Towel Drill Reps

This is just a couple reps from a towel drill workout but I would appreciate some input thanks.

Since the towel drill can be used for a couple different things, what exactly are you looking to accomplish with this drill?

The use of my legs while being able to focus on their motions without having to throw a ball to make it a realistic motion

You seem to be doing the drill correctly, you look athletic, limber, good size, looks like you are working with a guy…lots of ups…any concerns that you have right now?

I thought the point of a ‘towel drill’ was to isolate one specific component?

Personally not a big fan of this drill. At least not when the focus is on getting extension and smacking a target with the towel. Problem is by focusing on getting out there, you tend to open early and lose rotational power. If you look at 0:29 in this video, your chest is already opened towards home plate at front foot plant. If you do this drill, I’d just suggest you focus on staying closed as long as you can with your front side so you get that good hip to shoulder separation at front foot plant. Everything else looks pretty good.

The drill is for practicing total body mechanics and getting instant feedback to help you feel the effects of messing up vs. getting it right. If you mess up one aspect of your mechanics (e.g. posture, glove, momentum), you won’t get out far enough to reach the target. And you’ll get instant feedback accordingly. If your focus is on “getting out there”, you have the wrong focus. Instead, focus on putting it all together and let “getting out there” happen. Or not. That’s part of the feedback. Miss the target left or right and you probably have a posture issue. Come up short and you probably have a glove or momentum issue. Having a knowledgable instructor watch can help map the feedback into the correction needed.

To do the drill properly, set the target (usually a partner’s glove) at a distance of stride plus 5 heel-to-toe steps (may need to be adjusted for individual pitchers). Measure stride from the front of the rubber to front toe at foot plant. Target should be held above the 5th heel-to-toe step at the height of the pitcher’s eyes at foot plant. Doing the drill with the target at the wrong distance will hose up the feedback.

[quote=“Roger”]The drill is for practicing total body mechanics and getting instant feedback to help you feel the effects of messing up vs. getting it right. If you mess up one aspect of your mechanics (e.g. posture, glove, momentum), you won’t get out far enough to reach the target. And you’ll get instant feedback accordingly. If your focus is on “getting out there”, you have the wrong focus. Instead, focus on putting it all together and let “getting out there” happen. Or not. That’s part of the feedback. Miss the target left or right and you probably have a posture issue. Come up short and you probably have a glove or momentum issue. Having a knowledgable instructor watch can help map the feedback into the correction needed.

To do the drill properly, set the target (usually a partner’s glove) at a distance of stride plus 5 heel-to-toe steps (may need to be adjusted for individual pitchers). Measure stride from the front of the rubber to front toe at foot plant. Target should be held above the 5th heel-to-toe step at the height of the pitcher’s eyes at foot plant. Doing the drill with the target at the wrong distance will hose up the feedback.[/quote]

I see your point Roger but isnt the most important aspect of any throw, throwing the ball??? Watch his arm action, the towel drill negatively promotes arm action IMO. It wouldnt really matter after that

[quote=“Baseballthinktank.com”]
…but isnt the most important aspect of any throw, throwing the ball??? …[/quote]

Hahahahahh - That is immediately what I was thinking.

Not if you are throwing it wrong…if you are throwing it wrong then all the throw is…is the part where you add to or cause injury…We see it almost every day on this site…kids who are all arm and reach the velo limit for “all arm” (mid/low 80’s), the drill…and all it is…is a drill meant to assist in syncing the delivery from ground to release…is it a beat all end all…no…is it a substitute for…really anything in a developing pitchers “needs list”…absolutely not…it is a very simple way (No it doesn’t always work, nor is it always applied correctly) for a guy to quickly sync his mech…so many people attribute so many negative things to this very simple drill…you see guys try to substitute it for a whole myriad of things…it is their fault, not the drills
Back to the point…you wouldn’t let a kid who was outside the ball (Supinating through delivery) continue would you?..you’d remediate, if his mech was out of sync and his delivery timing was whacked…whether you believe in the towel drill or not…if you were worth piss as a coach you’d devise a drill to correct the timing issue…I will never understand the "bug-a-boo that people have with this drill or long toss…if you don’t like it…don’t train it…if somebody uses the drill (s) and it is effective…just who the heck is anyone to be critical?
And topping a Tom House in guys who respect and use him and believe in his methods is very tall cotton…instead of dismissing and being critical…when someone exhibits skills and success beyond my level…I try to understand before I skoff or am dismissive…fwiw

If you’re trying to get a pitcher to make a particular mechanical adjustment, a drill like the towel drill is often a good start because it frees the pitcher from worrying about where the ball goes. Or, if you’re trying to get a pitcher to increase his self-awareness about what he’s doing and the effects thereof, the towel drill is another good choice.

I don’t believe I’ve ever noticed any negative impacts on any pitcher’s arm action as a result of doing the towel drill. Maybe if the towel drill was the only thing a pitcher did, that would be a concern. Of course, that would be an absurd scenario. In reality, it’s not a concern.

Having said that, I’ll reiterate that if you’re using the drill to practice “extension”, you will be trying to manipulate the arm. But you’ll be misusing the drill. IMHO.

JD,

Before I reply, does anyone know how to insert a GIF image, been trying with no luck. Thanks

I would indeed be danerous if I ever figure it out…I quit trying…well I’ll be darned…this my friends is Maddux (He misses me…I’m in Atlanta)…he is my dog…thinktank hang it on a photo sharing site like photobucket and go to the image code, click and paste it…I’ll be darned…Coach Baker and me tried and tried…he could, I couldn’t…oh man look the heck out now :lol:

Hahahha

LOL its gonna be fun seeing JD’s posts for the next Lil while

Not if you are throwing it wrong…if you are throwing it wrong then all the throw is…is the part where you add to or cause injury…We see it almost every day on this site…kids who are all arm and reach the velo limit for “all arm” (mid/low 80’s), the drill…and all it is…is a drill meant to assist in syncing the delivery from ground to release…is it a beat all end all…no…is it a substitute for…really anything in a developing pitchers “needs list”…absolutely not…it is a very simple way (No it doesn’t always work, nor is it always applied correctly) for a guy to quickly sync his mech…so many people attribute so many negative things to this very simple drill…you see guys try to substitute it for a whole myriad of things…it is their fault, not the drills
Back to the point…you wouldn’t let a kid who was outside the ball (Supinating through delivery) continue would you?..you’d remediate, if his mech was out of sync and his delivery timing was whacked…whether you believe in the towel drill or not…if you were worth piss as a coach you’d devise a drill to correct the timing issue…I will never understand the "bug-a-boo that people have with this drill or long toss…if you don’t like it…don’t train it…if somebody uses the drill (s) and it is effective…just who the heck is anyone to be critical?
And topping a Tom House in guys who respect and use him and believe in his methods is very tall cotton…instead of dismissing and being critical…when someone exhibits skills and success beyond my level…I try to understand before I skoff or am dismissive…fwiw[/quote]

I was in that situation where I threw all arm and reached the velocity limit and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t throw any harder with my size and strength. I met some good coaches this summer that helped me out a lot, the guy in the video with me was certified with the NPA for a while and knows a lot of the Tom House stuff. I did it for that exact reason as well, that being able to do my mechanics with the intensity I would if I was throwing a ball. Instead worrying about where its going I can focus on what my body is doing. Before I did towel drill I had energy leaks all over my throwing motion. My stride was short, I was landing on an almost straight leg, terrible head movement, and no control or consistent arm slot (which lead to all my arm pain i used to have). After doing the towel drill my arm is pain free and I’m throwing balls harder than I ever have and putting it exactly where I want it. To answer your earlier question JD my concerns (or i guess you could say my purpose for doing right now) are making sure I stay strong through my legs. One of my problems is not getting into my hips when I throw, I will let energy go up and when I do that my leg will be straighter, so i focus on getting to my leg lift and once there I try to pull my back hamstring and glute towards my target and just be able to trust my legs to get down to equal and opposite but feel the torque of my hips sliding forward while my throwing shoulder is stretching back.

I know some disagree with the towel, but I feel its a good tool. And as others have said in this topic already, what works for some may not work for others. I did some towel drill early in my days back in high school but I just did it never with any real Idea of what I should be doing I just wanted to snap it out in front. It wasn’t until I did it with a coach that could tell me the muscles that I should be trying to fire at points, where I should be feeling torque building up, and importantly that just trying to snap that towel is wrong, you could try to reach so much extension with your upper half that you fall on your forehead and you will still be baffled by how much farther you get just ignoring the upper half and trusting the legs. I feel the key is to have somebody there thats well versed in it so they can point out if your doing things good or bad. All i know is it helped me a lot, after this session I threw like 5 pitches flatground style and the first two I didnt trust it completely and was up but the next three I trusted it and never felt my arm whip through that quick and smooth and it was right where I wanted it all three times.

Forget about the GIF, can’t figure it out…

JD,

First, I have no idea why you are taking up for Tom House, he’s brilliant and by no means am I pointing anything at him. I don’t think House’s work should be characterized by the ever so controversial towel drill.

You had mentioned that the towel drill is meant to sync the body from the feet to release. HOW??? What are you syncing if the arm action is altered by the drag of the towel? You can’t tell me that arm action is not altered with the larger towels…

I like the recent post from the original poster, he feels the towel drill helps him, it’s a good drill if thats the case. But to say that it’s meant to sync the delivery entirely, is asanine.

What is your definition of sync if that’s your belief? Are you syncing the hips to the arm??? If so, how?

Most guys that I considered synced, match the hands and the feet. Meaning, the front leg will move equal/opposite of the throwing arm’s path. Guys vertical out of the glove and rely more on the hand tend to have a straighter leg action. Guys that are more horizontal out of the glove tend to be sweepers.

I FIRMLY believe the arm is what makes each delivery unique based on the concept of matching the hands and the feet. You’re basically trying to create stretch and distance between muscle groups involved in thrwoing process.

If I didn’t believe in the towel drill before, I definitely don’t believe in it now that you said it is meant to sync the delivery from the feet to release and that has nothing to do with House.

Thinktank, I wasn’t trying to talk you into it…or not. I simply said …and pointed to Houses use of it as an indicator, that it could be used effectively.
By folks who were well qualified and known as excellent teachers of pitchers.
I expect you may have a method for timing correction…if you think the way you think and it helps your students without injuring them, then I’d tip my cap…and not worry to extensively about the drillwork that you use to acheive that success. I personally think of drills like that in the same way a martial artist think of “forms” work…they use a stylized method of syncing their movements, focusing concentration and force…it’s worked for them for centuries…I’m sure they have detractors too.
The men who taught me how to train up a pitcher, used the drill, they weren’t in league with House…they were successful and good men…I don’t think them the only method by far, though one of them is a hall of fame coach.
I’m sorry if you thought I was indicting you or in some way critical, I’m not but it still mystifies me as to the extent of angst leveled against a simple drill.

As I said once before—maybe more than once—there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

Using the size towels that House recommends (about a 15" hand towel), any drag is insignificant. Any alteration of arm action is due to the lighter weight. The body naturally keeps the hand closer to the body when throwing heavier objects (think of a quarterback’s arm action).

Curious, how large a towel are you talking about?

As I explained previously, messing up any one aspect of your mechanics will cause you to miss the target. Assuming you’re not somehow “cheating” (e.g. lunging), hitting the target usually means you’ve managed to put it all together (i.e. you’ve synced everything together).

You’re syncing your mechanical elements (e.g. stabilizing posture, controlling the glove side, generating momentum, etc.) which, in turn, allows you to have good timing. All of this results in a longer stride and an out-front release point. And these should allow you to hit the target with the towel.