When it comes to pitching, speed and velocity are important. They’re what you need to throw an effective fastball which can stop a runner from stealing second, getting the ball to first base, then throwing it to home plate.
Throwing a fastball is an essential skill every great pitcher must know, but it’s also one that’s quite difficult to hone. Some are naturals at it, but there’s only so much you can do with natural skill. If you fail to regularly work on your skills, they’ll eventually deteriorate. So, you’ll need to keep practicing, and you can do so with these essential tips to help you increase your pitching velocity.
Work on the basics
It’ll be much more difficult for you to improve and even perfect your pitching if you haven’t gotten the basics down yet. The proper mechanics should include everything from your leg and hip position when you throw a pitch to how you grasp the baseball. You can benefit from having a speed pitch game where you can work on your pitching mechanics on your own time. It also helps to have someone watch you or record you practicing so you can figure out what you have to work on.
Strengthen your lower body
Pitching isn’t all about arm and upper body strength. Your lower body strength is just as important since this area, which includes your thighs, calves, knees, and hips, is responsible for maintaining your balance and agility. You can strengthen these parts by regularly doing a combination of squats, lunges, and calf raises with or without weights.
Enhance your posture
Poor pitching posture can cause serious arm injuries and jeopardize your pitching velocity. The better your posture is, the more control you have over your performance. So, make sure that you’re conscious of your stance and bearing while out on the field. Always keep your spine and head aligned and upright with your shoulders square to the target.
Start weight training
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start incorporating weights into your workout routine. Just be sure not to push yourself too hard and watch your form otherwise you might injure yourself. Only do what you’re physically able to, and increase your weights periodically. Medicine balls, dumbbells, and kettlebells are great for strengthening your upper body muscles and therefore increasing your pitching velocity.
Take regular breaks from throwing
It’s important to take time off from throwing completely to give your upper body the chance to recuperate. This allows you to return to the pitch stronger than ever. Take a rest after a game or an intense practice session to give your body a chance to restore itself. During your off days, you can still perform some low-intensity physical activities to keep yourself limber, such as stretching, swimming, yoga, brisk walking, and foam rolling.
Keep yourself in shape
As with every athlete, it’s important to maintain overall fitness in order to achieve optimal performance. Your workouts shouldn’t just isolate your upper body and lower body strength, but should also include your cardiovascular endurance.
Improve your pitching velocity and maximize your performance by keeping these tips in mind before your next big game.