Every pitcher has a natural arm angle that is comfortable and gives them the best balance and mechanics. Only a few pitchers actually throw over the top - as some volunteer coaches try to teach. Many young ball players have a natural 3/4 arm slot and some are more comfortable throwing sidearm. Most players will experiment throwing from different arm angles - especially after watching major league pitchers.
A switch pitcher often will have a slightly different arm angle from each side, depending on the shoulder tilt. As a college pitcher, Pat Venditte threw from a 3/4 slot right-handed, but threw sidearm left-handed.
Expert pitching coach Dr. John Bagonzi gives suggestions on how to test a players natural arm angle.
THE MATTER OF ARM ANGLES
by Dr. John Bagonzi
When correlation are made between velocity and mechanics, the one area that often gets overlooked is arm angles. Throwing from the correct arm slot can often mean increases in velocity, movement, and improvement in control particularly for someone who has his mechanics reasonably developed. Read more
How to determine the correct arm slot.
Try the following throwing drill:
- Go to center field.
- Line up about 5 baseballs (horizontally) on the ground.
- Have each player get behind a ball.
- Take a short run to scoop up the ball.
- Take a running step or crow-hop.
- Throw to a catcher (or target) at home plate on the fly.
- Repeat a few times.
Take note of the arm angle that each player uses to get the ball to the plate using their best throw. Talk with each player about their optimum arm angle for making accurate throws.