16 Throwing Drills For Baseball Pitchers

  • Updated on Dec. 17, 2016

2017 MLB Tryouts

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ATTENTION PITCHERS: One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.

If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

David Price pitching gif
David Price

The following set of throwing drills are designed to teach proper throwing techniques, to serve as a daily warm-up program, and to build arm strength and stamina. After the various throwing techniques have been taught and learned, the drill sequence can be completed within 10 minutes. It is not necessary to perform each technique every practice. Alternate using various drills from practice to practice. This drill sequence is a good technique review program for youth, high school, and college players.

Remember, warm-up to throw do not throw to warm up. Before touching a baseball, be certain to do the jogging and stretching programs.

I. Throwing warm-up (loosening) drills.
A. Throwing Techniques
1. Throw with a full range of motion, start 40-50 feet, throw until loose. Back up to no more than 75 feet apart.
2. Work on proper grip, arm action and release.
3. Use a crow-hop, use your body to save your arm.

B. Position Techniques
Once you are loose, practice throwing technique you will use for your position.
1. Work on a quick release, quick arm action.
2. Focus on a spot, the glove, head, shoulder, etc.
3. Work on good wrist, forearm and elbow action, flex at the wrist.
4. Follow the ball on the follow through, get good arm extension.

C. Catching the ball technique - practice proper techniques.
1. Catch the ball with 2 hands out in front of the body; catch the top of the ball when possible, secure a good cross the seam grip.
2. Funnel the ball to the throwing position.
3. Move the feet into position to catch, then organize the feet to throw, quick feet, crow-hop, develop a good catch and throw rhythm.

II. Throwing Technique Drills - work in 2 lines, 1 on 1.
(Start at 15-20 feet apart for drills A,B,C)
A. Underhand toss technique (from a fielding position)
1. Use 4 fingers and thumb, hand under ball, firm wrist.
2. Throw a dead ball, firm on a line chest high.
3. Do not take a big backswing - show the ball to the fielder
4. Get glove hand to the chest - stay low, don’t straighten up to throw.
5. Follow the ball - field it, step left, toss, step right to follow.

B. Backhand flip (from a fielding position)
1. 4 fingers behind the ball, thumb in front. Flip side-arm, not underhand.
2. Flip the ball firmly on a line - don’t hang it - use your wrist and forearm to throw the ball
3. Stay low - step with right foot, transfer body weight forward with the throw; follow thru by bringing your back leg up following the ball.

C. Run-Down toss technique.
1. Run in place. Hold the ball in throwing hand in an overhead position. No pump fakes. Use a normal throwing grip on the ball.
2. Use a wrist-forearm snap throw stepping forward with the throwing hand foot - like throwing a dart.
3. Throw head high and above the receiver with a firm toss. Show him the ball all the way.
4. Receiver - on the “now” call, close down a step, catch and make a sweep tag waist high. Then bring the ball up, run in place, make throw back to partner.

D. Side-arm throw (30 to 40 feet apart from a fielding position)
1. Field ball in the middle then transfer weight onto right foot
2. Jab step open slightly with the lead foot to get hips open.
3. Keep the fingers behind , not under the ball - transfer weight forward.
4. Show the fielder the ball, get glove to chest.
5. Throw the ball on a line - a good firm throw chest high.
6. Follow the ball by bringing the back foot forward and transferring weight into the throw.

E. Side arm throw after fielding ball to glove side - open jump step technique.
1. Field ball in front of glove side foot, 90 degree angle from receiver.
2. Jump step open with both feet, transferring weight on to back foot.
3. Throw side arm - fingers behind the ball, transfer the weight forward into throwing direction.
4. Make a firm, chest high accurate throw. Follow through, follow the ball with the body.

F. Back-hand technique, throw overhand
1. Use the back-hand fielding technique off the glove side foot. Step forward and plant the back foot then brace the leg, pushing off and transferring weight into throw.
2. Step directly to target, throw the glove hand out getting the shoulder open (good lead arm action).
3. Throw overhand like an outfielder.
4. Follow through - follow the ball with body weight and feet.

G. Bobbled ball drill - in front.
1. Drop ball in front of you, use quick footwork to get over and on top of the ball.
2. Pick it up with the throwing hand, but also get the glove down.
3. Use a short, quick infielders crow-hop and use an infielders throwing technique.

H. Loose ball drill - (ball up against a fence or barrier)
1. Drop the ball over the shoulder behind you
2. Always turn to your throwing hand side
3. Use quick feet to get on top of the ball - use 2 hands to pick it up
4. Use a quick short crow-hop to get feet in place and weight transferred.  Open up to glove side.
5. Throw over-hand

I. Throwing on the run
1. Run in place at a 45 degree angle from receiver.
2. As your foot to your throwing hand side lands, use a 3/4 overhand throw. Emphasize wrist and forearm action.
3. Lift and open the lead leg knee on the throw to get the body open
4. On the follow through, hop on to the back leg for balance
5. Follow through with arm and body weight following the ball.

J. Throwing off a slow roller technique
1. Pretend fielding a slow roller outside the right foot with both hands. Work to a 45 degree angle from receiver.
2. Going into the ball, round off some and take a long stride with the lead leg to get low. The back knee will almost touch the ground.
3. Come up, landing, planting, and pushing off the right foot and throw side arm across body.
4. Lift and open the lead leg allowing the shoulder rand body to open.
5. Hop on the right foot after throwing to maintain balance and follow through.

 

K. Dive drill - to forehand
1. Start in a kneeling position on both knees facing the receiver.
2. With the ball in the glove, dive flat out to the forehand side.
3. Scramble to the feet, pushing up with both hands, knees and feet.
4. Jump step into a throwing position - throw side arm and follow the ball.

L. Dive drill - to backhand
1. Start in same position, except dive flat out to the backhand side
2. Scramble feet, crow hop towards receiver and throw overhand.

M. Crow-hop technique (90-100 feet apart)
1. Pretend catching a fly ball up above the head on the throwing arm side.
2. Crow hop gaining ground and forward momentum. Don't jump up, but stride out towards the target.
3. Foot to throwing hand side should come in front of the lead leg. Back foot should be perpendicular to the throwing direction and the body weight back over it at the start of the throw.
4. Use a long arm full range of motion, overhand throw.
5. Work for a violent body weight shift and trunk flexion into the throw.

N. Relay throwing technique (90-100 feet apart)
1. Receiver - square off to thrower - wave arms to attract the thrower.
2. As the throw comes at you, shuffle your feet to catch the ball with 2 hands, while turning to the glove side.
3. Crow-hop towards the base you are throwing to as the ball is being caught - gain ground.
4. Pretend to throw using a overhand throwing motion.
5. On off line throws, be prepared to go meet the throw, but always turn to the glove side to make the relay throw.
6. First baseman and 3rd baseman, practice the quick relay technique. No crow hop, just step to the ball, catch and throw.

O. Centering Drill (40-50 feet apart)
1. Catch the ball with 2 hands out in front of the body
2. When possible, catch the top of the ball in the palm of the glove
3. If the throw is to one side, step with the near foot at a 45 degree angle.  Catch and immediately bring the glove and hand back to an infielders throwing position.
4. Wok for a good cross seam grip, throw overhand with an infielders short arm throwing motion.

P. Quick Release Drill (40-50 feet apart, 4 players, 1 ball)
1. Get into  a good athletic position - move feet continuously - develop a smooth catch and throw rhythm.
2. Catch and throw the ball as quickly as possible getting feet into a good throwing position
3. Do not throw real hard - just work of quick hands, quick release, quick feet, and accurate throws.

Pitchers only perform drills A through G and then break away from the group to work on various pitching techniques by form throwing into nets or at very short distances (25 feet to each other). During the off season and pre-season, pitchers should do the Long Toss Program at least twice a week to build arm strength and stamina, and to maintain their maximum shoulder range of motion.

Throwing is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced. Proper throwing techniques will improve performance, throwing accuracy and velocity, and will help to prevent arm fatigue and injury.

Get my pitching velocity program

Youth pitching program
One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.

If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

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