Drills for throwing "through" the ball

Hey guys Im in need of some help with my throwing. I just got done playing my first year playing minor league ball and am getting back into throwing after taking a few weeks off. One of the things my coaches were working on when i got to my pro ball team was to focus on throwing “through” the baseball, instead of throwing “around” it.

Im not sure how to work on this and its frustrating me because i can feel myself throwing the ball and it feels like im throwing a cutter or im cutting the ball when i release it.

Need some help because i feel like this is cutting off some of my velo and control.

Another subject, not relating to throwing “through” the ball, was that they were also working with me on tilting my shoulders up more to:

  1. get some more downward angle on my ball and
  2. to help my throwing elbow from getting up pass my shoulder and doing the “inverted W”.

If tilting my shoulders would help prevent the inverted W, can someone explain to me why it helps and also some drills to work on for this too.

Thanks i appreciate the input.

Cards25:

I would start at the end of your delivery and associate a “Feel” of getting through the ball. Most guys will feel a pinch around the front hip, but that’s not everyone.

I will try and post a link later.

Are you referring to “High Elbows” or inverted W? You said getting up past the shoulders and it threw me off.

ya what i meant about the inverted W is that both my elbows get above my shoulders

I could see how tilted shoulders could serve a role in high elbows but 99% of the time in my experience that’s a lower body issue.

It occurs because the hips open too soon and forces energy vertically, hence high elbows. That’s a very simple way to say it.

Ok that does make sense, which actually makes me happy to know that i could fix this and put more energy toward the plate.

how do i fix that problem?

http://www.letstalkpitching.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=17067

I think these will get you started.

thanks i appreciate the post ill definately take a look at that thread.

Any suggestions on how i can work on throwing “through” the ball?

First off, glad to see someone whose made it so far who understands the importance of constant improvement. That said, you’re at a pretty high level for them to be doing so much tinkering - were you specifically having issues with control/command and velocity?

On the one hand, it’s nice to see minor league coaches actually taking the time to understand mechanics and work with pitchers on things that could help them maximize performance. In general, I think too many organizations take a hands-off approach and just assume a pitcher throws the way he throws and don’t mess with it.

But on the other hand, they liked you enough based on they way you currently throw to sign you to a contract. Maybe some of that cutting action is what’s made you successful to thing point? So I guess I would just be careful about making radical changes, but it’s tough to really give to much input without actually seeing a video.

Regarding drills to work on throwing “through” the ball, there’s one drill I’ve found to be helpful with this, will paste it below. The focus of the drill is on good arm extension and pronation. I don’t use this drill with everyone, but If you’re cutting the ball or getting around it and specifically want to work on “getting through” the ball then these pronation drills could be helpful.

I fixed it for you :wink:

Thanks! :smiley:

Phil,

After a players first season, pitching mechanics (and mechanics for hitters) will go through an overhaul, some adjusting here some tinkering there.

Especially in certain organizations, and guessing by this poster’s screen name especially in his organization.

They saw something in said player, which is why they take a chance on said player, and now are trying to cultivate it and bring it to fruition.

Phil,

Thanks for sharing the video! One question though: I notice your hips stay fixed. Do you think that part of throwing through the ball encompasses the hips “rotating through” or around the front hip?

I think a big part of rotating through the ball is the back hip rotating around the front hip. The drill I see you doing keeps the hips open but not rotating through and/or around the front hip.

What’s your intent behind the drill?

Just a thought and would like to hear your opinion.

Thanks again for the drill!

Thanks, no I totally agree, hip rotation is key for a powerful pitching delivery. And I really like the drills you’ve posted that focus on training pitchers to use their hips the right way.

This is one is very specific drill that focuses more on arm action and pronation. It essentially forces the hips into an exaggerated open position which causes the pitcher to pronate earlier than he normally would.

It sounds to me based on what he’s described his issue is more about hand position at ball release. I could be misinterpreting, but that’s what it sounds like.

Again, I don’t use it very often, but for someone who has a tendency to get around the ball, this can be a useful drill for giving the pitcher the feel for staying behind the ball.

Gotcha. Thanks for the kind words.

Again, thanks for sharing the drill!

Thanks for the replies and videos, they are great tools. And actually my coaches on my team introduced that drill on your video Phil and now i do it during my warm ups. Maybe ill just have to focus on it a bit more.

And yes to reply to your last post Phil, my issue is towards releasing the ball, it just feels to me that im throwing around the ball, and i feel it is a hand position issue like you were saying.

My goal for improving myself to throw “through” the baseball is not just for improving my accuracy/control, in fact i felt one of the reasons why i did get picked up is because i have very good control with all my pitches, now i want to work on “commanding” my pitches, and i feel if i cant control my hand at release point, then what suffers the most for me are my secondary pitches such as my changeup, 2 seam, and slider.

And this is a big issue in my mind because i have been trying to get that consistent run on my 2 seam, and consistent fade/drop on my changeup, but with my hand wanting to throw “around” the ball, you can see that its just going to end up doing the opposite of what i want it to do, which is it will cut.

The slider is affected by my throwing “around” the ball because sometimes it doesnt get that tight spin, which you might be able to see why because if i already have my hand position at a cutting angle, now i want to get more spin on the ball, which causes me to throw “around” the ball even more, and if you “try” to put spin on the ball, it usually comes out flat and ends up over the fence.

On my other topic, it does make sense to me when baseballthinktank posted that my energy is being converted vertically throughout my body rather than used to develop energy toward the plate, which is causing my elbows to lift above my shoulders. ive actually started using the hershiser drill to get a better drive line going and more energy toward the plate rather than energy going up.

Im trying to focus on increasing my velocity this offseason (which EVERYONE wants to do if you dont throw 100 mph already), and im a pitcher that relies alot on control/movement being an 87-90mph guy at this point, but if i can get a boost up to 92-94, then i might be something to look for down the road. and every little thing helps, if throwing through the ball gets me an extra 1 mph and using my energy more effectively gets me another 1 mph, then im well on my way to getting to my goal by spring.

I appreciate everyones input and every bit is making me better and everyone else on this forum better.

keep posting

Sure thing, Cards25, happy to offer my 2 cents and interesting to hear your coaches had introduced you to that drill. I think that’s a good idea for you to keep working on that in your warmups, focusing on staying through the ball.

It should help you develop the right feel as long as you’re working on staying behind the ball vs coming around if. As with any big mechanical adjustment it takes a lot of reps to develop new muscle memory, so keep at it.

I hear you about control vs. command, and you’re right on. The movement on your pitches is all about how the ball leaves your fingers. It took me a long time to develop movement on my two-seamer and change-up. I didn’t cut the ball, but I was almost too much behind it, making my fastball straight as an arrow. But the good news for you is it definitely can be done. Eventually I was able to get the right feel and my 2 seamer and changeup turned into very good pitches for me.

One of the biggest things I found to help was playing around with finger pressure and different ways of holding my fastball. With my 2 seamer I started thinking about almost hooking that inside seam with index finger, being really strong and firm with that finger. It took a while to develop the feel, but once I got it I found I could really get good hard sinking/tailing action on my 2 seamer.

The other thing I’d be curious about is your stride direction. In my experience, guys who tend to throw around the ball often stride across their body (towards 3rd as a righty). If that happens to be something you do, you might be able to fix the “throwing around the ball” issue by just straightening out your stride.

Which brings me to aother thing I used to play around with - my stride direction. I found that if I worked to stride a few inches more towards 1st base I would pronate earlier and get better sink/tail. But this isn’t something I like to recommend too much because it can also lead to flying open early, and you ideally want to be consistent with your delivery.

And you’re exactly right about not wanting to really manipulate or actively trying to put spin on it. I think what can help is holding a baseball with the grip you want, with your hand/wrist in the position you want at ball release. Then try to visualize throwing the ball with the ball leaving your fingers in that position. Once you can get that clear image, work on throwing it that way.

Sorry if I was too long winded there. Hope its helpful.

Oh, and on the topic of getting more linear power and moving more explosively towards home plate… if you’re in the cards organization, watch Trevor Rosenthal pitch. I hadn’t had a chance to really see him before the playoffs, but that guy is a beast. Watch how he sort of sinks coming out of his leg (not collapsing his back leg, but getting his center of gravity low as he moves fwd), and really explodes towards home plate.

Ya Rosenthal is a beast. His motion is pretty deceptive on TV cuz when you watch him pitch on TV, it looks like he just collapses down on his leg, but really what he’s doing is loading up on that leg as he is moving further down the mound to get more power behind that 100 mph heat he has.

Can you elaborate a little bit on what you mean by the finger pressure to get your pitches to sink/dive? ive been experimenting a little with finger pressure too and if i can get the feeling right it does work, just not consistent at the moment.

Also im interested in your topic about changing your landing foot position to a more open landing to get your hand to pronate quicker.

You are right about my stride though, I do have a bit of a closed stride when i pitch. Do you think that may be a factor of my hand position coming around the ball?

got any drills on working on that or is it just drawing a line down the rubber and see where your foot lands?

As far as the the finger pressure I was talking about, much easier to actually show you than it is to explain. Maybe I’ll be able to put together a quick video sometime. In the meantime, I basically tried to look at it the way I did my curveball or slider grip, but in reverse.

With your breaking pitches, your middle finger does all the work. On my curve I would place my middle finger right on the inside of that outter seam, really applying pressure against that seam, and then just let my index finger rest on the ball naturally.

So I started taking that same approach with my 2 seamer. To get it to come more off my index finger, I’d get the grip by getting my index finger into position first, getting it right up against the inside seam, then just letting my middle finger lay naturally on the ball. To me it felt sort of like I was hooking that inside seam with my index finger. And then I just threw it like my 4 seamer, whatever extra pronation or “turning the ball over” happened just happened naturally as a result of the grip and the finger pressure.

That’s good that you’re starting to get the feel though, even if it’s not consistent yet. It will come.

And if you’re striding across your body, then yes, I think there’s a very high likelihood that if you straighten that out it could fix your “throwing around the ball” problem. There are a lot of drills you can do to work on that, including drills where you pre-set your stride position, putting down some kind of marker like a baseball hat where your foot normally comes down and work on landing to the left of it. But in addition to those drills or just drawing a line like you mentioned, you might consider building a balance board.

Since noones’s mentioned it yet, there’s always the tactic of throwing a ball with a black stripe around the middle and trying to throw through the ball to keep the stripe from wobbling.

Cards25, any chance you can post some video? PhilR mentioned stride direction and I think that alludes to the fact that there could be other contributors to issues you may be having.

By the way, tilting the shoulders to raise your release point and create downward plane will also pull the release point back which is generally a weaker position from which to impart spin on the ball. So, if you’re looking for more “bite” on your slider, shoulder tilt might make that more difficult.