Even someone who knows nothing about baseball would be impressed by a fastball. Pitch speed is important for infield plays, outfield plays, bringing the ball to first base, and bringing it home. The faster you throw the ball, the better you are at the game. While playing baseball might come naturally to you, here are a few tips to get your pitch at its best.
Train your body
Begin with your legs. The way you train and position your lower body can greatly affect your throwing velocity. Focus on your legs if you really want to improve your pitch. If you don’t have access to any weights, you can work on training your legs by doing squats, calf raises, and lunges whenever and wherever you can.
However, if you do have weights, aim for around eight to fifteen reps of a few upperbody exercises to train your muscles. If you want to improve your elbow extension, use a shoulder press. To improve your pitch delivery, do a few forearm curls. And even though many pitchers tend to overlook them, don’t forget to also work on your back muscles with a few bench presses to improve posture and stability.
Finally, pay attention to your hips as they play an important role in your pitch, too. If you’re able, try to stretch your hip flexors when you train. You could also take part in yoga, if that’s better suited to your lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to try different exercises.
Position yourself properly
Stand in front of a mirror or get a friend to spot or record you. Look at the way you pitch. Is it more linear or rotational? The former allows your arm to do less work, but still let you pitch at the same target.
When you pitch, take care of your arm and grip, too. Put your throwing arm into maximum external rotation early, so that you can control your pitch, but control your grip as holding on to the ball too hard won’t allow you to easily change your fingers’ positions before pitch release.
Lastly, mind your head and your overall position. Make sure your head is stabilized so that your entire body is stable. At the same time, avoid the baseball balance position. Contrary to popular belief, the balance position works against your goal of being balanced, hindering your pitching velocity.
Stretch and relax
After you work on strengthening your muscles and perfecting your positioning, work on loosening up your limbs. Doing stretches as simple as arm circles can improve your pitch velocity. After arm circles, you can also do a few front stretches to benefit your rotator cuffs. While it may feel relaxing to stretch rather than lift weights, stretching too much might increase your risk of injury.
When you feel like your muscles have had too much beating, get some ice and tend to them. If your arms are tired, work out your legs. If your whole body is tired, get some sleep. Rest is as important as any preparation you can give your body.
Learn and review
Observe other games and watch videos to learn the best pitching mechanics. Take a video of yourself in action. Review and ask yourself what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. If you can’t improve by yourself, hire a coach or ask another baseball player to mentor you.
You could also make use of a baseball radar gun to measure the speed of your pitch. A radar gun works by sending out a radio signal through a beam, and then recording the time until the signal hits the object.
Major League Baseball pitchers now have an average fastball velocity of 92.6 mph. This is theorized to be partly because they are able to set pitch velocity goals and reach those goals by measuring their own pitches.
By the time you perfect your pitch, you’ll find that pitching the ball will no longer be about anything like the angle of your throw, but how much you enjoy the game.