Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fundamentals of Throwing a Baseball

By Lou Schneider

I know you are busy. Life is hectic. However, you want to make the most of teaching youth baseball skills to your team, child or youth organization. This article is designed to reduce the amount of time you must invest, to be a more effective coach, teacher, parent or administrator of youth baseball players. The following instruction will provide easy to use methods to teach youth baseball players the proper fundamentals when throwing a baseball.

These baseball throwing fundamentals are designed for parents, managers and coaches to instruct players on properly throwing the baseball to:

1. Improve your throwing accuracy
2. Maximize your throwing speed
3. Improve the speed of the glove to hand exchange
4. Reduce the risk of arm injuries

Holding the baseball

It all starts here! The key to baseball throwing fundamentals starts with holding the ball correctly. The correct way to hold a baseball is using what's called a 4-seam grip. Please note - Pitchers grips can and will vary, as ball movement may be desired to deceive hitters. This grip should be used by all other positions.

I'll take you through the proper way to hold and throw a baseball. I'm constantly amazed at how few players properly hold and throw a baseball. This technique will make your son throw with more velocity, more accurately, and reduced injury risk. You should only use your index and middle fingers and your thumb. Your index and middle fingers should be on top of the ball crossing the widest seams. Your thumb will support the weight of the ball on the bottom of the grip. Don't squeeze the ball, but hold it tight enough so you won't drop it. Leave a little space between the ball and your hand.

Advantages of using this grip:

1. Better accuracy, as the ball is less likely to tail away from your target.
2. Ball will travel further with less effort, as it takes a more direct route to the target.
3. Ball will get to the target faster, as it takes a more direct route.

Releasing the Baseball

The last motion before you release the baseball should be a wrist flicking motion toward your target that creates a backspin on the baseball. Even though it's the last motion in the process, it should be taught and practiced before the rest of the motion as it should be reinforced as the others parts are learned. This motion, combined with the 4-seam grip, will ensure you maximize the above referenced advantages of this technique.

Bringing it all Together with the Proper Upper/Lower Body Movements We'll cover 4 steps in this section to complete the baseball throwing fundamentals technique:

1. Ready Position

Begin by holding the ball in your throwing hand using the 4-seam grip to begin.

Your glove side shoulder and arm should face your target. At this time, your feet should be shoulder width apart and square with your body.

2. Weight Transfer

Your weight should shift to your rear leg (throwing arm side leg). Once your weight has shifted to your back foot, your throwing arm will extend away from your target (4-seam hold, fingers on top, thumb on bottom) while your glove arm extends toward the target. Take a small step toward your target as your arms extend. This will begin the transition of your weight from back to front. Proper weight transition will give you better leverage, thus more power behind your throw. This increases the velocity of your throw.

3. The Throw


-Pivot your waist/hips to square with your target
-Pull your glove away from the target
-Move your arm toward the target (elbow will be above the shoulder).

4. Follow Through

Simultaneously release the ball to its target, continue your throwing arm down (towards the ground) and across your body and follow with your throwing arm leg moving forward toward the target.

Lou Schneider

Dedicated to providing coaches and parents the tools to teach baseball fundamentals and drills to youth players. Please visit the website for more detailed instruction including illustrations.

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