I have a question regarding long toss. My son will be going into his sophomore year of high school. He is a lefty with a low 3/4 delivery and struggles with location. He has much better control going sidearm. We have toyed with the idea of just switching altogeter and see where it takes him.
He is interested in getting more velocity and a stronger arm. If he is going to go to a sidearm delivery, does it make sense to do sidearm long toss? He still plays 1st base and the outfield as well. Looking for opinions as we are getting ready for his off season conditioning. Thanks.
If he is going to be playing outfield as well then sidearm long toss is the last thing he is going to want to do. All it will do is drill bad habits into his head and eventually his throws from the outfield will begin to suffer because of it.
Throwing overhand long toss will strengthen his arm either way and as long as he keeps working hard he will notice velocity improvements when he throws sidearm as well.
I would say that most infielders, with exception of 3rd basemen, throw sidearmed.
If sidearm is his most comfortable and balanced delivery for pitching and throwing, you might want to consider leaving that alone and focusing on optimizing everything else in the pitching/throwing mechanics: I.e., balance and posture, prompt generation of momentum toward the target, hip/shoulder separation, glove-side action, for examples. These issues are common to all pitching deliveries and they are also hard-wired into the mechanics of throwing from a position. There are some differences in timing and mechs for throwing, but they have to do more with the goal of making a quick, fuzzily accurate throw to a bag, as opposed to making a highly deliberate, highly accurate pitch to a small area in or around the strike zone.
Still, you’ve got to admit that the “strike zone” for an effective put-out throw to 1st base is generally a lot, lot, lot bigger than the HP umpire’s strike zone. Even “fuzzy accuracy” is completely sufficient for most throws in the infield, so it doesn’t matter all that much what your arm-slot does to the movement on a ball over fairly short distances.
As far as practicing high arm-slot throws for playing the outfield…I agree that not too many outfielders are sidearmers–over the distance of those kinds of throws a sidearmer’s ball tails too much even for “fuzzy accuracy”…so, in a very real sense, the position picks the player. That’s not to say that I’d ever ask a sidearm pitcher to practice throwing from a high arm-slot–in my opinion, that is wrong thinking. If you agree that pitchers need to develop a consistent release point for pitching, then it would be counter-productive to ask them to do throwing reps with a totally different arm-slot than they use on the mound.
If the outfield can pick its players, so can the pitcher’s mound…