Archive for the ‘Improve Your Pitching’ Category

Baseball Workouts to Improve Youth Pitching

Working with pitchers in youth baseball training is difficult, simply because you don’t want to overwork a young pitcher’s arm.  Preventing injury is why Little League pitch counts are so strict.  However, pitchers do need to practice so they can have confidence on the mound.

The first thing to consider before setting up a baseball workout for pitching is how much the player has or will pitch during the week in actual games.  If games haven’t started, the pitching training can be more intense.  Most pitching training will occur during the off season.  This is why a year-round pitching program is so important.

There are two goals in developing baseball workouts for young pitchers. First you want to develop mechanics and second you want to work on velocity.  There is some debate as to which is the most important to develop first in a young pitcher – but velocity will clearly come from good mechanics and physical conditioning.

Here are four pitching drills that can be done regularly, without too much concern for stressing the arm.

SLOW MOTION
Have the pitcher pretend to throw the ball in slow motion.  Watch his mechanics and make corrections as necessary.  Once corrected, have him repeat the motion repeatedly until he is no longer making the  mistake. Watch for arm position (throwing down), rotation (is there too much or too little), foot position.  Make sure the pitcher can make his moves mechanically correct and with control.

WALK TO THE MOUND
Have the pitcher walk to the mound as if he is preparing to pitch.  Let him get the feel of the mound and what the field looks like from the mound.  Have him practice a mound approach that is uniquely his.  Tell him his mound approach should always be similar, to keep the other team guessing.  He shouldn’t vary his mound approach based on his mood.  His movements should not give anything away.  Have him get into the mental state that makes him feel confident about pitching.

METRONOME
Have the player throw a few balls to get his timing down.  Set a metronome to his timing.  Then have him make his throwing moves (without a ball) to the metronome.  Most pitchers will feel like they are moving  too slow!  Speed the metronome up a bit and have the pitcher make his moves a bit faster (up to the player’s comfort level).  This will help the pitcher keep control as he quickens his moves.

REVIEW THE RULES
So many times a pitcher is taken out when he is pitching well, because of pitch count and the coach’s strategy.  The pitcher needs to understand the rules so he isn’t mentally affected by this.  Also, the balk rules can be relatively complex when a pitcher tries a pickoff from mid-pitch.  Whether the pitcher is left or right handed can affect the balk call.  Make sure the young pitcher knows his Little League rules for pitch count and that he understands what constitutes a balk and how to prevent that call from the umpire.

These four baseball workouts for pitchers will help the young pitcher be more confident when he gets to themound in a game.

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Pitching Drills for Little Leaguers

In youth baseball training, the coach shouldn’t wait until problems develop to use pitching drills. Pitching baseballs should be practiced all the time to promote good pitching habits and fundamentals. Here are some pitching drills that can be used by Little League coaches.

Before beginning pitching drills, you must know pitching mechanics. The type of pitching drills and number of throws depends on the age and strength of the player. Every coach should teach the mechanics first. This will be boring for the players but the coach must require proper mechanics of all his pitchers to prevent injuries.

Be a Better Pitcher!

Here are some great pitching drills for young players:

1. Balance Drill. This involves the pitcher “playing ball” from the mound, to get the feel of compensating for the slope of the mound. Have a “catcher” set up in front of the plate, giving a good target to the pitcher. Since the distance is shorter, the pitcher can work on his mechanics while not using his arm as much. This drill helps reinforce the wind up and throw, with balance, while throwing strikes.

2. Stay-closed Drill. This is another drill that helps reinforce good mechanics. Again, the catcher will position himself six or so feet in front of home plate. After warming up, have the pitcher stand sideways on the mound with his feet spread the approximate width of his stride. Next, have the pitcher shift his weight to his back foot to throw the ball to the catcher. You want the pitcher to develop good tempo by smoothly transferring his weight from back to front. The goal of this drill is to make sure the pitcher’s head stays on line with the target and to have his head down as he finishes the pitch (have him take his hat off and pick it up at the end of the drill to reinforce this). The goal is to throw efficiently, not hard, in this drill.

3. On-your-knee Drill. This drill reinforces the hip and trunk rotation needed for a mechanically correct delivery. Have a right-handed pitcher place his right knee on the ground, with his left shoulder closed and pointing toward the catcher. Have the catcher set up in front of the plate to make the drill easier. Have the pitcher “rock back” and throw the ball. Make sure the pitcher keeps his head in line and finishes the delivery properly. This drill is good for developing curve balls and changeups.

Making pitching drills part of your regular practices will improve your team’s pitching consistency and help prevent injuries as well!

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Improving Pitching Performance

One-Two-Three — you’re out!  Pitching a perfect series of strikeouts involves strategy and form.  The pitcher and catcher are a critical team in baseball.  When a pitcher is “hot”, he is pitching the right pitch at the right time.  Good pitching training can improve pitching performance so that the pitcher hears “strike” from the umpire, rather than “ball”.

Not all players desire to pitch – being a pitcher means you are the main focus of the game.  But for those who do, extra training is critical.  And it must be the right kind of training, designed to reduce the chance of permanent injury to a growing boy’s arm and shoulder.  All pitchers like to “burn them in,” but accuracy is as important, if not more important, than speed.   Pitching training  can give a boy the confidence he needs to pitch a great game.

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Personal Pitching Logs To Track Pitching Performance

A personal pitching log is a great tool to track progress for Little Leaguers aspiring to move into high school baseball (and beyond). Personal Pitching logs help you see how you have improved over the years, and help you identify where you should focus your training.

WHAT IS A PITCHING LOG?

A pitching log can be any type of notebook where you record information about your size and pitching stats over time. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The most important thing is to make consistent entries into the log on a regular basis, like daily or weekly.

WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD BE IN A PITCHING LOG?

You should always start your entry with the date. Then list your current age, height and weight. From there the information can be personalized and will probably include more stats as you get older. Be sure to include the following at a minimum:

-Practice routine since the last entry
-Games played and innings pitched since the last entry
-Strike outs, home runs, walks, batters hit, pickoff attempts and pickoffs for each inning pitched
-ERA for each game pitched
-Types of pitches currently using
-Pitch speed for each type of pitch
-Current workouts and reps/weights for each
-Any other information you would like to track

GOALS

You should always set goals and list them in each entry. Review these goals as time goes on to see if you are reaching them. Have long-term and short-term goals. An example of a long-term goal would be to make the high school varsity team. An example of a short-term goal would be to practice three times a week for thirty minutes.

HOW TO USE THE INFORMATION IN THE PITCHING LOG

You should regularly review the information in the log to see where you have improved and where you still need to work. If you take professional pitching lessons, share the log with your coach. He will have insight on your goals and how to best reach them. As you reach your goals, set new ones. Constantly strive to improve your stats.

When you pitch in a game, have a parent or friend keep track of information for you to put in your pitching log. Remember the mental game as well. You may want to include how you were feeling mentally for each game pitched – were you rested or were you tired? Were you worried; did you feel confident or concerned? Record how your mental state affected your game.

Personal pitching logs are a great tool for youth baseball training. If you are serious about baseball, a pitching log is a must in your training arsenal.

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