There are two main components to throwing velocity: mechanics and strength. Mechanics can be improved with proper form, practice, and repetition. Strength is a combination of both strength training exercises and mobility drills to improve flexibility. Here are some tips for both aspects to help increase pitching velocity.
Start in the correct position. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, your body is aligned over the rubber, and you’re balanced throughout the duration of the pitch. Optimize hip/shoulder separation by having a slight bend in your knees and hips before beginning your delivery. This will help give you more power to transfer energy from your lower body to your arm. Drive forward towards the plate with a strong and steady leg drive, while maintaining balance throughout the motion. Pay attention to your arm slot, making sure you’re throwing on a downward plane as opposed to an upward trajectory.
Using proper form during your training is essential to achieving a high pitching velocity. While practicing your form may not be as physically taxing as strength training, it is equally important.
Perform exercises that mimic the same form as your pitching delivery. This will help build strength in muscles that are used during your pitch. Utilize power lifts like squats, deadlifts, and presses to improve overall strength and power development. Work on rotational movements with cable or band rotational exercises to help generate power off your back leg. Increase shoulder stability with upper body plyometrics, such as wall throws and medicine ball throw variations. Strength training is a critical component of increasing pitching velocity and should be included in any pitcher’s routine.
Another important component of a good pitcher that is commonly overlooked is mobility. Prioritizing proper mobility training will not only help prevent injury, but also can help take your pitches to the next level.
Athletes can greatly increase their range of motion and flexibility with dynamic stretching and foam rolling. Performing exercises such as band pull-aparts, cable rotations, and wall slides can improve shoulder strength and mobility by strengthening smaller supporting muscles. Don’t forget to focus on hip mobility to keep your body in alignment throughout the pitch delivery with exercises like lateral lunges, leg swings, and inchworms. Similar to mechanics, while mobility exercises may not always cause you to “break a sweat”, they are crucial to the improvement of an athlete’s overall ability.
Utilizing these exercises, stretches, and training techniques, young athletes can greatly increase their pitching velocity . As a former athlete himself, Dr. Scott Strasburger has over 20 years of experience as an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist. For athletes who want to learn more about proper training techniques and injury prevention, schedule an appointment today.