Thursday, April 15, 2010

Long and Short Distance Pitching

Short Distance Pitching
Try pitching from a shorter distance when working on new pitches - like a change up. 

Players who are learning to switch pitch can work from a short distance using their non-dominant arm. Make sure to use the 4-seam grip and focus on throwing fastballs. Good pitching mechanics are essential so make sure to take lessons from an experienced pitching coach.

Pro players successfully use short distance throwing:

Roger Clemens' repertoire between starts includes a day of 35-40 pitches at 75-80% velocity.  The day after this workout, he throws a "short session" - throwing from 55 feet instead of 60' 6".  This helps Clemens to keep the ball down, and he feels this work transfers to his regular mound throwing. (

Long Distance Pitching

Just like playing long toss can strengthen the arm and improve accuracy, practicing "long pitching" can help pitchers to develop a stronger arm and more accurate throws. Try adding 10% extra to the normal pitching distance. Gradually increase the distance during the season.

A little league player who is used to throwing from 46 feet can practice from 50 to 54 feet. Practice pitching from the rubber and have the catcher move back a few feet behind the plate. If you don't have a catcher, then practice throwing at a small target.

A Bronco division player in the PONY league who normally throws from 48 feet can practice pitching from 54'

A PONY division pitcher who throws from 54 feet in games can work from the full 60'6" in practice.

Focus primarily on ball location and movement.  The velocity will increase over time.

Players on my team who practice "long pitching" say that it feels easy now to throw strikes from their normal pitching distance.

Have fun practicing

In the old days, kids would throw at a wall or steps and field the ground ball as it came back. This way they could work on both throwing and fielding skills.

My son likes to throw at a target, so he sets up a row of three plastic water bottles on the backstop and sees how many throws it takes to knock them all down. Try setting up a baseball or softball on a batting tee and see if you can knock it off in five throws. Make a game of it and challenge another player.

Remember, pitching a baseball is fun. Challenging yourself to find out just how good you can be is what makes it fun. In the end, that's what life is all about – finding out just how good you can be at whatever it is you love to do. - Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

Baseball Pitching Drills

Pitchers Long Toss

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