Towel Drill W/O Partner

I know how to do the towel drill but is there a method I can do without a partner?

When I try releasing later in my delivery I get a lower pitch, which is what I want. But it feels weird. So I want to do the drill to become more accustom to releasing later in the delivery.

I have a problem with throwing high so I’m thinking this might help, but any other suggestions would be great.

Throwing high can be due to a number of issues such as a postural issue or a timing issue whereby you open up early. If you in fact have such an issue then it would be more prudent to fix that issue and let your release point happen out front rather than try to release later (which is really just treating the symptom).

The towel drill will still be useful. The goal of the drill is to have perfect mechanics. That will let your release point happen out front where it should. As long as you don’t cheat (eg. lunge), your release point will come down as well.

Normally, a partner will hold a glove at your eye height at foot plant (or is it release point?). You can come close to that using a high backed chair as your target. Doing the drill in front of a mirror will also help you assess your mechanics.

i’m not a huge proponent of the towel drill but what i’ve seen some people do is put a chair way out in front of them and have the seat portion facing them. then go through the motion and try and reach the front edge of the chair. if you can reach it easily then move it a lil further away. it is supposed to help with getting extension and letting the ball go out front. as i said i’m not a big fan of it but that is something you can do without a partner.

This is how our staff usually does towel drills

“Extension” is a misconception. And that’s probably why you’re not a fan of the drill. The goal of the drill is to have perfect-for-you mechanics. If you do that then your release point happens out front. Mess up your mechanics and your release point will pull back, raise up, etc. Trying to extend your arm is of little use. Release point is a result of your mechanics that lead up to it.

BTW, “snapping down” is also a misconception about the purpose of the towel drill.

That is essentially what I was trying to say because if you are using good mechanics you will release out in front and get extension. I understand that the point isn’t to reach out as far as is possible. The reason I’m not a big fan of the towel drill is that I don’t see any real benefit from it. As far as dry drills go, practicing in front of a mirror is as good as any. That way you can see what you are doing and can isolate and correct certain issues you may have in your motion. I think there’s no substitute to actually throwing a ball though. That way the spin you create, the velocity you generate, and the spot you hit all give you accurate feedback as to what you just did mechanically.

You’re correct that throwing a ball gets you certain feedback about different things but none of that feedback tells you for sure that your release point was out front where it should be. You could infer that from the location and movement of your pitch but that’s not a guarantee. A towel hitting a target in front of you is direct, irrefutable feedback. The only question is, “Did you get out there by having good mechanics or did you somehow cheat?” That’s where doing the towel drill in front of a mirror comes in.

Ultimately, whether or not the towel drill - or any drill for that matter - is beneficial depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. When you’re first working on some new adjustment, drills can be handy. If you’re trying to optimize some aspect that you already pretty much have down, then doing so on the mound throwing a ball is probably your best bet.

Lately I have heard this discussion alot around the baseball cirlces that i am involved in and it all keeps coming back to the same point and that is that it would be best to do it off the mound BUT… Here is the fact you can only do so much off the mound each day so you do not incur injury. So here is one thing that pitchers do every day at practice or game. They play CATCH and that needs to be Quality CATCH if it is not then all of those bad habits develop even before we get on the mound. So think of working on this during your daily CATCH by using the legs and thinking step-shuffle-throw so that we are using our legs when we pitch and getting EXTENTION.

I can walk into any ball park in the Tulsa Metro Area and watch 9-18 year olds that dont know how to play quality CATCH and then wonder why they cant pitch at a high level. Well to me it starts with Quality CATCH and with out that it really becomes a crap shoot whether it is a ball or a strike. Controll or Command.


Tom House brought the towel drill back from japan. There they used a longer towel and tried to get the snapping/whipping action with the longer towel. You should use a towel that extends 12" from your closed fist. The proper positioning is to go thru your normal pitching stride and stop at the power position (when the front foot lands). From there you step 5 shoe lenghts one in front of the other, this establishes where your partner places his shoe, toe to toe with your shoe. From here your partner places his glove over where your last step was not over his own shoe. The glove is held about eye high and from here you go thru your motion full speed to help you repeat your mechanics and get full extension out front. you get immediate feedback as to whether or not you are extending out front as much as possible. If a pitcher can release the ball 12" closer to the batter it is equal to another 3 mph on the fastball. With the kids i teach pitching i have them hold the glove lower to try to establish a strike at the knees.

I went to Tom’s 4 day training in San Diego and the towel drill is a big part of the training. It is a good way to practice mechanics without the stresses of actual pitching.


Tdog, welcome aboard, fellow NPA’er.

To add a point, the partner holds the glove at eye level of the pitcher at foot plant - not at his eye level when standing upright at the start of the delivery.

I could go along with getting the release point out front being a goal but, again, extension is really not the goal. The goal really is to have good posture and balance, to get the hips going and build good momentum, to get to equal and opposite to have good timing, to have good hip and shoulder separation as well as delayed shoulder separation, to get stacked while continuing to track, to swivel and stabilize the glove. If you do all these things, then your release point will happen out front. Release point really needs to be looked at as a result - not a means to a result. Doing these things also means you are maximizing velocity and movement while effectively using the body and, therefore, minimizing stress on the arm.