Throwing a baseball seems like an easy task. Yet in the middle of a professional baseball game, we still see throws that are completely off target.
Throwing a baseball accurately and with maximum power is one of the most difficult parts of the game. Players that are looking to improve their throwing with increased velocity and accuracy, should revisit the fundamentals and work on drills.
It does not matter if you are a fielder, catcher, or pitcher, the basics are often forgotten and sometimes we let bad habits develop over time. If you are pitcher, learn the proper pitching mechanics. When we force ourselves to go back and visit the basics, we naturally build better throwing mechanics.
How To Throw a Baseball or Softball
Step 1: Get into position
Every good throw starts from the ground up. Throwing well does not involve only your arm, the entire body should be invited to the party.
The lower body is often neglected when it comes to throwing but it is actually where everything starts. Get your lower body into the proper position first before you even think about moving your arms.
Your feet should be firmly planted on the ground and squared up with your shoulders.
You should be in a good athletic position with the knees slightly bent and ready to move.
Your weight should be balanced between both of your legs and your shoulders should be relaxed. Make sure you are not hunched over or standing too tall.
Your shoulders and feet should be in line with your target. If your throwing position is too open or too closed your throws will likely be weak and inaccurate.
Step 2: Get a good grip
Cup the ball in your throwing hand. The four-seam fastball grip is a good grip for throwing because it allows for straighter backspin.
With the four-seam fastball grip, there should be two fingers across the baseball seams. The ball should be held with the fingers and preferably not resting in the palm of the hand.
A good grip on the ball could make all the difference when it comes to accuracy and velocity. The ball and your throwing hand should be in your glove and centered in the middle of the body at chest height.
Step 3: Work in tandem
The front and back side of your body will need to work together and at the same time for a picture-perfect throw.
Your front side will need to imitate what the back side is doing. When you bring your throwing hand backward, your front arm should be doing the same but on the opposite side. The front and back side of the body will be working opposite of each other.
Having both sides work together and at the same time is essential to developing good throwing mechanics. If one side is off, the other one will usually overcompensate and throwing the whole body off.
Focus on keeping your body and movements straight in line with your target while preparing to throw.
Step 4: Get ready to throw
To start the throwing motion, shift your weight to your back leg while bringing the front foot off the ground. This is a weight shift or a load balance.
Push off the ground with the back foot and stride forward. While the back foot is pushing off, step forward with your front leg and plant the front foot on the ground.
Make sure your stride is not too far or too short. Work on finding the sweet spot for your stride.
Step 5: As you stride forward, begin to break the hands
Begin pulling your throwing hand from the glove but keep the ball facing the ground for as long as possible.
Your glove hand should be moving in sync to what your throwing hand is doing. The glove should be pointed at your target, this creates the strongest throwing position.
Remember that the front and back of the body are working together at the same time. What one side does, the other does as well. Both sides of the body should break equal and opposite.
One bad habit that can develop over time is removing the throwing hand and immediately pointing the ball towards the target. Do not do this, pointing the ball towards the target too early creates a weak throwing position and should be avoided.
Step 6: Continue the arm rotation
The throwing arm and hand will eventually reach their limit and it will be time to take the ball from facing the ground to facing behind you.
Imagine you are throwing from the pitching mound; the ball should start the rotation facing the ground and then continue the rotation to face the centerfielder.
Completing the full rotation gains maximum torque in the body. While the throwing arm is behind you, your gloved hand should be in the same position on the opposite side with the elbow pointing towards the target.
Step 7: Begin the upper body rotation
Lead with the front elbow and begin bringing it back towards your body. The glove should follow the elbow and be pulled towards your chest. This starts the upper body rotation.
Keep this move as tight as possible, the tighter the move the faster you will fire. The upper body rotation will begin to generate torque and your lower body will naturally start to open towards your target. The throwing hand should naturally begin moving forward towards the target.
Step 8: Fire away
The last step is to throw the baseball.
Lead your throwing arm with the elbow and release the ball when it is slightly out in front. The elbow usually stays at a 90-degree angle.
Keep the fingers on top of the baseball. The hand should feel as though it is pulling down on the ball and not pushing it.
The wrist and fingers are often neglected when it comes to throwing. These little muscles should not be forgotten, as they can add additional velocity to your throws.
Step 9: Follow through
Create as much extension as possible when you are throwing the ball. This creates a whip effect with the baseball.
Finish the throw out completely and do not stop your body movements until the arm has slowed down as much as possible.
Finishing a throw too early can result in inaccurate throws and could potentially lead to injuries.