Baseball Pitching Drills

By Steven Ellis former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

More Control:

Shoulder/Elbow Drill: Using a batting tee and wiffle balls, get about 10 feet away from a fence or basement wall and situate the pitcher and tee like the photo. This is a good drill for isolating the upper body and a way to focus on the shoulders being "closed" (belly facing to 3rd at foot plant. 1st base for lefties), along with working on the elbow to be at or above shoulder level. This drill also works them on proper hand/ball alignment (fingers on top of the ball when the arm is back. Have a bucket of wiffle balls right next to the pitcher so after they do one, they can just put another ball on the tee. With the ball on the tee, they reach back to grab the ball, once they have it make sure they turn their head and face the target, we still want to get them in the good habit of keeping their eyes level and on target through the whole pitch. Once they see the target, bring the ball up into the pitching position, and don?t have the arm straight back, but a little bent with the ball facing to where would be 2nd base and fingers on top of the ball. Now bring the arm up into the "L" position and make sure their elbow is at or above shoulder level (if they don?t it puts stress on the shoulder and elbow). Now have them pitch the ball into the fence or wall and follow through like normal. Have them do this in 4 steps (5 times). Step one is hand on ball, and facing target, step two is arm up and slightly bent with ball facing towards 2nd base and fingers on top of the ball, step 3 is the arm up into the "L" position with elbow at or above shoulder level (the elbow should not be more than a couple of inches above shoulder level or it will create stress on the shoulder, step five is the pitch and follow through. Again, have them do 5 of these in 4 steps and stopping at each one, then do 10 of these at half speed, then 10 at full speed.

     


Balance is key, pracitce standing on a 2x4, pulling up the lead leg and holding for a 5 count, take the leg back down and bring it right back up to do it again.  Do 10 of these. Without good balance the body and arm will get out of synch and the pitcher will not only have control problems, but risk arm injury.

  

 

Proper landing.  Mark in line in the dirt with your foot from the middle of the mound towards home plate, the landing foot should touch this line and the toes pointed slightly inward.  This gives your pitcher consistent landings which lead to more consistent pitching.........Continued in the Pitching Guide.

1.Covering First Base
This drill will help your pitchers and first basemen master the skill of first base coverage on a hit to the sharp right side of the diamond.

  • Line up your pitchers near the pitching mound and have them take turns performing this drill.
  • Line up your first basemen near their normal fielding position and have them take turns performing this drill.
  • The pitcher acts as if pitching from the wind-up or the stretch, but no ball is thrown.
  • At the completion of the pitcher's motion, you hit a ball from home to the first baseman's fielding area.
  • The pitcher moves to cover first base and take the toss or throw from the first baseman fielding the grounder.

NOTE: You can also run this drill without hitting the ball to a first baseman. Simply have the pitcher run to first base and receive a thrown ball from a coach standing in a position where a ground ball would be fielded. Emphasize getting the ball first and then finding and touching first base.

Emphasize the need for the pitcher to hustle to the base in order to beat the runner there. The fielder should deliver the ball to the pitcher BEFORE the pitcher reaches the base. The pitcher should catch the ball and then find and step on the bag. If the pitcher arrives at the bag before the ball is thrown, then they should catch the ball with their foot on the bag (this won't happen very often).

Any ball hit to the right hand side of the infield pitchers must get into the habit of covering first base. This drill will help engrain this habit for all pitchers.

Equipment: Bucket of baseballs and gloves.

Players: 1st Baseman, 2nd Baseman, Catcher, and Pitcher(s)

Group all pitchers in a line beginning on the pitching mound. The pitcher can throw from either the wind-up or stretch. The pitcher will deliver the ball, once the ball reaches the plate, the coach will hit or roll a ball to the right hand side of the infield.

Situation #1: Ball is hit to the first baseman. Pitchers must banana towards 1st base by running to the baseline. Once the pitcher reaches approximately 15 feet from 1st base, they will now run even with the baseline and directly to first base. Pitchers must begin to breakdown and show a target for the first baseman. Pitchers should catch the baseball before they hit the bag. Once they make the catch, find the bag and step on it for the force out. After hitting the bag, turn to the infield and look for any potential runners trying to advance a base.

Situation #2: Ball is hit to the pitcher. Pitcher will field the ball effectively. After fielding the ball, pitchers must step and throw and make an accurate throw to first base.

Situation #3: Ball is hit to the forehand of the second baseman that brings the first baseman over as well. Pitcher must run straight to first base, once they reach within 10 feet they should breakdown and find the bag. Turn and give a target to the second baseman. Be ready to react to balls thrown to your right or left.

Equipment: Bucket of balls and a fungo.

Position Players: Catcher, First Basemen, SS, Third Basemen, and Second Basemen

Pitchers - line up behind the mound.

FIELDING SEQUENCE: Each pitcher should complete 2 - 5 reps per sequence. This is to the coaches' discretion.

Catcher: Take control and yell out the play on each sequence.

1 - Pitcher will deliver the ball. Roll ball directly to pitcher. Pitcher will complete a 1 - 3 put out. STEP AND THROW!

2 - Pitcher will deliver the ball. The coach will be standing up the first base line (15 feet), the coach will then drop the ball at the desired location. The pitcher will approach the ball and pick up with his bare hand. This is the only shot he has to get the out at 1st base. Do or die play.

3 - Pitcher will deliver the ball. The coach will roll the ball to the 3rd base line. Pitcher will field the ball and complete a 1 - 5 force out.

4 - Pitcher will deliver the ball. The coach will now hit a live ground ball at the pitcher. The pitcher will field the ball and complete a 1 - 3 force out.

5 - Pitcher will deliver the ball. The coach will now hit a live ground ball at the pitcher. The pitcher will field the ball and begin the 1 - 6 - 3 double play. The second basemen also can work in on this play.

6 - Pitcher will deliver the ball. Bases are loaded. The coach will now hit a live ground ball at the pitcher. The pitcher will field the ball and begin a 1 - 2 - 3 double play.

7 - Pitcher will deliver the ball. Runner on third - SQUEEZE PLAY. Ball is rolled directly at the pitcher, he must use his bare hand to scoop and push the ball back to the catcher. This is his only chance of cutting the runner down at home. Do or die play.

Pickoff Drill

Purpose

Pitchers practice throwing out runners on the bases.
Runner practice leading & stealing

Equipment:

Baseball field, baseballs, batting helmets

Procedure

* Put a defensive team out in the field and a runner on each base.

* From the stretch position, the pitcher practices throwing to first, second and third base.

* Most pick-off throws will be to first base, so encourage the pitcher to make more throws there than second or third.

Base runners should practice leading off and returning to the bag.

Fielders can practice moving to the bases, catching the ball and making the tag.

Key Points

* Watch pitchers closely for balks. If they are throwing to a base and a foot is on the rubber, they must not make a pitching motion toward home.

* Have runners try to distract pitchers by faking a steal, as opponents will do.

 

Pitcher Line Drill

Purpose

The line drill is a release point drill designed to work on a pitcher's release point.

Equipment:

Baseball

Procedure

* Have players pair off, with one partner getting down like a catcher on flat ground about 45 feet away

* The pitcher throws all of his or her pitches (fastball, curve ball, slider, change-up) 15 pitches at a time from the windup and the stretch.

* It is particularly good neuromuscular work to throw all pitches at less distance, alternating 15-pitch intervals. It helps pitchers groove the feel of their release points.

Using a hat, towel or glove for home plate gives a perspective on location.

Key Points

* Distance magnifies mistakes, and the mound worsens both mistakes and mechanical inefficiencies. Timing and feeling the delivery on short ground, at a shorter distance, builds physical and mental confidence

PitchPitcher Control Drill

Purpose

To help pitchers develop awareness of the strike zone.

Equipment:

Baseball field, baseball, bat, batting helmet

Procedure

* Pitchers and catchers stand at regulation distance from each other.

* The catcher stands behind home plate, and a batter stands in the batter's box.

* The batter should alternate between a left-and right-handed batting stance after five pitches, but not take any swings.

* The catcher calls balls and strikes.

* Have the batter wear a helmet in this practice session.

Key Points

* This game-like drill will help your pitchers develop a consistent pitching motion, geta good feel for the strike zone, and get used to pitching with a player in the batter's box.

er Line Drill

Purpose

The line drill is a release point drill designed to work on a pitcher's release point.

Equipment:

Baseball

Procedure

* Have players pair off, with one partner getting down like a catcher on flat ground about 45 feet away

* The pitcher throws all of his or her pitches (fastball, curve ball, slider, change-up) 15 pitches at a time from the windup and the stretch.

* It is particularly good neuromuscular work to throw all pitches at less distance, alternating 15-pitch intervals. It helps pitchers groove the feel of their release points.

Using a hat, towel or glove for home plate gives a perspective on location.

Key Points

* Distance magnifies mistakes, and the mound worsens both mistakes and mechanical inefficiencies. Timing and feeling the delivery on short ground, at a shorter distance, builds physical and mental confidence


 

Related Pitching Materials

Want to learn more baseball pitching drills and practice tips? 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!

Baseball Pitching Drills

Learn baseball pitching drills to develop rock-solid mechanics

Title: Baseball Pitching Drills [NEW!]
Author: Steven Ellis
Ebook, 76 pages
Price: $24.95
Avg rating: (219 reviews)


 

 »  Discuss this baseball pitching article
 »  Read more baseball pitching articles
 »  See today's post on my pitching tips blog

want a more explosive fastball? click here