Towel Drill

Whats up guys. I play college baseball I throw high 80’s consistant 88 89 touch 90. My question is the towel drill safe ? I read a lot of articles showing how the towel drill can make some one lose velocity. My pitching coach at school has us using this drill. What do you guys think ??

It depends on when you use the drill. I personally do not believe in doing it before a game. I think that it can tire your arm out before you even start throwing.

However, it is a good drill to do in practice, as it puts less strain on the arm than throwing does, yet it still gives you some resistance to assist you in your mechanical drills.

what is the towel drill
ive never done it

Like any drill, the towel drill has its place. There are a number of misconceptions about the purpose of the drill. I’ve heard some say the purpose is to practice “extension” and other say the purpose is to “snapping down”. Wrong! And I fail to see how the towel drill will hurt you.

Tom House, they guy who invented the towel drill, teaches it as a total body mechanics drill. In other words, you need to put everything together in order to hit the target with the towel (unless you cheat by doing something like leaping). If you have an inappropriate posture change, you won’t get there. If you have a timing problem and open up early, you won’t get there. If you lack momentum, you won’t get there.

What reason does your coach give you for doing the drill.

Well this is my first reply on the site. I have enjoyed reading the many sites on the internet about pitching. Steve has done a nice job of opening up the pitching world with his site. I am going on my 16th year in Professional Baseball and my 10th as a Minor League Pitching Coach. I dont see and problems with the towel drill. Like any drill if you change your delivery then there will be a issue. I like guys to have nothing in the hand , but thats personal choice. I have seen alot of guys gain velo with “Shadowing” the delivery. Some stuff I have read online guys think you can loose velo with drill work. Do sprinters loose speed walking??? The towel or shadow drill is to work on the delivery without thinking about location.

Welcome, Emo. Great advice. Really excited to have you participate in the discussions.

:allgood: Exactly! Many pitchers (especially youth pitchers) just can’t get themselves to not worry about where the pitch goes - especially when a coach is watching. And that limits them from doing what ever it is they’re trying to do. Taking the ball out of the hand frees them up to put almost all of their focus on what ever part of their mechanics they are trying to work on.

This is the mental side of the drill that many people don’t realize. And, for some reason, I’ve recognized it from my own experiences yet I never seem to talk about it. :reallyconfused:

Welcome aboard, Emo!

The rule of thumb is when working mechanics, dont use a ball. When throwing a bullpen ,work on throwing too your spots. I had a pitching coach in my day tell me that I am a “Professional Glove Hitter”.

Roger I see your from Phoenix. I grew up there and all my family is there.

I grew up here, my family is here and I still live here. Been here 48 years. I think there is me and one other native still living here. It’s a “dry inferno”. :onfire:

So where did you go to school?

Good point …When I was still playing I spent many hours in front of Mom’s floor length mirror working on my mechanics…and found it very useful. Certainly saves wear on the arm and allows you to focus on throwing the ball, not mechanics, when throwing pens.

Unfortunately I have not been able to get same results with my golf swing…

[quote=“Emo”]The rule of thumb is when working mechanics, dont use a ball.[/quote]I strongly disagree with this.

I also disagree. It is bad on your arm to do that. You need to have at least SOME resistance. That is like trying to kick a football and someone pulling it away…you can get hurt from it.

I always used to do shadow drills in the bullpen with the ball in my glove (so I could work on finding my grip), but when my hands separated, the ball stayed in the glove and my throwing hand went through its normal motion without the baseball.

That’s because I didn’t want to “train” my throwing hand/arm to tense up and slow down during the deceleration phase, which is exactly what has to happen if you’re holding a ball but not trying to let it go. So practicing with a baseball but not throwing is like training your wrist and forearm to be tense and slow (to hold on!) at precisely the moment when you want it to be loose and fast for when you do actually throw.

what is the towel drill
ive heard of it but have never sen it done
i dont know anyone who does it

On the other hand, it helps strengthen the decelerators since they have to decelerate the added weight of the ball. :wink:

House actually has a version of the towel drill where the towel is in the shape of a sock and you stuff a ball into it - you hold onto the ball and do the towel drill.

[quote=“kelvinp”]what is the towel drill
ive heard of it but have never sen it done
i dont know anyone who does it[/quote]
Kelvin,

Search this site for post on “towel drill” by me. I’ve described it more than once, I know.

One, I am not going to say all delivery work should be done without a ball , but it takes pressure off the pitcher to command the ball while working on the delivery.The “Shadow” routine is also a good way to get loose before throwing. Steve said it best. I can see that everyone here gets information from several sources. Dick Mills, Tom House, and etc… and we have to remember none of them are wrong. There are several ways to get it done. It’s what you believe. I personally like guys to Shadow, one to get the arm loose and two help with the delivery. I have not met one Major league Pitching Coach who doesn’t shadow his pitchers. Plenty of my pitchers who are in Major league Pitchers now continue to shadow. The problem I see is everyone talks about velocity and protecting the arm. Steve will tell you , you need to throw quality Major league strikes if you want a chance. Some guys with good mechanics get hurt some dont.

P.S. Roger I went to Shadow Mountain

Corsairkid you wrote “I also disagree. It is bad on your arm to do that. You need to have at least SOME resistance. That is like trying to kick a football and someone pulling it away…you can get hurt from it”.

I see all kickers take some practice kicks without a ball before they kick.

[quote=“Emo”]Corsairkid you wrote “I also disagree. It is bad on your arm to do that. You need to have at least SOME resistance. That is like trying to kick a football and someone pulling it away…you can get hurt from it”.

I see all kickers take some practice kicks without a ball before they kick.[/quote]I guess I picked a bad example. I will post back when I can rremember the one I was thinking of earlier. LOL!