Is overhand throwing natural?


I’m planning on writing an article about this topic in the near future, but I’d love to get a discuss going on this topic prior to doing so.

My opinion is that throwing is a natural activity(long toss, javelin, etc), however I believe pitching off a mound is an unnatural for the body to go through.

When I refer to throwing I’m referring to overhand throwing such as throwing a baseball, javelin, etc.

I have more thoughts to add about my side of this debate(hopefully a debate) and they will be included in the article I write later.

Give your thoughts, articles, studies, or anything else that you view as relevant to this topic!

I’m also curious to hear whether people view pitching and throwing(overhand) as a unnatural activity or just pitching or neither or whatever.

I can’t wait to hear all of your thoughts!


For some people it may be natural. For others, not so much. Actually, I may not be the right person to ask about this, because my natural delivery was sidearm and I always threw that way.
I have always believed that a pitcher has to find his/her own arm angle, whatever is comfortable and enables him/her to pitch effectively. However, I take exception, and vehemently so, with those—uh—coaches, managers and suchlike who insist that over the top is the only way to go and who will not listen to anything else! :x :shock:


I take it we are talking about overhand vs. underhand, not arm slot.

Yes, I believe overhand throwing is natural and can probably be traced back to cavemen throwing rocks at prey for food or protection.
Additionally throwing with intent, while may or not be natural, has always been there. The intent to throw hard. You simply ain’t killing prey by throwing soft.
As far as pitching goes, while it may be a natural motion of the throw or an enhanced one to boost velocity, I believe it remains the toughest position in sports. Toughest to master, toughest to maintain, and toughest to compete.
God I love the game.


I think the most natural form of throwing we see in sports is the javelin throw.

I’d love to see them throw baseballs instead of javelins. I think that’s be a extremely entertaining event.


It has to be. God made man, man threw a baseball.

After all, it says in the bible begins with Ïn the BigInning…

Sorry, I had to joke.

I think it is a natural motion for us to want to do, but it is an extremely stressful one on the body.


Just my drop in on the subject at hand:

Any doctor I’ve spoken to at length says throwing overhand is the most unnatural and stressful throwing motion, the general consensus was that “we were not designed to repeat multiple overhand throws at such a high intensity in regards to high velocity throwers.” I’m paraphrasing and going from memory.

Now keep in mind this was all just conversations during consultations while I was injured and all I wanted to do was get healthy again and get back on the bump.


Wales—every stick-in-the-mud coach should be required to read this. You and the doctors you spoke to are absolutely right. There have been too many pitchers who threw overhand until their arms fell off—like Don Newcombe, who was pitching in the third playoff Giants-Dodgers game in 1951 and complained that his arm was falling off and nobody listened to him. 8)


But are doctors talking about pitching off a mound or throwing in general.

I would agree that throwing off a mound is unnatural because you are using your body’s complete natural monumentum, but if you were saying throwing a spear, javelin, long tossing, etc. you can get your full body into the throw.

But more so what your doctor’s said, I would agree the many many throws is unnatural.

Let me pose this question: Is running, jumping, random changes of direction(agility) natural? You hear of people getting knee joints messed up all the time.

Pitchers do get injured a lot more, but you could argue that any movement that is repeated at a high intensity over a long time is stressful and injury riskful for the body to endure. I don’t know know if that necessarily makes that particular action ‘unnatural.’

I know what you are talking about Wales because my dad has always said the same thing


Repeating the pitching motion over 100 times a game may not be a completely healthy movement and subject pitchers to the chance of injury. However the motion of over hand throwing is IMO a natural one.
As far as injury is concerned, is the goal to avoid injury? Sure. But injuries happen in all sports. Especially when a player give his max effort repeatedly over the course of a game as pitchers are trained to do.
The queztion fhen becomes do you sacrifice velocity and intent to prevent injury. My opinion is no. If its worth doing, then it must be done right and that includes max effort.


You guys may be interested in something I found out recently about Detroit Tigers pitcher Tom Gorzelanny. This late-inning reliever recently converted from overhand to sidearm; he did this because, one, he wanted to, and second, because the Tigers wanted him to. He had been having all sorts of problems with the overhand delivery, and he quickly found out that not only was the sidearm delivery easier on his arm and shoulder but also that he became a more effective pitcher as a result.