Towel Drills

I have been hearing a lot about towel drills and how they help your mechanics and improve velocity.

I also hear that it is not good for you also, that it hurts your arm. But i don’t know what to do. please help.

And also if it does hurt your arm… then would it be more beneficial to like hold a ball in your hand with a towel? please help

There are a lot of misconceptions about the towel drill and many folks try to make it out to be more than it is. It’s just one drill in a pitcher’s toolkit.

The towel drill is simply a drill for practicing one’s mechanics. Using a towel instead of throwing a ball is much less taxing on the arm so it lets you do lots of reps without wearing out your arm. The goal of the drill is to have good mechanics that let you get out front and hit the target. Hitting the target his feedback - it is not the goal. Of course, you need to get out front using proper mechanics - not by cheating (e.g. lunging).

Some people incorrectly think the purpose of the towel drill is to practice snapping the wrist or extending the arm. I suppose if that is your focus, then maybe there’s a chance you could overdo something and hurt you arm. But, otherwise, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone hurting their arm doing the towel drill.

Me either.
No one thing is “The” thing that will make you a great pitcher. I’ve seen those that deride the towel drill as “wrong” “having nothing to do with pitching” or “injurious”. I say pooh. I’ve seen d-1 college programs have it within their programs…not as a panacea but like Roger said a tool. I can harm myself with a hammer, or a power saw and like wise I suppose I could harm myself with the towel drill, but I could also possibly hurt myself with a sponge or get killed by a deranged cow…So what? I choose not to live in fear, nor believe in boogymen. If you have an issue which the drill may assist (Release point, timing) then perhaps you may want to look into it, if you don’t have a use for it…don’t use it.
Common sense is also a tool if you think about it…

Roger, you have it exactly right. It taxing on the arm to constantly throw bullpens every day to work on mechanics. The Towel drills are a way for you to work on your mechanics and make sure your doing things correctly. I find it also helps with throwing across your body if you are someone who needs to throw down through the ball because of the path of the towel as your following through. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

I’m not quite sure what you mean.

It is a great tool. My son does this on his off days in low reps 30 to 40 times. It has helped on his delivery as far as rushing .We have got to the point now where he has improved on slowing his rhythm down and taking his time for pitch selection and evaluating the situations on the bases. Also I have seen where it has helped with arm speed on guys who some what drag the arm. My personal opinion is,it is a great tool.


I myself throw somewhat 3/4 and at least in my case when I am beginning to start throwing underneath the ball I can see it in the movement of my towel during the follow through. So working with the towel helps me get back to throwing more on top of the ball, to get down through it. This may be unorthodox but it seems to help me at times.

We use the towel drill at Indiana State and I absolutely love it! But like it has been said before, it is just ONE drill in the toolkit!

How does one actually do the towel drill?

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 heel-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, having good glove side management, 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 hit the 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.