Baseball Pitcher Training
By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
In this article, I share with you some tips for practicing pitching when no one is around to throw with. Here are 10 ways you can still practice your pitching.
1. Save up and buy a canvas catcher. It's a stand that has a square cut out in the canvas around the strike zone. It's great to have a bucket of balls and throw into the canvas catcher. That way, you can throw more pitches before you have to gather the balls.
2. Sting a large blanket between trees and throw into it. Or go to a baseball field, put one of those large metal trash barrels on home plate, and long toss from a bucket in center field.
3. Get a "ball catcher" such as the Franklin Jr. Pop-up Catcher. It folds up to a small circle for storage. It costs anywhere from $50 to $60. Or try hhe Easton Jr. Pitcher. This is more cumbersome to set up (still not bad, though) and you can change out the canvas backing and install a pitchback net. It costs about $80 at Sports Authority.
4. Use a 4-foot by 5-foot piece of plywood and lean it up against the fence. Tape a four-zone "target" to it. You can add some used carpet to the plywood to deaden the noise a bit.
4. Find a brick wall, outline a strike zone, color in the corners, and practice throwing trying to hit corners.
5. If you attend a church, you could use the gym, if it has one. Or try your local school gymnasium. You can make a portable pitching mound, and use it inside, throwing to a net ... it's a great help in the winter!
6. Get a net such as bird netting (you can get it out of most farm supply catalog) that is about 8' by 5' and hooking it to a doorway in your basement. It will take about 6 hooks (2 on top, 2 on each sides) and a heavy weight-cinderblock or bricks to anchor the bottom down. Then throw into it.
7. Leave the ball out and work on your mechanics in front of a mirror.
8. Line up 60 feet away from a soccer goal and try to hit the crossbar as many times as you can. You can also do this for long toss: Set up a bucket of balls about a 50 to 60 yards away and throw at it. After all the throws, sprint to the bucket and back, and do it again.
9. Don't forget some of the basic drills that you can do inside. Some people like the towel drill. I never did it, but guys like Mark Prior swear by it. Here's how it works: Get a small towel and put electrical tape in the center and both ends. Then lay on the floor (for distance) and put duct tape down (head to toe) on the floor. Then put a chair at one end of the distance. You'll stand at the other. Duct taped a center mark on the chair and work striding out and hitting the center mark, snapping your wrist. Again, the towel drill is not for everyone ... but another idea nonetheless.
10. Put a ball in your hand and then a big sock over your arm and hand leaving 2 or 3 inches at the end and tape the sock on your wrist. You can do all your mechanical work and actually throw the ball with out a partner and being in your house. you cant work on location but you can work on feel and everything else.
Related Pitching Materials
Want to learn more about baseball pitching workout programs? Arm yourself with the most innovative and up-to-date baseball pitching training available. These related pitching materials from former Chicago Cubs pitching pro Steven Ellis are guaranteed to help you or the players you coach pitch better and reach the next level faster!