10 Legitimate Tips To Pitching Velocity
by Brent Pourciau · December 1, 2008
There are hundreds of Pitching Tips for Baseball on the web titled something similar to this article, but most of them are worthless, because they focus mainly on upper body mechanics as the means to developing velocity. Any hard thrower will tell you, there is a lot more to pitching velocity than just your arm. If you want to see significant gains in pitching velocity then read all of these key Baseball Tips on Pitching and the articles linked to it. The only way you are going to see improvements, is if you develop a good understanding of how pitching velocity is generated in hard throwing pitchers.
Remember you are bound by nothing. You have the ability to throw 90+ mph. Doctors told me I would not be able to and I proved them wrong. These tips will help you do the same.
Tips for Improving Pitching Velocity
1. Change speeds.
This should always be your first step in developing velocity because there is no risk involved. This creates an illusion of velocity. By changing the speed of your pitches this will throw the hitter’s timing off and can make a 70 mph fastball look like a 90 mph fastball. Pitchers like Trevor Hoffman have made long major league careers off of this one tip. He is a master of the fastball change up combination. Use this tip for immediate effect while you work on the other velocity tips.
2. Pitch from the ground up.
We all make the mistake at a very young age, that to throw a baseball only takes the arm to perform the task. Then as we grow bigger and move up levels in the game, we find ourselves continuing to only use our shoulders and arms to throw the ball. This is a major problem. This is why we still have an incredible amount of shoulder injuries in the game. You must change your perspective. You must teach your body to recruit bigger muscle groups when you demand more velocity from your delivery. This begins in learning to pitch from the ground up. Velocity comes from forces added to the ball. These forces come from momentum in your lift leg and your push off the ground. You then must learn to transfer these forces into the ball. This can be learned through the Ace Pitcher 6 Components of Pitching. View the Handbook with these components at the bottom.
This video talks more about the throwing mistakes we make at a young age.
3. Loading your weight back until launch.
Timing and efficiency of weight transfer, during delivery, is the essence of velocity. This is where velocity lives. Most young pitchers do not load at all. Once they lift their leg they fall towards the target. This causes poor velocity and arm injury. Read my article “Lift for Show, Load for Doe” to understand “The Load” position.
4. Building Core Torque.
The most important component of velocity, is building majority torque in the core. The core is the area from just above the knees to just below the chest. This area contains the strongest muscles in your body. So it makes sense that you should use this part of the body to generate velocity. If the core is not mainly used to build torque, then the shoulder and elbow will be forced to hold the torque needed to generate velocity. To learn more about “Separation” or the importance of building core torque, read the article “Pitching Torque and the 3 pivots” and also watch this video.
5. Create more Elastic Energy.
Once you have built core torque and your weight is still back, rotate and thrust your chest forward while your arm externally rotates behind your head. This stretching of the stomach and shoulder is creating elastic energy in your body. The more relaxed you are, the more elastic energy can be created. To learn more about this read the article, “Pitch Velocity = Elastic energy.”
6. Momentum transfer.
What is the benefit of creating momentum when you can not control or transfer the momentum to the ball? The problem with coaching someone on how to generate more momentum when pitching is that they have no idea how to control it and they get worse before they get better. This is why proper momentum transfer is essential for good velocity. If you leave any momentum in your body, then you have left some velocity behind. The Ace Pitcher component of “Stabilization” describes how this momentum transfer must occur.
7. Early elbow extension and Internal Rotation.
Most throwers believe that if they pull their arms down at release then this will generate more velocity. The opposite is true. High velocity pitchers release the ball earlier than low velocity pitchers after external rotation of the throwing arm. Which happens after momentum transfer when their chest is out over their toes and their arms are externally rotated. This means after your body has done its job you must release the ball as quickly as possible by allowing your elbow to extend up and away from your head. You must also begin internally rotating your arm, as soon as your elbow extends, so you can release the pitch with your thumb pronated down. This will protect your arm during the deceleration phase. Read the article “Pulling down is slowing down” to learn more.
8. Refuel your ATP.
ATP is the main source of energy for all muscle contraction. There are several chemical reactions that take place to produce ATP. When a muscle is used, a chemical reaction breaks down ATP to produce energy. There is only enough ATP stored in the muscle cell for two or three slow twitch contractions, or one burst of power from a fast twitch contraction. More ATP must be created.
To understand rest between throwing a pitch, first you must understand what happens during the delivery of the pitch. Initially your muscles use ATP to power the contractions but the levels of ATP available are limited. The cells have a very limited ability to replenish ATP during the activity before having to switch to other methods to fuel the activity.
Fortunately, your body can replenish ATP when you are resting. About 50% or half of the depleted ATP is replaced after one minute of total rest. Almost all of the ATP that the body can replenish (just over 95%) is restored after about three minutes of rest. I know pitchers can not wait that long between pitches, but the longer you can wait, the better opportunity to develope more velocity.
9. Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber.
A proper strength and conditioning regime like the Ace Pitcher Handbook, is based around developing fast twitch muscle fiber. This is important for velocity, because when adding a little more velocity to a pitch, you must recruit more muscle fiber within your muscular system to make this happen. We have already talked about where that muscle fiber should come from, now you need to learn how to develop more muscle fiber in the correct places of your system. Spending most of your time in the weight room sitting on cushioned machines, isn’t the answer. Start with the “Beginner Pitching Workout” and then you can move to the “Fusion System” in the Ace Pitcher Handbook at the bottom.
10. Speed your recovery.
By speeding your recovery time between starts or appearances you are making sure you never enter a game at less than 100% recovery. If your system is completely rebuilt and replenished, this is a better chance you will have the ability to generate top velocity. This is why it is important to keep a strict routine of a good strength training and conditioning program, along with a balanced alkaline based diet. You need to learn about alkaline based foods. These are green vegetables and more, which help restore the PH levels in your system. When your system becomes very acidic, you do not recovery as quickly. Diet is extremely important to recovery. Read this article on “Pitching Nutrition and Supplements” and start eating more alkaline foods from this chart.
Bonus tip: Lay off your arm.
Stop wearing your arm out. It takes enough abuse on the mound. You need to make sure your strength training program isolates the core and legs more than the shoulders and arms. If your arm is constantly sore and tired, it is because you use it to much. Try changing habits, like brushing your teeth with your non-pitching arm and do not arm wrestle your roommates with your pitching arm. Take care of yourself and it will take care of you.
I understand each one of these pitching velocity tips did not go into much detail. The purpose of this article was to give you some guidance for developing efficient and effective velocity, without sacrificing the body in return. If you would like more detail on any one of these tips, then sign up for the FREE newsletter up top and start reading the articles. If you are really serious about pitching then purchase the Ace Pitcher Handbook to take control of your career. Best of luck!
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