Accuracy can be a big problem for young pitchers who can’t feel where their hand is pointing when they let go.
If that sounds familiar, then here’s a drill that will definitely help!
You can tell pitchers to “just throw strikes” until your lungs fall out, and as you’ve no doubt figured out – it doesn’t help at all. That’s because the problem isn’t a lack of knowing what to do, but rather your pitcher’s inability to make their bodies do it. In order for a pitcher to throw a fastball to their target, they need to have their hand pointing at that target when they let go of the ball – the same thing that needs to happen when we throw overhand. But, most young kids can’t feel their hands when they move them full speed so that makes controlling where their hand is pointing at release pretty tough.
I deal with this same issue each week when I work with young pitchers. And, just like you, I can get frustrated trying to figure out how to help them. Then it hit me – I suddenly realized how I could help younger pitchers point their hands at the target when letting go of the ball. I took an old pitching drill that involves putting your feet in the release position and making 3-4 fast arm circles before letting go of the ball and I morphed it slightly.
Here’s how it works:
- The 3 picture sequence on the right shows a pitcher with her stride foot forward, ready to start her pitch. 10 to 15 feet in front of the catcher so speed is NOT important in this drill!
- She makes her arm circle at about 50% speed.
- And then she stops and pauses in her release position – making sure that her palm and the ball are pointing directly at the catcher.
- She then makes another 50% speed circle pausing again at the release point to check that her palm is pointing directly at the target.
- The pitcher starts at 5 (4 circles & pauses and actually pitching on the 5th circle without a pause).If the pitch goes directly to the glove then she goes to 4 (3 circles & pauses and actually pitching on the 4th circle without a pause).
- If the pitch goes directly to the glove then she goes to 3 (2 circles & pauses and actually pitching on the 3rd circle without a pause).
- If the pitch goes directly to the glove then she goes to 2 (1 circle & pause and actually pitching on the 2nd circle without a pause).
- If the pitch goes directly to the glove then she goes to 1 pitch without a pause.
- If at any time the pitch is not directly to the catcher, then the pitcher moves back up to the previous number. Remember that the key is not to go fast – take your time and really emphasize the pause.
Here’s a view from the back. In Back View 1 the Red Arrow shows how the pitcher needs to have her feet in line to the target by placing her stride foot slightly in front of her back foot. The Dotted Blue Arrow shows what pitchers typically do with their feet causing their body and hand to point in that direction – which isn’t toward the target.
Don’t rush this drill and you’ll be amazed at how much this drill will help improve your pitcher’s accuracy!
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