Increase Your Velocity Immediately
No matter how much I push "learning how to pitch" or developing yourself as an all-around pitcher, most kids still really just want to know how to throw harder. So much goes into it and throwing extremely hard just isn't going to happen for every single person (I was never able to consistently throw harder than 89-91mph), but doing all the right things mechanically will put you in the best position to maximize the force your body can produce, thus increasing your velocity. Below are two quick "keys" to unlocking more of your velocity potential.
#1 - Keep your weight back longer
There's not a pitcher in the world that has never had a problem keeping their weight back. It's human nature to get excited to throw the ball and "rush" yourself to the plate hoping for big velocity numbers. It doesn't work like that! As a pitcher you must stay under control and not get ahead of yourself (i.e. allow your body to get in front of your arm, causing it to drag). When you "rush" your delivery and transfer your weight to your front side too soon you not only decrease your velocity potential, but you become more inconsistent with your location and put a lot of extra, unnecessary stress on your throwing arm.
The trick I tell guys is to see how long you can keep your back heel pressed into the ground during your delivery (you're not going to be able to keep it pressed into the ground for long, but it's the extra fraction of a second that makes a huge difference). This engages your power muscles and ensures you aren't jumping toward the plate prematurely. By staying back longer, you are collecting all that energy and saving all that force that is ultimately going to be put behind the baseball when you throw it.
#2 - Keep your fingers on top of the baseball
Keeping your fingers on top of the baseball is a direct result of staying back and staying on line with your delivery. If you're too excited with your delivery and start toward the plate too soon, the ball starts to rise on you. This is because your arm can't catch up and, often times, your fingers drift to the side of the ball upon release. Most pitchers battle this problem! By keeping your weight back, then making sure your fingers are on top of the baseball, you are putting yourself in a position to generate the most spin on the ball. That extra spin not only results in that "jump" some pitchers seem to be able to achieve, but also increases movement on every single one of your pitches. This is a phenomenon you can actually feel and see results from immediately. Every time you play catch, focus on having your fingers pull straight down through the ball upon release and generate as much backspin as possible. Once this becomes habit, you will notice your ball start to "take off" more consistently.
Much more goes into being a consistent hard-throwing pitcher than just these two things, however they are fundamentals you can continually work on. I encourage you to really "feel" yourself throughout the entire pitching process. Be aware of what your body is doing, how the ball is coming out of your hand, and where the ball is ending up. Work on things, ask questions, and never be satisfied!
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