Teaching And Incorporating Proper Pitching Technique
The most important aspect in pitching is throwing strikes consistently. In order to help young pitchers throw strikes, it's important to teach them how to play catch correctly. In other words, it's important to teach and incorporate proper pitching technique.
We have all admired how effortlessly Greg Maddux makes pitching appear. When in a groove, Maddux is so effortless with his mechanics that he merely seems to be playing catch. By aiding young pitchers in becoming simplified and effortless in mechanics, they will not only throw strikes more consistently, but also will develop confidence in their ability.
When evaluating a pitcher's mechanics, watch them warm up in a rather informal setting. While observing, look to see whether the following five principles of good throwing technique are being used:
- Eyes are constantly on the target.
- The athlete should be in a good goal post position, meaning both glove side elbow and throwing elbow should be as high as his shoulder.
- The ball should be pointed back to allow for the rotation of the hips.
- Glove side shoulder and foot should be pointed directly at the target.
- Weight transfer and follow-through from post foot to glove side foot.
Pitchers seem to run into the most difficulty when applying the simple throwing technique in a pitching situation. Alleviate some of their anxiety by asking them to throw batting practice in the same way they play catch. Pitchers can experiment playing catch with the catcher in this batting practice setting.
When put into a live pitching situation, many problems occur in adding the windup. It is important, at this point, to stress that the windup does nothing to affect the eventual success of a pitch; however, it can be a reason for the failure of that same pitch. Try to simplify the delivery of any pitcher who has difficulty throwing strikes.
-Excerpts of this article contributed by pitching coach Terry Mularski of Westmoreland County Community College (PA).