Self-diagnosis – Do you want to know how to throw harder (with more velocity)? Or throw more accurately?
To help with this goal, we are going to break down the baseball throw so you can see where your throwing skills excel – and where you might want to focus on improvement.
It helps to think about throwing a baseball in 3 phases (1) The athletic stance phase (which actually extends throughout the whole throwing motion, (2) the power phase, (3) and the accuracy phase. When each of these are achieved the result will be a strong and accurate throw.
There are many parts to your baseball throw where you can improve speed and accuracy. This video describes 5 basic throwing mechanics that will help you know how to throw harder and more on target.
Each phase is like the links in a chain – where each point meshes into the next one and if one of these are not done correctly, the throw will be affected.
Athletic phase of throwing a baseball. Image by Frank Lauri.
Athletic phase of throwing a baseball. Being in an athletic position, similar to a tennis player returning a serve or a basketball player guarding his opponent is extremely important. When you are in a athletic position you are balanced and ready to move any direction. That is how we start our throw.
After you catch the baseball, bring your throwing hand to your glove and keep them together to get your grip against your chest. Keeping your hands in the middle of your body keeps you balanced and allows you to move your feet easily so you can get your feet in line with your target to make a throw.
Even though our athletic position starts with our hands at our chest it continues through the rest of the throwing motion. Along the way other pieces sequence together to complete the throwing motion. The way you take the ball out of the glove and your hand position will affect power and the velocity of your throw.
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NY Yankee Doug Bernier. 2011 Spring Training. Image by Ed Wolfstein
Accuracy phase of Throwing. After the power phase of our throw the accuracy part is the most important. It doesn’t matter how hard you throw a baseball, if it doesn’t go to the intended target, your velocity is wasted.
Accuracy breaks down when you get sloppy with the next step, taking your chest to your glove. When you take your chest to your glove properly it allows your throwing elbow to stay up and it will keep your arm in a straight line with where you are throwing the ball.
Power phase of throwing. As the baseball is about to release from your hand this is the time where feel from your fingers take over.
This is very important because once you throw the ball there is no getting it back. The fingers make any last second adjustments and can add extra velocity on the ball by really pulling down on the ball.
Players that are very accurate throwers all have good feel with their fingers and they can tell just by the way the ball comes out of their hand if it is going to be a good throw or not.
It’s important to understand how basic throwing mechanics relate to balance, accuracy and power (i.e. velocity). For 7 specific tips that will help you throw harder and more accurately, check out this article. And as always, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.
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Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 11 years. After hitting .361 with the New York Yankees this 2012 spring training where he relieved Derek Jeter at shortstop, Doug spent the 2012 season with the Yankees’ triple A team. Click here to get personal, one-on-one instruction with Doug Bernier