Throwing harder is not something you just wake up one morning and decide you’ll start doing. The “Harder” part is the key word.
1. Harder Work
2. Harder Running
3. Harder Workouts
4. Harder Mental Training and I could go on and on.
You must begin a structured throwing program, which includes much more than throwing. Here’s a guide to follow:
#1. You must have a starting point. The first question you must honestly answer is “Am I fit enough to pitch?” If you’ve been a couch potato playing video games through the off season … what’s your honest answer?
#2. Even if you think you are in shape you can always improve. Set up a fitness program which is tailored for pitching. Include exercises for flexibility, endurance, instant or explosive power and stability strength.
Strength is required for Throwing Harder
#3. Have a coach or other qualified person analyze and evaluate your pitching mechanics in order to identify wrong or inefficient mechanics which lead to energy loss, reducing innings you can pitch effectively. Begin a dedicated throwing program based on these findings.
#4. It is important to set up a schedule to monitor your progress on all aspects of conditioning, strength and throwing mechanics. You need to know if you are on or behind schedule, or if something requires additional work or tweaking. Even a professionally developed program may require adjustment because we are not all alike and respond differently to various types of exercise.
#5. Be realistic. Set attainable goals, not just for increased velocity, but all disciplines of pitching such as strength enhancement, fielding drills and etc. I know the philosophy of “aim for the stars and if you fail you’ll still reach the moon,” but I don’t adhere to this for pitching. If you decide you’ll throw 95 mph and only reach 89 mph, you may feel as if you have failed. An 89 mph fastball is not failure.
Also devote time to drills - Throwing Harder
#6. Throw every day. Again … Throw every day. Here’s a 10 Minute Throwing drill professional pitchers use.
a. Throw, on a line, to a partner, for 3 minutes at 60 feet.
b. Back up to 90 feet and throw for 3 minutes.
c. Back up again to 120 feet and throw for 3 minutes.
d. Go back to 60 feet and throw for 1 minute in order to cool down and relax the stress on the throwing muscles.
#7. Long toss is the best arm strengthening exercise a player can use, all players not just pitchers. Here’s a warning, do not throw long looping or rainbow type throws as you greatly diminish any benefit of the workout. Throwing the ball on a line during long toss uses the identical arm motion, release angle and follow through motion a player uses when actually throwing in real time action. Throw on a line in order to get the best results.
#8. Keep a detailed daily log of what you did. Remembering your workout yesterday may be possible, but what about Monday two weeks ago? It’s a good practice and a motivating tool when you look back and see you have run 67 miles since you began training, when a ½ mile was a push on the first day.
Throwing Harder - Long Toss
#9. At all cost resist the temptation to try throwing curveballs before age 14 or 15. The fastball is most pitchers’ “bread & butter” pitch and strong development of that pitch first is of the ultimate importance. Besides, throwing a “Good” curve ball requires a great deal of arm strength which young pitchers haven’t developed yet. Sorry … you are human.
#10. In order to eliminate the panic of preparing for the upcoming season set up a year round throwing program. For instance you can break it down into 4 segments to coincide with the seasons. Off-season, pre-season, in-season and post-season training.
There’s little doubt GOD given talent plays a part in being able to throw hard and some find it easier than others. However, hard work will elevate you to your generic best, then concentrate on control. GOD didn’t naturally supply the talent to paint the black of the plate…hard work did.