Knowing how to throw a good fastball is a very basic skill for any pitcher. There are many different skills and qualities that make up a good pitcher and being able to throw hard and fast is definitely one of them. While the ability to throw with great velocity is very much a God given ability there are several practice techniques that will help improve a pitcher’s fastball.
Natural talent will only get you so far. Proper baseball training, physical conditioning and learning proven pitching techniques can greatly enhance your pitching ability.
Proper pitching mechanics are perhaps the most important factor when you throw a fastball, or any pitch for that matter. Good mechanics help you have an efficient throwing movement.
The right mechanics will also help reduce the risk of injury. You want to develop a smooth and relaxed pitching motion and practice that motion until it becomes second nature. Your motion should include a strong leg drive, hip rotation, a smooth but explosive arm acceleration and a good follow through. Remember that your arm speed at the moment of release is directly related to the speed of the pitch.
Pitching fitness and conditioning is also very important. A good general conditioning program should be followed along with your baseball training. Running on a regular basis will help your general fitness and endurance.
Combining distance running and wind sprints will provide excellent conditioning. Weight training exercises for all your major muscle groups will improve muscle strength. Do not be afraid of building some muscle and getting stronger with a moderate weight training routine. Stronger muscle will help you pitch better. Light stretching is also recommended particularly after pitching.
In between starts the long toss drill can be very helpful. Sessions of about 15 to 20 minutes will help with your ability to throw hard. Be sure to warm up gradually and then begin to increase your distance gradually. During a long toss session remember that you want to throw hard, throw accurately and try to throw through your partner, not just reach him. Do NOT over do long toss as it can lead to a tired or sore arm.
Another important drill is simply to practice pitching as if your were actually pitching. Between starts you should be doing some throwing off a mound. Practice all your pitches. Ideally you should have the confidence that you can throw any pitch for a strike at any time. Even on different types of pitches try to make your delivery appear the same so that you are not “tipping pitches” and giving your opponents an advantage. Use both a wind-up and a stretch position. Maintain focus on each and every pitch.
Remember these tips to help you throw an effective fastball:
- Develop proper mechanics.
- Develop stronger muscles.
- Practice the long toss drill on a regular basis.
- Concentrate on increasing your arm speed just prior to release of the ball.
Remember that proper practice and proper training are both vital to improving your pitching performance.