Drills for throwing "through" the ball

Good point about using a ball with a stripe on it. Have never used that, but could see how that could be helpful.

But not sure I agree with the idea of shoulder tilt having a negative impact on breaking pitches. Here are some photos of guys who demonstrate big shoulder tilt, all have/had pretty good bite on their pitches.

Some great discussion in here!


I think Phil R gave some really good advice and I would like to expand a little more on those thoughts.

Here’s what I think:

Most pitchers struggle because they can’t feel the difference between a ball or a strike. They can’t feel the differnence between cutting the ball or pronating the ball.

I think the biggest mistake most pitchers make is to look for the answers by changing mechanics. They believe, change the mechanics and I will change the release point.

Personally, I think it’s backwards.

Let’s start with this question:

  1. Do you play basketball?
  2. if so, can you tell the difference out of the hand if the ball is in the basket, is it short or is it a brick?
  3. How do you know? reps for sure, but what about immediate feedback? In basketball there is no grey area, it’s either in or out.

That would be my recommendation for you. Make it more like basketball and here’s how you do it.

I’m getting ready to give you some advice that most pitching coaches would cringe at the mere idea of it.

  1. I want you to practice missing bad. Identify the middle of the plate (clear goal) and start by cutting the ball. Narrow your focus down to a feel with the finger, wrist position, it doesn’t matter.

Feel the bad and be able to identify it.

  1. Go the opposite side of the middle (pronation) after every throw, ask yourself what do you feel. Again, narrow the focus down to finger pressure, wrist angles, etc… It doesn’t matter as long as you have a narrow focus.

  2. Through the trial and error and immediate feedback you will begin to narrow down the possibilities and reduce the chances of failing, as long as you have specific intent and focus with each throw.

Next step:

Close your eyes and repeat the process.

Next step:

shoot for the middle and as soon as the ball leaves the hand, try and identify where you think the ball will finish. (eyes closed)

If you think the ball is IN, yell IN, if you think its OUt, yell Out

If you think it left the hand and will finish middle, don’t say anything. Begin to chart and see how you do. Pretty soon the release point will begin to change your mechanics and make it’s own adjustments.

I’m a big believer in feel and bridging the gap between what you see and feel. You just can’t rely on video or others feedback, you have to feel it.

Afterall, we make decisions every day based on senses other than sight.

Guys this is some awesome feedback and i am trying everything you guys are posting and everything that i feel is good for me i take away.

Roger: ill try to get a video up

ThinkTank: You have some great input and advice, I totally agree with that my throwing “around” the ball is a feel thing rather than something mechanical. I believe that ive been throwing around the ball so long unconsciously that its muscle memory now.

I do like to think that I have a great feel for my body ( more than most pitchers I know) where i can feel if my body is out of wack, especially my arm.

BTW: off topic, but i wanted to correct a statement i made, my high elbows issue that i wanted to fix was something that I brought up to my coaches in pro ball, because I saw video of myself and pictures (in a local newspaper) that showed me with both my elbows above my shoulders, which i didnt like because i dont want to hurt my shoulder ( i got one shot at this baseball gig).

Right now, i am very aware of my hand position when it comes around the ball, thats partly why it frustrates me so much to post a topic about this on the forum, because i can feel it happening but didnt know how to fix it.

Ill have to try the closed eyes drills and starting focusing on over emphasizing hand pronation, so hopefully if i get a good feel for that i can bring it into the game.

An update on the finger pressure Phil, i threw today working on finger pressure and i found it a little easier to put more pressure on my index finger when i throw my changeup, but still have a tough time with the 2 seam.
I think it might be because on my change up, my index finger is already on the side of the ball and when i use my index finger more, it moves my hand into a faster pronation, getting good run. My 2 seam i think its harder for me cuz my index finger is more on the ball than my changeup grip.
I hope that makes sense ha

Cards25, that’s great you’re starting to get the feel on the changeup. As far as the 2 seamer, one thing I did that helped was changing my grip - instead of going with the seams with my fingers lining up with the seams at the skinniest part, I slid my finger position down a little to grip it over the part where the two loops come together. does that make sense? tough explaining, I really should just post a photo.

Anyway, its essentially the same pitch, still a 2 seamer, but I felt I could then grab onto that inside seam better which allowed me to get through it better and have it come off my index finger more. Sometimes just changing the grip can give you a different feel and make it easier to make these kinds of changes.

Great you’re able to feel what you’re doing though, and I agree ThinkTank’s recommendations make sense. I struggled with my 2 seamer for a long time, but one thing that helped was playing light catch where I exaggerated turning the ball over. Not the way you really want to throw the ball, but it helped me get the feel for how I wanted the ball to leave my hand. Then you can ratchet it back and throw with your normal action but maintain the feel for getting through it with your index finger.

hope this helps, keep us up on your progress.

Those pictures show guys with shoulder tilt prior to shoulder rotation. For me, the topic of shoulder tilt pertains to the position of the shoulders after shoulder rotation. So this begs the question, what is Card25 referring to?

BTW, I wasn’t trying to imply you can’t throw a good breaking ball with shoulder tilt, just that it might be more difficult. Certainly there are guys that do it (can you say “Tim Lincecum”?). Sports Illustrated ran an article about a 3D Doppler radar system used to track not only ball speed but also ball spin. They were able to correlate higher ball spin with release points that were further out front. And they correlated these with better performance. Of course, these are generalizations and there are always exceptions. PM me your email address and I’ll send you a copy of the article in HTML format.


You have a PM

Roger, thanks for clarifying. Yes I was under the impression Cards25 was referring to shoulder tilt in the stride phase. Think I know the article you’re referring too, is definitely interesting stuff. I know they correlated higher fastball spin with being further out front, but did curveball spin rates also correlate to being further out front? may have, I just don’t remember seeing that.

I’ll PM you my email, thanks again for clarifying.