Have the players line up about a foot or so from a wall with their body perpendicular
and their throwing arm closest to the wall. Make them deliver the ball to
a catcher 40 or so feet away. The intent of the drill is to make sure that
the pitcher isn't getting long in the back. If the player is, then he/she
will hit the wall with the throwing arm. Some coaches think that the use of
this drill makes the kid short arm the ball, but most kids have full extension
towards the ground, not straight back.
Hit The Box
Throw uphill on a slight incline - this forces players to keep the ball down.
Use a computer paper box that holds 8.5 X 11 in paper (although, any small
box will work as a target). Place it on a small stool or short chair about
12 to 14 inches off the ground. Have the pitcher at the regulation distance
or just slightly more and throw the ball and try to hit the box consistently.
The box provides a visual "strike zone" to aim at and since this box is both
narrower and smaller than the normal players strike zone, it helps control.
Most pitches in Little League Baseball and softball are 12 or more inches
off the ground are called as strikes or the batters will go after them and
even if they are hit, they will be grounders. In addition the player can move
to the right or the left a step and simulate pitching from the sides of the
rubber. Have the player see if he can "strike out the batter" by hitting the
box 3 out of 6 times( a full count and a 3rd strike.) Any contact with the
box is a strike. Then try to do it yourself for laughs. It make the players
laugh if they can do it better than the coach(es).
Stand in stride position. Extend throwing arm to rear, parallel to the ground,
and glove arm forward, parallel to the ground. Pull down the throwing arm
and glove arm and release the ball with a full wrist snap. Do not stride,
but shift weight slightly to the stride leg and close hips towards the catcher
after release. Allow throwing arm to follow through to bent release position.
Repeat 15 to 20 times.
Stand in release position. Raise stride knee off the ground (thigh parallel
to the ground and calf perpendicular to the ground). Balance weight on the
pivot leg. Extend throwing arm over left thigh and knee, and glove arm over
throwing arm. Push glove arm and throwing arm towards catcher while pushing
out with stride leg. Perform full arm circle while striding forward. Release
ball, complete full follow through. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
Step Back - Arm Circle
To help a pitcher keep her weight back, have her stand in stride position
and perform a full arm circle drill. With glove and hand pointed towards catcher,
have her perform one arm circle, driving the back knee in to the front knee
at ball release. She should immediately take a step back with the back leg
giving her a sense of falling back. She should fall back along the power line
or she was off balance at ball release.
Players pair up and kneel with both knees on ground 5 yards apart. Players
support throwing elbow with glove and, using only wrist action, throw to each
other for desired period.
Pitching into Glove
Stand in stride position with glove open next to left thigh. Wrist Snaps,
Pull Downs, "K" Drill, Arm Circle Drill, and full motion can be performed
with ball released into the glove. Have pitcher follow through to bent arm
position after releasing the ball. Use a sock ball or other soft ball to perform
these drills indoors.
For pitchers who can't keep weight back during stride. Set up to pitch in
front of wall and perform full motion without releasing ball. Also, coach
can hold rubber surgical tubing around the pitcher's waist to help her keep
her weight back. Also can have pitcher stride onto inside toe area and not
drop heel until after pitch is released.
Full Motion To help a pitcher keep her weight back, have her deliver a pitch
at 75% speed driving her back knee into her front knee and holding that balanced
position until the catcher returns the ball.
Here's a good pitching drill to do... stand the distance of the rubber or
closer in, it doesnt matter. If right handed, put stand facing 3rd base, put
your left foot towards the catcher (toe pointing the catcher). Hold your glove
up towards the catcher (arm out like a wing) Take the throwing hand and hold
it up so that with your glove and ball arms you are makeing an "L" shape.
Then just let your hand drop and flip/snap your wrist. Its a drill to get
you snap back. I've seen many good pitchers do that before games.
Heres a tip a coach told me about quite a number of years ago. This drill
can increase your strength in the hand, wrist, and especially the forearm.
Using this exercise really helped me in my pitching. Put a pile of single
sheet newspapers in an area you would normally walk by the most times during
the day. Every time you walk by, grab a sheet and wad it up, using only one
hand. This is the kind of exercise that you hardly notice doing after awhile.
Here is my drill for younger players trying to learn the wrist flip. 1. Have
a friend or parent hold a broom where the long part is horizontal and touching
the arch in your back right where your wrist would hit on your release point.
2. If you take your arm behind you and slowly pitch, your wrist will hit the
broom making your wrist flick the ball. 3. Note, you don't want to throw the
ball hard, it should not go far and will go slow.
All of these drills improve speed and control/direction. 1. Stand facing toward
the wall in your stride position (standing sideways). Take a ball and flick
your ball straight to the wall and it should come right back to you. Only
use you wrist no windmill. This drill can be done indoors with a rubber or
incrediball, or outside with a regular ball against a pitchback. 2. This drill
is also to be done in or outdoors. Stand 8ft. Away from the wall in your stride
position, do your windmill and close your hips and the ball should come right
back to you 3. This one is also to be done in or outdoors. Stand 6ft away
from a wall in your stride position and just do your windmill do not close
your hips, the ball should come right back to you, time yourself for 15 seconds
and see how many you can do. Every time you do it see if you can get more
than the time before. 4. The last drill should be done outside with a catcher.
Get a weight ball and kneel down on one knee with your other knee facing the
catcher. And only using your wrist snap flick the ball to your target or catcher.
As you do 15 move back a couple of feet. When you're about 10ft from the plate
use a regular ball. Then when you're about 20ft away from the plate do the
windmill, until you can do this all the way from the rubber.
Joe's Long Toss
The following speed drill also works for accuracy, while building arm strength.
I have my pitchers pitch from approximately 20 feet, 10 balls. Then I have
them move in ten foot increments back until they are throwing from as far
back as 60 feet. Once we have maxed out the "comfortable accurate distance"
for the drill, I have them move to the rubber, and throw 20-50 hard pitches.
I find that combining the short and long distances works on two things at
the same time...arm stength (speed) and accuracy.
Start out in the "K" position. This is the position your body is in when you
have taken your stride toward the plate, your glove hand is pointing toward
the target and your ball hand is at its highest point. If you look at the
body from the third base side, it resembles the letter "K". As you bring your
ball hand around toward the release point, push off the pitching rubber with
your trail foot violently so it squares your body to the target. This does
a couple of different things. First it adds some power to your release and
secondly, it squares your body to the target making it easier to be more consistent.
Try this drill.
One of the drills that I have the pitchers do is: Stand next to a wall, approximately
4 to 6 inches away, feet angled at a 45 degree, then go through the motion
of either slingshot or windmill. What I found by this, is that when they do
actually pitch, they do not drop their shoulders and make that swooping motion.
I have a few striped balls in my pitching bag for use when teaching the roll
drop and the riseball. They are invaluable. I place a stripe right down the
middle of the ball and use them in close rotational work to insure the proper
rotation is being imparted to the ball. The stripe gives instant feedback
to the player and is easy for the catcher to see and determine what rotation
has been imparted to the ball.
When throwing a riseball or a peel drop (straight dropball) the pitcher and
catcher should see a solid line as the ball flies toward the target. If the
line looks solid, the rotation is probably correct. If the line wavers or
is non-existant, the rotation is incorrect and more rotational work is needed.
The straight drop (peel drop) is released off the "birdie" finger and the
rotation is clockwise as viewed from 3rd base. If any other rotation is being
imparted to the ball, the ball will not drop. The riseball is just the opposite
from the peel drop. The ball must have counter-clockwise rotation as viewed
from 3rd base.
#1. Go and get a towel. #2. If you are a right handed pitcher then you would
face to the right of the rubber and put your knee on towel which is on the
rubber. #3. Next you will put your other knee facing home plate. #4. Put your
hands in front of you. #5. Then you will do the windmill motion. #6. On your
way around stop your left hand right above your knee. #7. Come all the way
around with to your right hand. #8. Then drop both of your hands and pop your
wrist and the ball should go right across the plate. It will take a while
to get the accuracy down.
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