Want to intimidate your batter with an impressive fastball? The first step is to put the “fast” in fastball. Your throwing velocity or pitch speed is one of the most important techniques to develop as a baseball pitcher because a fastball is one of the hardest pitches to hit. Essentially, the faster you can throw a baseball, the better you can be at the sport.
Some athletes have a natural talent for pitching a fastball while others have to work at it. If you belong to the latter, don’t worry. Hard work and practice can take you far. Check out our tips below on how to improve your pitch speed and own the field.
1. Keep your lower body strong
Lower body strength and stability are vital in achieving maximum pitch speed. The way you position your legs and how steady or lithe you make them affect your speed in pitching a fastball. So, train your legs using squats, lunges, and calf raises to improve their strength and balance.
Apart from your legs, the power and flexibility of your hips can make or break a pitch. Your hips are responsible for the movement of your body as you throw the ball. Make sure they’re flexible and strong by stretching your hip flexors. You may turn to yoga or other types of exercises that work best for your hips’ flexibility.
2. Make your body flexible
As is evident above, the flexibility of the different parts of your body is essential in helping you improve your throwing velocity. If you incorporate arm stretches and strengthening exercises into your fitness routine, your arm flexibility can vastly improve.
Try doing arm circles to stretch the muscles in your rotator cuff. Front stretches, where you bring one of your arms across your body and grasp the elbow with your other hand, also helps. These simple exercises not only make your arms more flexible but also lower the risk of injury from the sudden force of throws.
3. Monitor your development
When your body is fit and healthy, but you’re still not pitching as fast as you want, the best thing you can do is to focus on practicing and perfecting your technique—and to measure your development. Thankfully, tools like radar guns make it easy to track your progress.
By monitoring your development, you can immediately check to see how you did on the first pitch and do better on the next one. This is called “knowledge of results” and is a form of extrinsic feedback that enhances not just your technique but also your motivation. Knowing how you did on your first throw can encourage you to ramp up the intensity of your subsequent throws until you reach your maximum throwing velocity. Then, it’s up to constant training and practice to keep your pitch speed at that maximum level.
Being a baseball pitcher requires discipline, patience, and proper training. And if you want to be not just a baseball pitcher but a great baseball pitcher, one who’s known for pitching fastballs, then incorporating the tips above to your training regimen can help you achieve your goal.