I've lost my throw

Here’s my story. Please bear with me…I’m not sure how much of this is pertinent, but I want to give as much information as possible.

I played baseball up until 7th grade. I never had a great arm but I was always pretty accurate. From 8th grade on, I kind of lost interest… In 11th grade I took up track and ended up becoming a pretty decent shot putter (9th in state my senior year). I mention this because some people have suggested this could have messed up my throwing. I basically didn’t touch a baseball from 7th grade until just recently. I’m now 32 years old, so we’re talking a twenty year hiatus.

My son has just started T-Ball, and through him I’m rediscovering my love for baseball again. I’m also helping coach his team and plan to be as involved as possible for as long as he (and his younger brother and sister) stays with it. All the stuff I learned as a kid is coming back to me. The problem is, I can’t throw. My motion is awkward and my mechanics are all out of whack. I’m just as likely to sail one over someone’s head or pitch it into the dirt as smack it right into their glove. This is fine for T-Ball, but definitely won’t cut it as my kids get older and are competing at higher levels and are looking to me to work with them. A baseball coach needs to be able to throw a baseball. I’d also love to join a softball team, but don’t want to embarrass myself. I was always an excellent fielder and hitter, and don’t seem to have lost much in those areas, but my throwing is a disaster.

I’ve been dealing with this for months now and I’ve discovered a few things. If I shorten my motion and throw almost right from my ear, I can control it a lot better. Of course this limits how hard I can throw. The harder I try to throw (i.e., with more velocity), the less control I have. I tend to release the ball late and throw it into the dirt. When I try to compensate, I release the ball too early. For some reason, I have much less trouble with long throws. For instance, I’d be more accurate from left field than I would from second base. When I’m throwing for distance, everything kind of loosens up and feels natural and the ball goes right where it’s supposed to. Weird, huh?

I should also mention that I went through the same thing about a year ago with throwing a football. Through hours and hours of practice and some helpful tips from friends, I was able to get a handle on it and now I can throw a football pretty well. I seem to be struggling more with the baseball, but I haven’t lost hope yet.

I’ve studied everything I can find on throwing mechanics, and could probably tell you more than a lot of little league coaches about proper technique. I just can’t seem to put it all together and make it work for myself. Is there anyone else out there who’s gone through this or had a similar experience? Can you offer any advice?

Yeah, ok, well, I fixed it today. I guess re-reading my post from last night opened my eyes to a few things…namely that I hadn’t thrown a ball in two decades. I realized I may have been expecting too much to think I could just pick up where I left off when I was twelve.

So today, after tossing the ball around with my son, I spent about an hour just throwing balls up against the back of the shed. Twenty minutes in, everything clicked and I was throwing like I’d never thrown before. Apparently my arm is a lot stronger now than it was twenty years ago. I was throwing bullets from 90 feet out, with decent accuracy (i.e., getting it in a “strike zone” of about 5 feet square, which is pinpoint for me). I was able to throw sidearm, 3/4, and overhand with no problems. All I needed was a little practice and maybe a slight attitude adjustment. My accuracy was continuing to improve right up until the time I finally hung it up. I have full confidence I’ll be able to pitch batting practice in a few years, and show kids how to make the throw from third to first without embarrassing myself. I may even seek out a softball team in need of an outfielder.

I was too excited to stop, so I way overdid it, but I’m really not that sore so I must have been mostly on the right track. Reading through the posts here really helped me understand what was going on with my motion, so thanks.

This was my best day in a long, long time…I didn’t realize how much this had gotten me down. I guess the lesson here is perseverance.

Pretty much the same thing happened with Rick Ankiel. He couldn’t find the plate to save himself—and then he discovered in the minors that he could throw accurately from those long distances, and now he’s a star outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m glad to hear that everything fell into place for you. 8)