Question: What do you get when a former professional baseball player (16 seasons, 5 MLB teams) has a 9 year old starting the sport for the first time?
Oh, and he also works for the Colorado Rockies… meaning he can’t be at practices and is traveling a lot.
Answer: The Kinsley Files (AKA – Tips for beginners)
Doug created this video from his hotel room on a road trip to Seattle to help his daughter navigate her first week of softball.
But his long-distance pain is our gain!
If you have a beginner playing youth baseball or softball…
…and you want to avoid the horrible habits they tend to pick up right from the beginning…
…then this is some VERY valuable advice on how to develop GOOD, Major League quality throwing technique right from the very start.
Here’s the advice that this former Major League infielder of 16 professional season gave to his own kid.
Hope this helps you develop stronger and more accurate throwing.
Tips for How to throw a baseball (or a softball) the RIGHT WAY
#1 – Line your shoulders up with the target (not your chest)
This is NOT intuitive for kids. They want stand facing their target and throw the ball. You’ll need to show them what it looks like to do this correctly. In other words, if the player is starting with the chest already facing the target – that’s not ideal. Have them turn and line the shoulders up.
#2 – Start with ball and glove in center of chest
This is an important habit to get into for future defense. If you think your kid might possibly ever want to field the ball, this is a good habit to create.
#3 – Pay attention to Wrist / Ball position (SEE VIDEO ABOVE)
Take throwing hand out of glove facing the ground.
Once the ball is in throwing position, your fingers should be near your ear. The first tendency for most kids is to have the ball pointing at the target. As you can see in the video, that’s not what we want. That will result in weak throws.
#4 – Avoid the Scare Crow!
The Scarecrow is a VERY common way of teaching young kids to throw. Avoid this. It’s not how baseball players actually throw.
At best, it will cost you accuracy, quickness and power
- The “scarecrow” is bad for accuracy – It’s more difficult to repeat consistently. Complexity is the enemy of consistency. And so is getting further away from your core. Both of these will result in less accuracy and less consistency (which is the #1 complaint of infielders)
- The “scarecrow” is bad for quickness – Being able to make an accurate, strong throw QUICKLY is important for infielders. Learning to throw this way can be a very hard habit to overcome in the future.
- The “scarecrow” is bad for power – This is critical for infielders, but even most pitchers don’t throw this way anymore.
At worst, you’ll develop bad technique that can put stress on the shoulder and elbow and lead to injury down the road.
A better image for kids is the “bow and arrow”, for developing a compact, powerful and accurate throw across the infield.
#5 – Glove arm starts up and strong, then comes to center of chest
When she sent the photo to see if she was doing it correctly (she wasn’t), here was her Daddy’s feedback:
BONUS THROWING TIP
Not mentioned in this post… LEARN TO GET A 4 SEAM GRIP on every throw
A 4 seam grip will help with accuracy… a lot.
If you don’t have a 4 seam grip, it will tough to throw with consistency, because you’ll get different spin on the ball every time!
Also, it’s important to note – Baseball & Softball are slightly different with this
In baseball, you’ll use 2 fingers across the horse shoe. With a softball, you use 3 fingers (see photos below).