Baseball Youth Pitching Drills

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

Here are some youth pitching drills and youth baseball pitching drills to help you or the players you coach learn fundamental skills and improve their technique.

Tarp drill

This youth pitching drill develops ball control.

Tie a large piece of tarp on a section of the backstop. Place a target on the tarp(outline a strike zone) in paint or tape. Place a home plate in front of the strike zone. From two-thirds or regulation distance, a pitcher throws pitches at the strike zone on the tarp. After throwing 20 balls, they collect the balls and start over. Have the pitchers deliver half of the pitches form the stretch.

As your pitchers' control improves, divide the strike zone into sections and challenge them to deliver their pitches to the different sections. Pitchers can also work on their pick-off moves into the tarp.

Control drill

This youth pitching drill develops awareness of the strike zone.

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 every five pitches, but not take any swings. The catcher calls balls and strikes. Have the batter wear a helmet in this practice situation .This game like drill will help your pitchers develop a consistent pitching motion, get a good feel for the strike zone, and get use to pitching with a player in the batter's box.

Before-the-pitch drill

This youth pitching drill helps pitchers get acclimated to pitching in games.

Practice going through the entire before-the-pitch routine on a mound like you would during a game. Start off the mound, get the ball, walk to the mound, take position on the rubber, accept a sign and begin your delivery. This helps you to get acquainted with the rhythm of the game. Doing it exactly the same way each time also prevents the opposing team from getting tipped off.

Crow-hop drill

This youth pitching drill is a warm-up drill.

Extend your warm-up distance by using the "crow-hop" technique. This builds arm strength while improving your pitching mechanics. Standing in the stretch position, step forward with the stride foot. Bring the pivot foot behind the heel of the stride foot. Finish with a normal delivery, working top to bottom, ball of foot to ball of foot. Expand the distance until an arch in the throw occurs. Continue to increase by 10-foot increments.

Balance drill

This youth pitching drill helps to improve balance point and stride length.

Start a normal windup, but pause at the balance point for 3 seconds. Continue
and finish, focusing on pushing your body forward. Make sure you stay tall,
working from ball of foot to ball of foot. This improves your balance point and
stride.

Leg drills

These youth pitching drills help to build lower body strength.

A fastball's speed comes from balance, power and direction. Strengthening your legs can help you maintain these and increase the velocity of your pitches.

Catch drill

This youth pitching drill helps to build arm strength and baseball pitches.

To work on your control, play an easy game of catch with a partner. Stand approximately pitching distance apart and use the 4-seam fastball grip and a half-speed pitching delivery. For each throw to the middle of the other person's chest, award one point. Play to 10, 15 or 21.

 

 

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