Throwing. How to Throw a Baseball. Grip

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1 Throwing Nose, Toes, and Throws For beginning players, it is helpful to use a rhyme to help the players remember the proper throwing motion. Say "Nose, Toes and Throws" as they practice throwing. "Nose" is for looking at the target before throwing. "Toes" is for stepping toward the target with their glove-side foot and "Throws" is for throwing the ball. It works! Have them begin their throwing motion with their glove-side shoulder facing the target to force them to turn their shoulders as they throw. Why Building Good Technique Is Important 1. By learning the proper throwing techniques, players can achieve their best velocity and accuracy while reducing the risk of injury to their arm and body. 2. Learning the proper throwing techniques when young, allows a player's muscles and mind to develop the correct memory. Proper throwing can therefore become a good habit that will stay with players throughout their playing lives. Getting Ready to Throw 1. Proper throwing starts with conditioning activities well before the ball season begins. 2. Stretching and warming-up the entire body, as well as the shoulders and arms, is necessary before actually starting to throw. "Warm-up to throw; don't throw to warm-up", as stated by the American Sports Medicine Institute. 3. Start throwing slowly, over a short distance. Gradually lengthen the distance and increase velocity. This warm-up period will vary with the individual, but will be typically minutes. How to Throw a Baseball Grip Don't assume that playing catch is a skill already learned. That's the assumption of many coaches. You may have a couple of kids that play catch on a regular basis, but most kids don't touch a baseball between practices. Video games and TV normally win out over going outside and playing catch. The result for most coaches is that players are often lacking fundamental skills that many of us expect them to have. When kids are taught to throw, often the instruction is watered down into just a couple of steps. The act of throwing a baseball is not that simple. Throwing requires the entire body to work together in order to throw the ball accurately. All positions on the field require the ability to throw the ball accurately. Good throwing mechanics will enable you to make plays. When you warm up with the team before practice or play catch in the back yard, make sure you work on your mechanics and strive to improve your accuracy. The best way to grip the ball is across the seams as pictured below. The fingers are placed over the top of the seams to provide a good grip on the ball. In the first picture you'll notice that you can see 2 seams running horizontally. The back of the ball not visible will also have 2 seams running horizontally. By gripping the ball in this fashion, those 4 seams will help to keep the ball in the air longer and keep the ball traveling straighter. Players can work on this by throwing the ball into their glove and as they pull the ball out shift the ball to the correct grip. Try to keep the ball out on the fingertips not back in your hand. The second picture on the right shows the ball out on the fingertips. Gripping the ball in the palm of your hand and not out on your fingers will cost you velocity and accuracy. Younger players may need to grip the ball with three fingers instead of two, but unless their hands are very small they should still try to grip the ball out on the fingers.

2 Coaching Notes Young players will not be able to grip the ball across the seams while playing in the field. Work with your players on getting the correct grip but have your other players work on other parts of their throwing mechanics. They can work on this skill when they get older. Do work with them on getting the ball out on the fingertips. This can be difficult with small hands, but it is still an important concept for them to understand. The point here is to be patient. It is important you take all the time necessary to teach the players proper throwing technique, and remember; proper technique is taught one small step at a time Wrist - Elbow Most young players don't use their wrist much when throwing the ball. When the ball is brought back in the throwing motion, the wrist should be cocked back. This way the wrist can be used as part of the throwing motion. Watch players throw and you will see most will throw with a stiff wrist. It is very difficult to throw the ball accurately with a stiff throwing wrist. This is a skill that players should work on from the start. Wrist Elbow Coaching Notes

3 Have players position themselves on one knee approximately 6-feet from their partner. Knee placed on ground should be (throwing arm side). Example: Right handers will place right knee on ground left handers will place left knee on ground. Demonstrate proper 4-seam grip on the baseball. The player will then bend his elbow and hold his forearm with other hand. The player will then bend his wrist back and flick the ball to his partner using only the wrist to throw the baseball. Emphasize that the wrist will be used during all throws. Have players aim for the other player s glove as a target. Have the players back up to about 15 feet. This time the player throwing the ball will place his other hand under his arm holding his triceps. The player will then throw the ball using just his elbow and wrist. Front Shoulder When throwing players want their front shoulder to point in the direction of where they are throwing. (See image below) So after fielding the ball they will be turning their body sideways and pointing their lead shoulder in the direction of the throw. Arm Motion Think of the motion your arm makes when throwing the ball as a circular motion. When throwing a short distance, the circular motion will be smaller than when throwing a longer distance. The circular motion will aid the throw by providing more natural momentum than simply bringing the arm straight back and then forward. The circular motion should begin when pulling the ball from the glove. If playing outfield the player will most always be making a longer throw, so when removing the ball from the glove, arm and hand should drop down and by the back knee. This will provide player with the longest circular motion possible. If making a shorter throw in the infield for example, player may take the ball out of glove and move it back and down slightly. This will give player a circular motion appropriate for the distance.

4 Coaching Notes It's important to teach players to have their hand on top of the ball as they pull it back and start their throwing motion. How do you determine if you're throwing with a circular motion or not? One of the best ways to check is to have players freeze occasionally after pulling the ball out of their glove. Make sure players are throwing this way all the time and you should see increased accuracy and velocity. Lower Body If you follow the logic of having the players front shoulder facing the target then you might have guessed that you also want the lower body lined up in the same manner. The back foot should be perpendicular to the target and hips should be closed and also pointing in the direction of the target. Once everything is lined up, the player will step toward the target with lead foot, pushing off the back leg, and throw the ball using the entire body. Ball Rotation In order to throw the ball so it won't tail, you want to make sure you throw it across all four seems with '12-6' rotation. '12-6' rotation refers to a clock. If the ball rotates from 12, straight down to where 6 would be on the clock, this would be considered '12-6' rotation. The next two images show an example of 12-6 rotation

5 Coaching Notes Unless the player throws the ball straight over his head, he won't be able to get '12-6' rotation without moving his wrist. As the ball comes forward during the motion, player will want to twist his wrist to keep his hand as vertical as possible. This is the key to having good '12-6' rotation on the ball. Some Proper Throwing Techniques 1. Plant the back foot, on the side of your throwing arm, and step with the front foot toward the receiver. 2. As you step, turn the shoulder of your gloved hand also toward the receiver. 3. Reach down and back for power, keeping your hand on top of the ball palm down. 4. Extend the arm of the gloved hand forward, for balance, generally with the elbow somewhat bent. 5. Keep your eyes on the target as you "come almost over the top" with the ball. Sidearm throws are sometimes necessary in game situations, but maximum velocity and accuracy can be achieved with an overhand throwing motion. Let this be your natural motion. 6. Release the ball out in front of your body after your arm passes your head. 7. Follow through with your arm and body -- do not let your throwing side stay back. 8. Your arm follow-through will be a smooth arc down and across to the opposite side of your body to allow your arm to slow down after releasing the ball. 9. The entire throwing motion should be smooth, not herky-jerky. 10. Start off slowly until the entire process becomes natural and comfortable. Perfecting Your Technique 1. Work on receiving the ball coming to you on either side, high or low. 2. Get into your throwing position as you are receiving the ball. 3. To be best prepared to make a quick throw, catch the ball with both hands so that the ball can be transferred easily to your throwing hand. 4. Get your body moving as you receive the ball so that your step toward the receiver is a natural part of making the catch. A short hop or "crow-step" will give your body momentum to make the throw. 5. Try to get set before throwing. Avoid throwing off balance unless it is the only way to make the play quickly. 6. Practice getting rid of the ball quickly -- infielders to get a fast runner, and outfielders to nail the runner taggingup or stretching a hit. Imagine various game situations as you toss and practice. Three Things That Make a Good Ballplayer 1. Practice 2. Practice 3. Practice Coaches can work side by side with their young player. The coach is able to look at the player from all angles and give the player immediate feedback and instruction. Teaching Young Players To Use Their Wrist 1. Plant your back foot - the one on the same side as your throwing arm - and stride with your front foot toward the target.

6 2. As you stride forward, turn your glove-side shoulder toward your target. 3. As you are making the throw, you or your coach should make certain that you have your arm bent at the elbow with your forearm vertical. 4. Keeping the arm in this position, practice throwing with just the wrist and fingers. Purpose: Ensuring the wrist is used as part of the throwing motion. Using the wrist and fingers is essential in accuracy and strength of throw. Pitchers Proper Release Point 1. Work from the windup or stretch. 2. Plant your back foot, on the side of your throwing arm, and stride with the front foot toward the target. 3. As you stride forward, turn your glove side shoulder toward your target. 4. Reaching slightly down and back to achieve more power keep your hand on top of the ball with your palm down. 5. Extend your gloved arm forward, for balance keeping, your elbow slightly bent. 6. Come over the top with the ball. Always keeping your eye on the target. 7. Release the ball out in front of your body into the air to your target. 8. Follow through with your arm and body. 9. Your follow through should be a smooth downward arc across and to the opposite side of your body. This will allow your arm to slow down after releasing the ball. 10. Start slowly and repeat the entire process until it becomes comfortable and second nature. 11. Properly training will build muscle memory that will increase your throwing accuracy. Catchers Cross Drill (Pop Time to 2nd Base) Purpose: Develop proper throwing mechanics while improving your footwork to increase accuracy and quickness on throws to second base. Procedure: Draw a large "T" on the ground or on the rug if you are indoors. Using the proper ready position, begin with your feet on the top of the "T" - the line that runs left to right. This is the line that runs perpendicular to the pitcher. Both of your feet should be in contact with this line, with your left foot slightly in front of the right (for right-handed ballplayers). Using the jab step or replacement method of throwing, stay low and make a throw down to 2nd base. Stop in the arm-cocked position and check your feet alignment. Both of your feet should be on the vertical line - the line that runs straight toward the mound. If they aren't, you are out of position. Try again and make an adjustment. Be sure you are not off-balance. Repeat the drill until both of your feet end up on the vertical line. You may also try this drill using the rock-and-throw method... but you should start with your plant foot on the intersection of the two lines of the "T". This is the PERFECT do-it-alone training drill to help you improve your throwing mechanics. Tips: 1. Work on getting faster each time you do it.

7 Cross Drill (Pop Time to 3rd Base) Purpose: Develop proper throwing mechanics while improving your footwork to increase accuracy and quickness on throws to third base. This sets you up so that your momentum is directed toward third. The proper mechanics will give the catcher an unobstructed throw to third. Procedure: The catcher should have a stance that is in the secondary receiving position - with your feet slightly wider apart. Heels should be touching the ground with toes pointed up the foul lines. Catcher should come up out of your crouch so your thighs are parallel to the ground; coming out of the deep crouch. When throwing down to third you must clear the batter. Catcher should use the toe-to-heel slide step (right foot) to the left. In order to achieve the proper angle, the drop step with the right foot should be deeper - very close to the right back edge of the plate. The toes of your right foot are pointed toward the first base foul line. Then turn your hips, step forward with your left foot and drive toward third base. Tips: 1. Work on doing it correctly each and every time. 2. Work on getting faster each time you do it. Infielders Underhand Toss (Flip Throw to 2nd Base) Purpose: To develop proper technique of underhand toss on balls that are fielded too close to the base to make an overhand throw. Procedure: 1. You practice running toward the player you intend to toss the ball to. 2. You practice making a quick - but hard - underhand toss toward the guy covering second base. Visualize and aim your toss to the center of his chest. 3. Practice the follow through with your hand being extended high and straight at the other infielder. Your arm should end up at eye level. 4. This drill can be done from both sides of the field - short to 2nd or 2nd to short. 5. It can also be performed by the pitcher practicing fielding a bunt and flipping it to the first baseman. This flip drill can be performed alone or with other players. THROWING & CATCHING IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. If you can't do it well, you can't play hardball. It is not a coincidence that the best players we see on our level are the ones with the best throwing and catching skills. NOW is the time to develop these skills. If a player hasn't developed proper throwing mechanics and catching skills by the time they're finished with Little League (age 11-12), chances are remote they ever will. There is no secret formula! It is repetition of proper form...and practice, practice, practice. It will cost you NO money, requires NO fancy equipment and all you need to do is put in the time and effort to "play catch." Unfortunately, all too often pracice becomes an arduous time-consuming task; viewed by the kids as ALL WORK and NO

8 PLAY! But it's no big secret that the kids appreciation of baseball, as well as their ability to enjoy playing the game, seems to grow proportionately with their ability to compete. I Know, I Know. It's Boring! (See Drills below for fun & challenging variations.) This is the single most important activity you, as an adult, can do to enhance their baseball abilities. Playing catch properly teaches and reinforces two of the most important aspects of the game: catching the ball & throwing the ball. Always have your player move toward the ball and try to catch it in the center of the body with two hands. There are many players who still possess a real fear of the baseball. Going to the ball and becoming confident in their ability to catch the ball is the only way to overcome this fear. The obvious benefit of catching with 2 hands is the prevention of the ball popping out of the glove. Another important benefit of catching with 2 hands is the quick transition of the ball from the glove to the throwing hand. Another key element in playing catch is "Fingers Up, Fingers Down," depending on whether the ball is above or below the belly button. Discourage "slapping" at the low ball with the fingers up. Throw them line drives, ground balls, pop ups, short hops, etc. Have them get low on ground balls. Get that head down. Look for the button on top of their hats as they field grounders. (You should be able to see it when they are doing it properly.) THROWING THE BALL: Be sure to always have players stretch their arms. DON'T let them pick up a ball until their arm is warm. When throwing the ball, get those front (glove) shoulders pointing straight at the the target. Step toward the target when throwing the ball, and follow through. Get those arms bent at the elbow, up above the shoulder, when throwing the ball ("Down, Back & Up"). (Coaching Cue: Thumb to the Thigh, Knuckles to the Sky.) Elbow comes through first followed by hand and ball, fingers on top of the ball. Use the 4-seam grip. Follow through on your throws by bringing the Throwing Side Hip around on your follow through. In throwing, work on keeping the throwing elbow UP. Don't sling it, push it or side-arm it. Throwing "over the top" increases strength, velocity and accuracy. It also protects the arm from injury. Drills LONG TOSS: This is a great way to develop arm strength and it helps lengthen a players' arm. This is especially useful for players who "push" the ball in their throwing motion. Start the players at 30 feet apart and gradually have them back up, eventually getting to feet. Be sure your players aren't straining to throw. Have them utilize the "crow hop."

9 QUICK HANDS: Separate players into pairs. Place them feet apart. (You should now have 2 lines of players.) Create a race to see which pair can successfully throw and catch the most times in a 30-second period. If a ball is thrown away or dropped, they must go back to zero! RUNNING BASES: Put a fielder at both first and second base. Put helmets on your runners. Let the kids just run wild between 1st & 2nd base. Tell your fielders to get as many outs as they can in a 1-minute period. This is a fun game for both runners and fielders alike, as the fielders must learn to both throw and catch "under pressure" at a fast pace. They really need to be able to catch and throw the ball very quickly. They will also have to throw accurately. They will be forced to learn how to apply fast tags. They will start to understand the do's and don'ts of rundowns. This is a great learning game that happens to be a lot of fun. T-Ball Throwing Drill Give your players a target. When there s something to throw the ball at, they tend to try harder. The one lesson I did get to stick was: when throwing, step with the glove-side foot. Trying to step with the throwing-hand side leaves them off balance. Step with the glove side foot, good balance, a much better throw. And glove side foot is easy to understand even for kids who don t really get right and left yet. High Five Drill Have your player put the balls of his feet on a line with his feet spread shoulder wide. For orientation we are going to pretend this is the first base line. If the player is right handed, have his right hand toward first base and his left hand toward home. Shoulders should be aligned with the base line. You (the parent or helper) stand on the home base side of the player with your feet straddling the first base line. Hold the player s glove (left) hand in your right hand. Make sure the player s left elbow is shoulder high, his glove hand is shoulder high or higher, and that his front (left) arm is only slightly bent, with the elbow pointed straight down the first base line. Hold your left hand up about as far in front of your body as your right hand, but about 18 inches higher and about 12 inches to your left. This is where the ball should be released. Have the player s right (throwing) arm in the high cocked position, with the elbow shoulder high or higher and the forearm vertical: his arm should be in an L shape, bent at the elbow. The palm should be facing first base. If the player were to look back at his throwing hand, he would see the back of his fingers. Have player take a small step towards home base with his left foot while pushing his left hand against your right hand. Have him twist his hips towards you (the hips square towards the target) while pretending to squish a bug with the ball of his right foot as his right hand moves forward to slap your left hand. The slapping of hands should occur further in front than the player s head and off to his right side. This is where the ball should be released on a throw. King Of The Hill Drill Divide the team into two groups. A coach goes with each group and serves as the hitter. Players do not use gloves in this game. The reason that gloves are not used is to force players to field the ball with two hands, rather than just using the glove and fielding the ball with one hand. The game is basically pepper. The coach

10 hits a ball towards the fielders and one fielder tries to field the ball. A successful fielder stays in place; a fielder making an error moves to the LEFT end of the line. After the ball is fielded or retrieved a player tosses it softly underhand to the coach to hit, just as in pepper. The game goes on for a minute or two. When time is up the player on the RIGHT end of the line is the King of the Hill, or winner. The coach should make an attempt to hit towards every player both for practice and to keep the contest fair. To make the game more interesting, play one contest for a couple of minutes. Then take the half of the players from the RIGHT end of each line into a winners game and the players from the LEFT half of each group into a consolation game. Then play another round and the winner of the winners game will be the undisputed King of the Hill for the practice. Beat The Ball Drill Set up the defense and a hitter gets one soft toss from plate to put the ball in play, the harder the better, no bunting. It is the job of the defense to field it and throw to first, second, third, and home plate in succession before the runner gets around the bases. Fouls are outs. The way it develops is the kids try to hit liners where no defender stands, placing their hits and run like crazy.meanwhile, the defense is incredibly efficient at getting the ball in and throwing around the horn. The kids not playing a base all communicate and line themselves up in a good backup position in case of a bad throw but to get an out each base must be tagged while in possession of the ball before the next base can be thrown to. A lot of outs can be made with clean throws, but one bad throw in the process usually makes it able for batter to score. If the runner scores the entire defense for the play must drop for 5 pushups and if the batter is out he must do 5. Keep a kid on deck to make it go smoothly and rotate the kids in the field to let everyone play a base. Throwing Footwork Drills 1) Catcher with ball. The catcher starts out with the ball in their glove. Coach will be in front of the catcher. The coach will instruct the catcher to use either load and throw or jump pivot. The catcher will execute the footwork and throw to a partner. Make sure to work both methods of throwing footwork. 2) One knee partner/coach toss. Catcher at home plate. Partner or coach a few feet in front on one knee. Partner or coach will toss ball to catcher who is already in their stance. The catcher will catch the ball and execute proper throwing footwork and throw to another partner. Being on one knee and tossing the ball will allow the partner or coach to put the ball exactly where they want to work. Also, this will assist the catcher in working on both types of throwing footwork. 3) Medium/Full toss. Coach will stand half-way or on the mound and throw pitches to the catcher who has already assumed their stance. The catcher will execute footwork determined by the pitch and throw to a partner behind the coach. Line Throw PURPOSE To develop proper throwing technique, specifically accuracy EQUIPMENT One bucket, 20 to 30 hardballs, gloves

11 TIME 3 to 6 minutes PROCEDURE I. Players assemble in two lines, one at the third-base position and the other at the shortstop position. 2. Set up a row of baseballs in front of each line of players. 3. Send two players to first base with an empty bucket. One player is the first baseman and the other is the backup first baseman. 4. On the "go" command, the first person in line at third base runs to the closest ball, picks it up, and throws it to first base. After the throw, the player goes to the end of the shortstop line. 5. The coach gives the "go" command to the first person in the shortstop line, who runs to the closest ball, throws it to first base, then goes to the end of the third-base line. 6. This drill can be done more quickly if the coach gives the "go" command to the next player as soon as the previous player throws the ball. 7. The first baseman receives the throws from the third-base and shortstop positions and places the balls in the bucket. The first baseman rotates with the backup after every five or six throws. KEY POINTS 1. This drill teaches players to start from the ready position before the pitcher pitches the ball. It also teaches infielders to charge slow rollers and to pick up the balls with their bare hands. 2. When throwing to first base, the fielder must plant the foot and aim between the first baseman's shoulders and abdomen. 3. The first baseman must give the fielders a good target. He keeps his glove,open with his arm stretched out at about chest or shoulder height.

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