Zach Fiedler Pitching Analysis



Lots of good stuff going on there. Hands are higher than I would like at start, but it doesn’t seem to upset your timing. You get to where you need to be at foot strike.

Your release point is about a foot back from where I’d like to see it. You seem to land and remain upright through release and have no real follow through. I’d like to see that release point at least out to the front foot. Get out there with your upper half and incorporate some forward trunk flexion into your follow through. A drag racer doesn’t want to deploy his parachute too early, does he?

I’m not a fan of the towel drill, which is what a lot of people recommend for this issue.
Think about the best way to serve a tennis ball. You wouldn’t want to hit the ball back by your head, would you? You get your toss high and get it out in front, then you uncoil on it and hit it out in front of you as high as you can and hammer the crap out of it, driving it straight down just over the net with a bit of pronation on contact to give it some kick and bite.

There are lots of similarities in the hitting and throwing skills of baseball and the serving and ground strokes of tennis.


Does bringing up the release point a foot help velocity and or control?


Both. Arm is accelerating through release. Release later=faster. Release closer to the plate…faster virtual velocity as well. Also, I can’t imagine releasing by your ear makes it easy to bury the ball low in the zone. Finishing with your torso vertical…huge velocity killer.


Coach, as you have seen on my thread, my son also releases early. HE asked last night if we could do the towel drill. We worked about an hour on getting fully extended and pushing off. Now I read you don’t favor this drill…what gives?


Much like increased stride length is an indicator of higher velocity, simply extending stride length by reaching with the front leg doesn’t really help a pitcher generate more velocity.

The tendency of people using the towel drill, when not monitored by a competent pitching instructor–and in my experience most are not competent, is to reach with the arm to get the release out front and snap the towel onto someone’s hand. To achieve this, most will bend forward at the waist earlier than proper throwing mechanics would dictate and the students get out of good posture just to get the hand out there. Employing the trunk flexion too early and engraining that pattern reduces the effectiveness of trunk rotation by cutting it off too early. Cutting short rotation at the end, where it should be translating into the biggest velocity gains, seems counterproductive to me.

The towel drill, done with improper supervision and correction, reinforces this early upper half, which your son definitely wants no part of because he’s already too early with his upper half. In my opinion, improperly using the towel drill will make that impossible to correct.


There certainly is a lot of misunderstanding about the towel drill. It is not about “extension”. It is not about “snapping down with the wrist”. As CoachPaul mentioned, there are plenty of folks that don’t know how to use the drill properly.

On the other hand, using the towel drill properly (which really means using it to practice good mechanics) allows you to get immediate feedback. Miss left or right and you probably have a posture issue. Miss short and you probably messed up your glove side or you failed to generate enough momentum. Hit the target (without doing things wrong like lunging or reaching) and you know you did things well so you can think about what that felt like to help you repeat it.


My fear is that you get 1,000-10,000 bad reps in on a drill that’s easy to do incorrectly.
If someone’s observing it who has never used it before and doesn’t know what to look for, it can cripple your development.

Not everyone gets to perform the drill with Tom House watching over them.