Towel Drill?

Can someone please explain to me how to do the towel drill “properly” and also why it would be of benefit?


I dont think it will help much in terms of velocity. What it does it help work on mechanics.I guess thats what most people me by doing it properly because if you continuously do the wrong thing , you end up throwing wrong.

My introduction to the towel drill was during the World Youth Baseball Classic in Binghamton, N.Y. in 1995. It was an American Legion tourney.

A team from China was in for the tournament and I remember watching their pitchers in the alley behind the hotel from my upstairs window doing their towel drills. They’d do it for more than a half an hour each day we were there.

It was completely new. But it didn’t stick. I never did it. My teammates didn’t do it. But we talked about it.

I understand the “concept” of the towel drill. Advocates say it teaches extension and wrist snap. I think it’s generally a waste of time. Sure, Mark Prior did it in pro ball. But he was the only one in the Cubs organization that did.

I feel you’re better off doing “mirror drills” – going through your mechanics off of a bullpen mound without throwing the baseball (and without taking the ball out of your glove, just whipping your arm around and working on your mechanics).

Do three sets of twelve to simulate three innings. Add 12 for each additional inning. Rest briefly in between. A couple of minutes.

Visualize throwing strikes. Feel your motion and know where and how your body’s moving off of the rubber.

Beats the towel drill any day in my book because there’s no resistance. So you’re not training your arm to slow down through the acceleration phase of the arm whip motion.

Good post , right on imo … also throw in pick moves , good time to develop quick feet !!

The towel drill - as taught by Tom House and the NPA - is all about practicing mechanics in a way that lets you get in lots of reps without over-taxing the arm. There is no emphasis on extension and wrist snap. Instead, it’s about putting together all of pieces of the mechanical sequence correctly and with proper timing. When this is done successfully, the release point happens out front enough for the towel to hit its target. So, the towel hitting the target is feedback that you have performed your mechanics properly. The only problem with this is that it is also possible to hit the target by cheating (e.g. by lunging). So, you have to be disciplined or you have to be watched by a knowledgeable coach to ensure you are using proper mechanics.

[quote=“dm59”]Can someone please explain to me how to do the towel drill “properly” and also why it would be of benefit?


From a pitching rubber or any mark on the ground, batter goes through his pitching motion and marks where the toe of his stride foot plants. From that point, pitcher takes 5 heal-to-toe steps forward. Partner holds a target (usually a glove) above the position of the 5th step at a height equal to the batter’s eye level at his release.

Pitcher holds a hand towel between 1st and 2nd fingers such that about 12" of towel extends out. From the pitching rubber or mark on the ground, pitcher goes through his pitching motion and tries to hit the target glove with the towel.

This drill is good for practicing maintaining good posture and balance, getting the hips going, getting a good stride length, getting good separation of hips and shoulders, and delaying shoulder rotation. It will also provide good feedback as any miscues will cause the towel to miss its target. Note that if a pitcher just can’t a target at the stride-plus-five distance, then they should shorten the distance - it is better to perform this drill as perfectly as possible than it is to hit the target.

All good posts and thanks for the info Steve. Towel Drill is part of my routine but you make some valid points.

Thank you

To me, that’s no different than using the towel except that the towel gives you a feedback mechanism.

roger, what r some other ways to get good hip-shoulder separation?as in drills…

Try the knee drill. Get on your knees with your hips at the same angle to your target that they would be at foot strike. This puts the hips in the “already open” position. Then simply play catch with a partner concentrating on torquing the shoulders back (i.e. getting maximum separation). You can even pause momentarily at the point of maximum separation to simulate the delay before shoulder rotation. This drill gives you the opportunity to focus on separation in a very controlled manner.

After the knee drill, you can do the rocker drill where you are on your feet with the feet close to stride length apart - back foot perpendicular to target and front foot opened up. Rock back and forth once or twice to simulate building momentum. Keep the head level. After the last rock back, rock forward onto the front leg, open the hips all the way if they weren’t, track forward with an upright spine, rotate the shoulders and then throw. Both feet should pretty much stay planted on the ground. This drill also gives you the opportunity to focus on separation. It includes more of the total delivery but not all of it so you can still focus on one part in a more controlled manner than in the total delivery.

In both of these drill, pay attention to what it feels like to be in the various positions as well as the sequencing and timing of the motions. Also, intermix real throwing in between drills as that makes it easier to take what you do in the drill into your live throwing.

There is also a rocker drill version of the towel drill. Do the above except use the towel to hit a target instead of throwing a ball. This will allow you to do a whole bunch of reps without wearing out your arm.