyes must be on the target.
Who is an advanced pitcher? There are certain qualities that an advanced pitcher must have. Initially, the young pitchers should focus on getting the ball across the plate. There are various types of pitches as well that can be divided into three categories mainly:
- Breaking balls
- Change ups
Each of these moves has different types to make the ball swing and turn and move differently. Now, some important things that the young pitchers need to keep in mind during pitching the ball:
- It is to be made sure that the catcher is in the crouching position and providing a target.
- While shifting the weight towards the plate, using the legs is important not the arms.
- Stay relaxed and composed during the pitching.
- The eyes always should be on the target throughout the motion, it will prevent overthrowing baseball pitches.
- The first pitch should be a strike every time to get ahead with better.
- Follow through and get ready to field when the pitch is released.
Following these simple steps will make any young pitcher achieve the goals easily. But, it should be always keep in mind that perfect pitching is a matter of hard practicing and giving time. The perfection doesn’t come in a day.