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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