Monday, October 18, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest - The 5 Keys to Obtaining and Maintaining Power Pitcher Status

By Nick Dixon

A "Power Pitcher" is a pitcher that dominates with an overpowering fastball. There are five conditions that I think add to the likelihood that a pitcher will be overpowering to the opposition. Those keys are average arm and body strength, above average conditioning and flexibility, good and proper mechanics, an understanding of the importance of proper warm-up, and dedicated commitment to proper post-game arm care. This article gives insight in how important each of these keys are and how each can be improved.

Strength: If a player is below average in body strength and arm strength, his fastball will be below average. All Power pitchers have strong arms. This arm strength more than likely comes from a regular routine of "long toss" and weight workouts. If a pitcher is going to maintain dominance, he must develop three kings of strength; arm strength, lower body strength and torso power. These strengths should be improved with regular weight workout beginning around the age of 12.

Conditioning & Flexibility- Endurance, stamina, and resilience, all come from a well planned and organized conditioning and flexibility programs. Flexibility in the hips, torso, and upper body is a must for pitching success. A well planned and executed program should include workouts with long and explosive running activities, explosive abdominal conditioning, and serious flexibility activities.

Proper Mechanics - Without proper mechanics a pitcher will never reach a level of dominance and maintain it. There are some pitchers that dominate at one stage of their career but fade aware due to injury and arm problems because their mechanics had flaws that lead to injuries. Receiving proper instruction and coaching early is an important element of baseball pitching success. When it comes to learning proper pitching mechanics, the sooner a young pitcher learn them, the better. Proper mechanics include proper arm angle, smooth separation, consistent arm slot and release point, correct front leg track and movement, and the ability to rotate the torso late in the stride.

Warm-up - There are a lot of arm injuries that come from a pitcher not warming up long enough or thorough enough before throwing full speed. A proper warm-up session should involve stretching, light jogging, and throwing at a range of distances. The steps should stretch, jog, throw close, and extend the throwing distances. Pitchers should develop their own pitching pre-game warm agenda if their coach or team does not have one. Failure to warm-up is inexcusable. A pitcher must do what he knows is best for his arm. If he does not feel loose, he should continue the warm-up procedure to he feels loose.

Post-Game Care - The absolute best post-game activity to recuperate one's arm is running. Pitchers should always run at least two foul polls for every inning pitched. Running serves to get the blood flowing and to flush the lactic acid from the arm, particularly the elbow region. Many people ice their arm after every mound appearance. I prefer my players not to ice unless they have soreness and a history of injury. I think two things rehabilitate the arm completely. Those two things are a regiment of running and rest.

In closing, I think that body build is also a huge factor in pitching dominance. There is a serious correlation is body size and height and how dominate a pitcher is. The taller a player is, the more likely he will become a serious pitching prospect that dominates opposing teams with his fastball. There are exceptions sometimes. You occasionally see a power pitcher with a small body frame. But these guys have problems sustaining dominance and often have shortening careers due to injury.

I hope that you found this article to be informative. Visit the Baseball Coaching Digest, Youth Baseball Digest, or Baseball Parent Guide for more free baseball articles. Thanks for reading this article. Have a great day, Nick.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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1 comment:

Scott Scalf said...

Interesting post. Makes great sense. The conditioning and strength need to be emphasized. Time off also. Too many coaches feel the only way to become and remain a dominant pitcher is to pitch continuously. This is a major mistake that is leading to many young athletes to suffer major overuse injuries. The number one thing is allow the athlete to take time off.