Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Looking at Arm Action
To create maximum arm speed and focus on the pitcher circling the upper arm during the throwing motion.
The drill starts with a flipper, pitcher, and catcher. The flipper will stand parallel to the pitcher, while the catcher assumes his normal stance behind home plate. In fact, the catcher can set up at any distance from the mound, depending on the situation. The pitcher will begin his delivery on the mound without a ball in his glove. After the pitcher reaches his balance point, the flipper, who is standing parallel to the rubber, flips the pitcher a ball to throw. The flipper should be down on one knee, so the ball is tossed low to the pitcher right after the hand break. The pitcher will catch the ball with his throwing hand. After catching the ball, the pitcher will focus on moving his upper-arm in a complete circle. With the flipper tossing the ball low after hand break, it helps the pitcher complete a full circle with the upper arm. The pitcher should try to move his arm as fast as possible. Of course, at first, the pitcher will have to move slowly during the delivery in order to catch, circle, and throw. After mastery of the drill, the pitcher should concentrate on moving as fast as possible with the lower body as well as their arm. The pitchers should throw in sets of eight. Each set should start out with two outside fastballs. After eight pitches, the pitcher becomes the catcher. The catcher becomes the flipper and the flipper becomes the pitcher. The pitchers can work this rotation for 5-10 minutes, measuring arm speed by their momentum during finish after ball release. Good arm speed will almost pull the pitcher to face the 1st baseman when released. The pitcher, who is flipping, can advise the pitcher on what his arm action looks like upon release. The pitcher’s partner should pay attention to the upper arm circle, wrist action, and forward momentum. All these factors contribute to proper and healthy arm action.
This drill focuses on the action of the arm when the pitcher is just reacting to the ball. When an infielder fields the ball, a runner is sprinting down the baseline; he must react by throwing the ball as fast and hard as possible. If the infielder stops to control his stride, arm position, and momentum he will never be able to throw the runner out at first base. This drill puts the pitcher in a similar situation. They are moving forward toward the plate. The flipped ball causes the pitcher to react like an infielder, which has just had the ball hit to him. Also, the flipped ball forces the pitcher to speed his arm up to throw a strike. If the pitcher’s arm doesn’t speed up his moving body will not allow him to throw where the target is set up. Hopefully, this drill will help pitchers establish position player throwing mechanics on the mound.
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