Let’s take a guess at what’s happening in your life right now. Did you get suckered into joining your company’s softball team? Or maybe you inadvertently signed up to coach your kid’s little league? Either way, in the era of dad, you’re suddenly remembering you’re not 20 years old anymore.
So, you’re asking yourself (read: The internet) how to throw a baseball harder. You know, as you did in the good ol’ days…whilst not immediately landing yourself on the injured reserve list. First, we’d like to leave you with one seriously important note: Accuracy is far more important than speed. Think of all the famous first pitches you’ve seen over the years. The ones that stick out the most are the ones that were lobbed twelve feet to the right of the pitcher. Not the ones that simply fell short.
However, if strength and speed are what you’re looking for, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you ace your triumphant return to throwing a baseball.
Starting your pre-game with a laid back, steadily increasing game of catch is the key here. You need to warm up your arm before you go balls to the wall during the game.
We get it. The last thing you want to do when you hit the gym is to spend 15 minutes doing a brisk walk on the treadmill. In that same light, the last thing you want to be seen doing is lackadaisical tossing around the ball pre-game. But, my dude, you’re going to have to do it. You’ve seen plenty of shots of million-dollar pitchers warming up in the bullpen.
Work On Your Form
Wanna end up in the hospital with a strained or torn rotator cuff? Nope. Just like when you’re playing golf with the boys, tossing a baseball is all about form, too. From where you place your feet to how you hold your shoulders, everything matters. Having the best posture and form will make a ton of difference in what kind of velocity you put into that pitch. Thumb placement is also very important. Instead of exerting extra energy to get your ball further or harder, you can just make sure your thumb isn’t on the ball. You lose one to two miles per hours when it’s there during the throw.
Pay Attention To The Release
There’s a ton of things to think about as you rock back and then push forward with your pitch. Once you perfect your posture, though, think about how you’re standing and when you’re releasing the ball. As the coach mentioned above, you pitch with your whole body and not just your arm. Moving your body behind the ball will give it more push forward. Furthermore, noting where you’re letting go of the ball is also important. If you release the ball too far back, you’re not giving the full push behind it and if you release it too late, you’re pushing the ball downward.
Run Some Drills
You’re already telling your kids how important it is to practice, practice, practice, right? Same goes for you, Pops. Drills are the absolute best way to perfect your form, keep your muscles warm, loose and, of course, increase the strength and speed of your pitch.
You Go Pro Baseball has ten easy, popular pitching drills to try. Our suggestion: Do several sets of 2 to 3 of these each night of the week. It shouldn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes but over time will greatly improve your pitch and reduce your chance of having do visit Dr. James Andrews.
Work Out Your Legs
You might be thinking that this advice is entirely contrary to your goal. You want to throw harder — what does that have to do with your legs? A lot, actually. Some of the most powerful MLB pitchers rely on their strong glutes and quads to drive the force of their pitch. Or, as one study sums it up, “Leg drive influences arm velocity.” So make sure you’re giving your legs just as much attention as your arms. Your lower body like your hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes are the backbone of your force. So throw smarter, not harder and allow your lower body to transfer that power, which can make your throw more efficient.
Listen to Your Body
This one seems like an obvious tip but it should still be stressed: If you’re injured, sore, or have chronic arm or shoulder pain, do yourself a favor and sit this one out. The last thing you want is to irritate an old injury and spend the next few days icing up that shoulder. It’s better to miss a game here or there instead of the whole season.