Ways To Improve Your Fastball

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.

Pitching Velocity And Pitch Count

Do you feel a loss or an increase in your pitching velocity this time of year? There are many factors that contribute to a loss of velocity at the end of the season.

Many pitchers throw too much all season and some pitchers just aren’t throwing enough. You need a happy medium. Unfortunately, coaches at many levels are to blame for pitchers arm soreness and lack of speed this time of year. Is it overthrowing or lack of pitching mechanics that causes this?

The answer is a little of both. If you are a coach or parent, are you allowing your pitchers to warm up (throw long toss) with the rest of the team the day after they throw a long game?

If they play other positions as well, are you monitoring how much they actually throw during the course of the week?

How many other teams do they pitch or play for?

If your pitcher throws in a game, how often do they get a chance to hit?

It’s important to know that if they pitch a lot they shouldn’t hit a lot and vise versa.

I have heard of pitchers, as young as 10 years old, that pitch up to three games a week because they pitch with more than one team.

Each team may pay attention to pitch count, but if a pitcher has maxed out their pitch count for two different teams, that’s a bit much for that week.

When a pitcher becomes fatigued, their mechanics go to pot. When that happens there is lack of control and velocity, not to mention a sore arm on top of that.

It is imperative that your pitchers use proper pitching mechanics when throwing. I feel coaches aren’t allowing their pitchers to succeed as much as they could because they haven’t taken the necessary time to learn about pitching mechanics.

Pitchers need that education or they are doing more harm than good. Not just to themselves, but their team. Learning proper pitching mechanics is imperative to your pitching success.

Coaches and parents should be concerned how their athletes are throwing the ball. Not only will pitchers win more games, they will stay healthy throughout the course of the year if they apply proper throwing mechanics.

More importantly, they will maintain or increase their velocity at the end of the year. Most inexperienced or uninformed pitchers experience a decrease in velocity when it counts the most; championship games and tournaments.

If you are a pitcher who tends to lose some velocity at the end of the season, you need to make sure that you are rebuilding what you tear down on the mound.

For example, throwing on the mound is a tearing down process on the arm. Pitchers who work on elastic band training, light dumbbell exercises and core strength training, they are the ones that are going to continue to throw hard or even harder at the end of the year.