How to Increase Throwing Velocity

Any pitcher in baseball wants to increase his/her throwing velocity. Fortunately, this is not a god gifted talent and there are methods to increase it. What pitchers need to do is perform full body explosive exercises to energize as many muscles of the body as possible.

Throwing the ball properly itself will increase the speed. Apply direct force to the back of the baseball. The pitcher’s fingers should always be behind the ball. To stay behind the ball and increase straight line strength, use weighted baseballs and stretch cord.

Use available force from the wrist during the pitching motion. Studies have shown that wrist flexion and strength are significant contributors for increasing the throwing velocity. The wrist makes up 10% of the force applied to the baseball during the pitching delivery. The following exercises will help promote strength and speed of wrist motion:

  • Weighted balls
  • Shot put flips
  • Wrist rolls

The forearm is important to achieve high speed in the pitching delivery. Following exercises will help muscle development in the forearm:

  • Forearm curls with bar
  • Reverse forearm curls with bar
  • Hammer curls with dumbbell

The rotator cuff joint is a vital contributor to the overhand throw. Pitchers must have a strong and healthy rotator cuff since the pitching motion needs straight and curved finger action. Strengthening the shoulder and corresponding tendons should build the pitching velocity. For that do:

  • Arm swings
  • Jobe exercises with 2 lb. dumbbells
  • Football throws

Elbow extension is one of the four important elements. Elbow extension occurs during the acceleration phase of the delivery, right before the release of the ball. The following exercises will help add strength and speed of extension:

  • Shot put
  • Shoulder press
  • Triceps pull down

The scapular muscle is often underutilized by new pitchers. This muscle is not developed because many believe weight training, specifically, upper body resistance training may promote injuries. The following exercises will help develop strength in the scapular muscle and provide general upper body resistance training:

  • Bench press
  • Seated row
  • Lat pulldown
  • Push-ups and Dumbbell flies

The speed and strength of a pitcher’s torso affects the pitching power too. The speed of the trunk is not the only aspect of the torso that needs to be worked upon. Late trunk rotation is a movement that can help improve force applied to the ball along with keeping the arm safe and healthy. Exercises mentioned below will prove beneficial:

  • Exercises using the medicine ball
  • Total Abdominal workout
  • Leg lifts

Hence, full body exercises including upper and lower body plyometrics, is the right way for pitchers to get in shape. These workouts help improve velocity and also the body is conditioned to prevent injuries while pitching. Increasing the flexibility of the body through yoga or stretching exercises is another suggestion. Incorporating these exercises in your workout routine can surely enhance your throwing power.

How to Throw a Sinker

A sinker is a term used to describe one of the pitches in a ball game. Another term for it is a ‘sinking fastball’. However, this pitch is not as fast as a regular fastball. Other types of pitches are a cutter, a sharp curveball, and a split-finger fastball.

A sinker is thrown at a slight angle than normal, so you get a late movement on it, and the ball moves down to the right. This makes it one of the favorite pitches in a ballgame. Hitters have trouble making contact with it, and so pitchers have more opportunities of getting ground-ball outs. Knowing how to pitch an effective sinker takes time and practice. Many will probably advice you, if you are 16 or under, to hang around a bit more before you attempt this type of pitching. The reason being, youngsters run a danger of damaging their hands by stretching their fingers too much for a widened grip on the ball. Of course, if you were born with an extra-large set of hands, you might not face this problem.

A baseball comes with a closed-end horseshoe seam pattern. The horseshoe seam comes in handy for knowing where to place your fingers and how to throw different pitches. You can use different types of grips to throw a sinker. You place your first two fingers―the index one and the middle one―parallel to each other on the seam at the horseshoe’s closed end. Place your ring finger and little finger lightly on the side, to both, give some stability to your grip and to make it easier for you to make your throw. When you throw, do so in the way you would normally throw a fastball, but release the ball with a quick downward flick of your wrist, with your index and middle fingers propelling it forward.

Now, move your index and middle finger close together, so that they now lie between the ball seams. Place your thumb sideways, so that it lies in a 7 ‘o’ clock position in relation with the two fingers. This type of pitch will make the ball turn over naturally as it is thrown. When thrown by a right-handed pitcher, this kind of pitch gives the ball a clockwise, topspin.

Some pitchers―the extra-large handed ones―even manage to grip the ball in the webbing between their fingers. This is known as a fork ball. Don’t try this, especially if you have small hands. Let your fingers gradually accustom to this type of hold, before making it a permanent part of your pitching repertoire.

A few things to keep in mind when you throw a sinker:

  • You should make the ball roll off your index and middle finger when you pitch.
  • You should not get under the ball when you throw.
  • You should not throw the pitch high.
  • You should aim at the hitter’s waist, throwing low and a little on the inside.
  • You shouldn’t throw so many sinkers that you end up straining your shoulder or arm.