The new season is about to begin for many kids around the nation. Practices have begun and many youngsters have dreams of taking the mound for the very first time.
While it is certainly important to have a good arm, there are many other mechanics that absolutely must be ingrained from the very beginning if a child is to have any hope at all of sustained success as a pitcher.
At the beginning of last year, Nathan Gotch wrote an excellent piece for the Youth Baseball Blog, titled, " A Beginner's Guide to Pitching Mechanics." In it, Nathan outlines a three step approach for developing the fundamentals that will lead to consistency and speed from the mound. Attain the proper balance point, back leg drive and stride and hip to shoulder separation, and you'll be well on your way to becoming the best pitcher you can possibly be.
According to Gotch, one of the biggest mistakes coaches make is instructing young pitchers that their balance point should be at the peak of their leg lift. He says that a pitcher's drive knee should be inside of their drive hip with their weight and lead hip already moving toward the plate at the top of the leg kick.
Nathan says another common thing the fastest pitchers have in common is that they are never "perpendicular" at the balance point. I'm not entirely sure what Nathan means by that but assume it means that their stance is not aligned at exactly 90 degrees to the plate.
Back Leg Drive & Stride
A pitcher will never reach his full speed potential without a good back leg drive and stride. It is essential if you want to reach your maximum velocity, says Nathan.
Your back leg should be driving toward home, Nathan says, adding that the biggest mistake young pitchers make is that they over collapse their drive knee. It should never collapse past the drive foot, he says.
Hip to Shoulder Separation
According to the National Pitching Association, nothing is more important for developing velocity than proper hip to shoulder separation. When your lead foot strikes the ground, your lower body should be completely open to the plate and your upper body should still be closed.
The greater the difference in separation between the top and bottom halves, the more velocity you will achieve, says Nathan. In fact, he says that achieving the maximum separation should be the number one priority of every pitcher.
As you're watching the best in the game begin their post season run, take note of the aces on each team. See if you can spot all of the above in their throwing motion. Chances are, you will. Start working on the perfect motion now and when the new season rolls around next spring, you'll undoubtedly have a fastball with a lot more pop!
Pitching Machine Stop Quote of the Day:"Nobody likes to hear it, because it's dull, but the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same - pitching." - Earl Weaver