It’s not all about velocity, muscle, what have you. It’s more about location—control—keeping the batters off balance, getting them to go after the pitches you WANT them to hit. I was a finesse pitcher in my playing days, not much on speed but with a good arsenal of breaking and offspeed pitches and the control and command to go with it, and what I specialized in was deception and misdirection, confusing and discombooberating the hitters and making them hit my pitches—if they could. It was all about strategic pitching.
If you want to get more power behind your pitches, here’s a secret for you. In fact, that was what I called it—“The Secret”. I learned it a long time ago, watching the Yankees’ Big Three rotation in action and seeing how they did it. They were all doing the same thing—driving off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous motion, and not only did they generate more power but also take a lot of pressure off the arm and shoulder so they could throw harder (and faster) with less effort. I saw how they were doing it, and I started working on it on my own, and although I didn’t exactly pick up a lot of speed I found that I too could throw harder with less effort. I even picked up an 81-mile-an-hour pitch that I called my “whoops” pitch and my pitching coach called a good little four-seamer. And, yes, I threw harder with less effort.
A good place to start is with what is known as the “Hershiser” drill, which aims at getting the hips fully involved. this is the real key to a pitcher’s power; the hips are the connection between the lower and upper halves of the body. Once you get that connection, you’ll find that there’s a continuous flow of energy all the way through the body to the shoulder and the arm, and you may even find yourself picking up some speed. And don’t worry about muscle; what you want is flexibility as well as strength, and doing a lot of throwing will accomplish this—many pitching coaches will advise “Throw every day”. Do it, whether it be just a game of catch for sisteen or twenty minutes or a full bullpen session.
And then get out there and get those batters out! 8)