3 AREAS FOR YOUTH BASEBALL PITCHERS TO FOCUS ON FOR NEXT SPRING
When baseball season comes to an end, most pitchers put everything away until next spring. But for pitchers who really want to throw harder, develop better control and get stronger, an off-season program is a must. And that’s why experienced pitching coaches all say that “pitchers are made during the off-season.”
There are three things pitchers can do during the off-season that will help them throw harder with better control.
The most important thing is to work on developing a compact, yet effortless delivery so you are throwing ‘downhill’. This begins with balance, good weight transfer (not pushing off the rubber), 3/4 arm-action, proper body and arm alignment, good lead leg action, a consistent landing position and a strong finish.
But in order for pitchers to work on developing a sound delivery, they must first be able to understand and recognize which mechanical faults are creating any problems, such as poor control or a lack of velocity. They can then go to work doing the specific drills that can solve those problems. Next is a sound throwing and conditioning program called “arm insurance”. Coupled with good mechanics, the well-conditioned pitcher can transfer the stress of throwing away from his arm to his lower body. And that’s why pitchers need to work their trunk and their legs. That’s where the real power comes from in pitching.
Here is an off-season formula that can help any pitcher reach a higher level by next spring.
1. Mechanics - How to Develop a Sound Delivery
There are two things that every successful pitcher should use during the off-season - a face towel and a full-length mirror. The full-length mirror allows the pitcher to get instant feedback while the towel gripped in the middle provides resistance while simulating the throwing motion. With as little as 10-15 minutes a day, a pitcher can see huge gains by spring.
2. Off Season Throwing for a Stronger Arm
Pitchers who want to develop more arm strength ought to throw 2-3 times a week during the off-season. One of my customers, who was drafted in the eighth round out of high school, put 13 mph on his fastball in three years. He went from mid-70’s as a sophomore to upper-80s as a senior. His dad simply hung some netting in his boy’s bedroom doorway. Three times a week during the off-season he would throw a bucket of balls into the net while also working on his mechanics. Remember, you will build a stronger arm by throwing, not by lifting weights.
3. Sensible Conditioning
For just 30 minutes a day, 3 to 4 times a week, pitchers can work on getting stronger. All that’s required is resistance tubing, some light dumbbells and a medicine ball. Pitchers should also do push-ups to protect the shoulder and lots of sit-ups to help build a stronger center. With that equipment, and consistent work they can get much stronger by next spring.
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