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Monday, May 3, 2010

Important Pitching Mechanics Tips You Need to Know

Important Pitching Mechanics Tips You Need to Know
By Nate Barnett

One of the most important steps to becoming a successful pitcher is to ensure you throw with proper pitching mechanics. Great mechanics begin with appropriate balance and weight transfer toward the direction you are throwing. If there is any inappropriate head movement up or down, left or right or even any weight going in any other direction than toward home plate, you are mechanically insufficient. Many pitchers tend to struggle with their throwing mechanics. Are you one of them? Here are some helpful tips you should know about pitching mechanics.

1. Pitchers need to make sure their momentum is going in one direction, forward! However, there is more to pitching mechanics than merely making sure your momentum is going toward home plate. Pitchers need to use explosive movements to create sufficient energy for an explosive fastball. Many pitchers are lazy and get in the habit of getting to foot strike tortoise like. This creates no power in their delivery at all. These pitchers are often seen giving up the long ball and throwing batting practice in games as hitters tee off on their lackadaisical approach.

2. During a pitchers transition to foot strike, using these explosive movements; it is imperative that a pitcher keep his head over his center of gravity, belly button, or slightly behind the center of gravity when they transfer their weight from one foot to the other. Many pitchers have the issue of staying back to long which can create arm lag.

3. We talked about explosive movements toward home plate, but how long should your stride be? Your stride should be as long as you are tall. If your stride is shorter than 100% of your height you should be working on lengthening your stride. A longer stride creates more power toward the direction of your throw, a shorter stride places more stress on your throwing arm because you have to rely on your arm for the velocity as apposed to first using your legs to generate it. Another advantage of having a longer stride is perceived pitching velocity. Every foot closer you are to the batter at release of the baseball at sixty feet six inches away, it "appears" like 3 mph faster to the batters eye. This gives the batter less time to react to each pitch you throw.

4. The next step to create optimal balance in your delivery is making sure your throwing arm and glove arm mirror each other. I believe pitching instructor Tom House coined the term "equal and opposite" for this mechanical process. This means that your glove arm and your throwing arm create the same angle at foot strike. You will see different styles of how to do this in our pitching mechanics DVD. You have to see it!

5. One of the more challenging aspect coaches face when learning about pitching mechanics is their misunderstanding of mechanical terminology. For example, there is still a lot of confusion about arm slot and arm path when a pitcher releases the ball. What arm slot is the best? What does this mean exactly? These are common questions pitchers ask me all of the time. The answer is whatever arm slot is natural for you. You don't want to force a 90 degree arm slot on a pitcher when they naturally throw three quarter. In fact, most pitchers tend to throw with a natural three quarter arm slot.

There is a lot of science to pitching mechanics. The Pitching Academy breaks this all down for you if you're looking for more information. Pitching mechanics should be easy to understand for anybody who is eager to learn; we keep the science into pitching, but you will be surprised how simple it is to learn proper mechanics.

Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. You can find The Pitching Academy's videos, blog, and more articles on pitching mechanics the website.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick