Throwing a baseball is one of, if not the most, fundamental skills to learn when you start playing baseball. Whether you play in the field, are a pitcher, or a catcher, it is essential for every player to know how to throw a baseball. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about throwing a baseball. From the basics of throwing to pitching, and how BRUCE BOLT can help you along the way. Let’s jump right in.
The Basics of Throwing a Baseball
As you are reading, you may think to yourself: I know how to throw a baseball. We are not saying that you don’t, we are trying to make sure you are doing it the correct way and not potentially putting yourself at risk. Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, yet many players still throw incorrectly which can lead to injury issues down the road. To fully understand, let’s get things started with some of the basic mechanics of throwing a baseball.
When you see someone throwing the ball it can look like it is just a simple arm motion, when it is really a full body motion. All great throwers use their whole body so that the throw is powerful, accurate, and doesn’t put too much stress on the shoulder. And just like any athletic movement, it starts with your base position.
Start with both feet planted on the ground and your feet squared toward the target. As we move up the body, we want our knees to have a bend/flex to them. This puts your body in an athletic position and allows fluid movement through the body.
During the loading process, you want to make sure that you are leaning back but not so much that your weight shifts beyond your back leg. With that rocking motion, you are then going to pick up your front leg to help with momentum. While your legs are doing that, you are also going to be loading with your upper body. Then, all you have to do is bring both hands together just below your chin in the middle of your body. From that crane-like position, you can then start your throwing motion.
The Throwing Motion
To start the throwing motion, you are going to separate your arms at the same time toward the ground in a circular motion, leading with your pinky fingers. While your hands are doing that you are going to push off of your back foot and stride toward the target.
With your front elbow bent toward your target and your front foot planted forward, you are going to start the kinetic chain. To start the chain we rotate the hips forward and then tuck our glove into our front armpit while rotating the throwing shoulder forward. This will then take your throwing arm and the ball for a ride. As you complete the throw, it is important to release the ball out in front of your body. The ball should be touching the two top fingers last before it launches toward your target.
Why The Basics Are Important?
This is such a great starting point because it is just the basics of how to play catch. And it doesn't matter if you are a youth player or a 10-year veteran, everyone needs to play catch. Why? Playing catch is the easiest way to drill the proper mechanics of throwing a baseball. and commit those mechanics to muscle memory. This can be done either with a partner or a rebounding net – all you really need is a target that can return the ball to you.
How to Translate Your Throwing Motion to Pitching
To be able to pitch with the best you need to meet physical requirements such as strong legs, agile hips, fast twitch muscles in your arms, and conditioned shoulders to handle the workload.
Important Body Parts Used When Pitching
The following body parts are very important to work into your strength training because they are responsible for the pitching workload -- aspects like external rotation and shoulder separation.
- Scapula: Better known as the shoulder blade, the scapula is important because it is connected to one bone in the clavicle and several muscles in the upper back. All promote healthy shoulder movement.
- Rotator Cuff: The rotator cuff is crucial because it allows you to be able to do actions like raising your arm over your head. Without a healthy rotator cuff, actions like pitching and throwing aren’t possible.
- Thoracic Spine: The thoracic spine is a huge component in creating greater rotational velocities because it is in the center of your body. It is responsible for transferring power from the hips to the shoulders.
Make sure to listen to your body when it is in pain or when it shows signs that you need to take a break. We always recommend pitchers start seeing a physical therapist before they incur damage to these body parts. Seeing a specialist preemptively is crucial for young pitchers who want to avoid potential career-ending injuries down the road.
Important Pitching Terms
Now that we have discussed the important body parts used in pitching, let’s take a look at some important pitching terms to be familiar with.
- Release Point: The release point is where the ball leaves the thrower’s hand.
- Pitching Velocity: The peak speed of a pitch from its release point to the time it crosses home plate.
- Pitching Delivery: The action of throwing the ball to the catcher. It is broken up into five steps – the windup, cocking back, acceleration towards the plate, deceleration once the ball has been thrown, and lastly, the follow-through. The delivery is the main thing separating a regular throw from a pitch.
Different Types of Pitches
Of course, we can not talk about pitching without going over some actual pitches that most pitchers have in their arsenal. Being able to vary the type of pitch through grip without changing your arm action is what separates good pitchers from great pitchers. Here are a couple of pitch types to serve as a starting point in your pitching mastery.
- Four-seam Fastball: The infamous heater. When throwing a four-seamer you are predominantly using your top two fingers. Your middle finger and index finger should lay across a total of four seams and your thumb will be placed underneath the ball to add security to the hold.
- Circle Changeup: This pitch is a little more advanced as it will involve all five of your fingers. Your thumb and index finger will copy the “C” made by the seam on the side of the ball with your other three fingers laying across the baseball as it goes away from your body. When talking about off-speed pitches the changeup is the most popular, especially at the youth level. This pitch will allow you to keep hitters off balance, and in turn, will make your heater more effective.
BRUCE BOLT’s Tips and Tricks
There are tons of instructional videos that will take you step by step through how to improve your throwing motion. Therefore, our first recommendation is to make use of resources like Coach RAC's TikTok and YouTube. No other generation has had free access to such a wide array of informational videos from notable professionals, and you need to take advantage of these resources to maximize your potential.
Like playing catch, long toss is a great way to improve your throwing accuracy and velocity. The standard way to go about this drill is to start close together with your partner to warm up every part of your body that you will be using. Once you are feeling more and more comfortable you and your partner start to take steps apart from each other. Once you have reached a distance where the ball is barely reaching your partner without hitting the ground, stay there and get used to how you are using your body to make this type of throw. Make sure to put an emphasis on the arc as you move farther and farther away from your throwing partner. It is much more important to focus on arc than how hard you are throwing the ball on the way out. Once you get comfortable at max distance, you can start to make your way in. This time, you can focus on throwing with some velocity and keeping the ball on a line.
Pro Players to Emulate
One of the best things that you can do is find someone that you want to play like and attempt to copy what they are doing. Professional baseball players take hours every day to perfect the fundamentals of baseball like throwing, and you can use that to your advantage. Players like Pedro Martinez (for pitchers) and Francisco Lindor (for infielders) are great examples of perfect throwing mechanics.
How BRUCE BOLT Can Help
Here at BRUCE BOLT, we try to equip you with all the insights and gear you need to perform at your best on the field. We offer products from arm sleeves to wristbands that can keep your arm “live” during play and keep sweat from impacting the grip you have on the ball.
Our baller arms sleeves are “medical grade” graduated compression that increases blood flow and decreases muscle vibrations to keep the player's arms feeling “live” throughout the game.
As simple as a wristband can be, it could be the difference between top performance and sloppy play. No one likes having sweaty hands while trying to grip a baseball, which is exactly what the bands can stop. Our wristbands stop the sweat from dripping down your arm onto your hands. Oh… and did we mention that they look cool too?