7 Pitching Techniques for the Perfect Pitch Every Time
Whether you want to go pro or you’re teaching little athletes, you’ll want to make sure you’re implementing these pitching techniques right now.
Over 14 million people tuned in to watch the world series last year. Baseball has been a favorite American pastime and sport for decades. A majority of U.S. children aged between nine and twelve years old, both boys and girls, at one time get involved in playing baseball for fun.
Every position on a baseball field is essential, and each requires a particular set of skills to play. But, pitching is arguably the most important role. The pitcher is always in the game’s spotlight every time the ball is thrown.
It’s no secret that every baseball fan or player would like to make a great pitcher. However, pitching requires a certain level of dexterity and finesse; it is not just about strength. Although there is a lot of athleticism involved, a good pitch heavily depends on the pitching technique.
A pitcher needs to have a good run-up to the throw to gain perfect ball control, movement, and velocity. Every pitcher dreams of a perfect strikeout in every inning. Well, that can all come true by following a couple of pitching techniques.
- The Wind-Up Position
In preparation for the stance, the shoulders and feet should be relaxed. The body should be a bit squared off the plate. The pivot foot should be in front of the rubber, and the free foot slightly behind and apart.
With the ball buried in the glove to hide the grip, bring both hands in front of your chest. Keep your eyes straight on the catcher.
The stretch position yields the fastest pitch and gives you more control and balance. For a right-handed throw, place your feet to face third base and first base if you throw with the left.
Shift your weight to your free foot as you prepare for the leg lift.
- Leg Lift
Once in position and your weight supported by the free foot, begin raising your pivot leg. Pull up your front leg by the knee towards your chest. Twist your hip about 90° in the direction of the knee bend.
Do not swing up the leg; make sure it dangles freely from the knee down. This maintains balance and avoids the urge to drop the leg.
Lift your leg high up close to your chest. Keep the back foot firmly planted into the ground. Your body should begin to swing back a little as the leg goes up.
Remember, the higher you lift your leg, the harder it comes to balance. So keep it at a steady level and at least parallel to the ground.
By this time, your body’s trunk is facing away from the catcher.
The stride gives the pitch its momentum. At the beginning of the stride, your front arm should stay closed while your pitching arm is in the ‘sweet spot,’ the lowest position. The pitching arm should be nearly perpendicular to the ground.
Bring your raised foot down and forward quickly. Your hip will rotate as you move the leg and get your foot pointing forward. Make sure the pivot foot lands flat on the ground and makes good contact.
By this stage, the rear leg is slowly leaving the ground. Your body is transferring weight onto the new front contact. Your pitching arm should begin to rise as your body starts to square off with the ground.
However, prevent your body from rotating just yet. A longer stride drives more power into the pitch but is harder to balance than a shorter stride.
- Arm Coking
At this stage, your pitching arm should be below the shoulder, and the front arm nearly perpendicular to the ground. Both arms seem to move opposite to each other.
It is vital to move the arms this way to counterbalance the body. Otherwise, you may end up leaning to one side. This is needed to assist the pitching shoulder in moving forward.
Draw your front arm close to your body as you prepare for the body rotation.
- External Rotation
Your trunk and hips are now squaring to match the position of your feet and the ground. As your body rotates, the throwing shoulder rotates externally as well.
Your pitching forearm should be above the shoulder and nearly horizontal to the ground. At the end of the rotation, your body should be facing the target. The back foot is entirely off the ground. Apart from the arms, it should look like the start of a sprint.
At this point, the ball is beginning to gain acceleration.
Rotation of the shoulder should follow the rotation of the elbow and forearm. The pitching arm should now fire forward around the elbow.
The front knee extends forward, and the trunk retracts inward as most of the upper body bends forward. This movement puts maximum acceleration on the ball.
The arm is now parallel to the trunk. The wrist unfolds forward into its natural position. During the release, extend your elbow fully and straighten the wrist with fingers firmly on top of the ball. The throwing shoulder and upper torso push forward towards the home plate.
Your head should extend well in front of your front knee.
Let the ball guide the movement of your wrist to avoid injury and deflection. Finally, let the ball glide off your wrist.
More Pitching Techniques
Throwing fireballs at +80 mph and earning softball trading pins requires a lot more than perfect body movement and balance. The grip also plays an essential role in the outcome of the throw.
There are various pitching grips to achieve spectacular throws. The grip can determine the direction and motion of the ball. Skillful grips make for breathtaking tricks like curveballs and sliders.
Not to mention, you also need to have a strong throwing arm and athletic body. However, it is often the smart throw that counts as a great pitch; not the fastest or the strongest.
You Can Now Play Pitcher
Baseball pitches depend much on mental preparedness and utilizing the batter’s weaknesses. A command of the ball and skillful decisions are what makes a great pitcher. You need to know where and how to throw the ball to get the better of the batter.
With great pitching techniques and quick mental assessments of your opponents, you have all it takes to make the perfect pitch every time. You only have to keep practicing your techniques and body movement to gain that professional-like control of the pitch.
For more tips and tricks, please read our blog.
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