How To Pitch A Baseball
By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
Pitching a baseball is more complicated than simply throwing a ball. Pitching itself is an acquired skill and there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Pitching a baseball takes a lot of practice to do well, and everyone has an opinion on the correct way to do it. In this article, I will summarize the major parts of how to pitch a baseball. Keep in mind these instructions are for a right handed thrower. If you are a lefty, simply reverse these instructions.
In this article, I will discuss how to pitch from the windup. The windup is used when there are no runners on base in the advanced levels, and is used almost exclusively in the lower ages.
To begin, start on the rubber with your feet about shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing towards home plate. Your heels should be on the rubber, and your toes should be dangling off the front. Hold your glove out in front of you with the ball in it. You may either keep your throwing hand inside the glove holding the ball, or you may let it hang to your side.
The next step is to grip the ball with the grip you wish to use. It is very important to keep the ball hidden during this process so the other team can't see which pitch you are throwing.
To start the windup, drop your left foot back a few inches, and pivot your right foot so it is against the edge of the pitching rubber. The right side of the right foot should be pressing against the edge of the rubber. As you do this, your body should turn toward third base.
Next, lift your left leg straight up to the point where your thigh is at least parallel to the ground. You should be able to stop in this position and still maintain your balance. If you can't hold your balance, it is possible your leg lift is too high.
The next few steps should happen at the same time. Break your hands apart in a downward motion. Your glove and throwing hand should make this move in unison. As you drop your hands, you also want to lower your left leg straight down. As your left leg is almost straight, your arms should have finished their drop as well.
When your left leg gets to the bottom, you want to slightly bend your right leg to collect your weight. This will be important when it comes time to push off the rubber. As you bend your back knee, smoothly glide your left foot outwards towards home plate. In the process of gliding your left foot out, you should be pushing off your right leg in order to gain momentum. Your upper body should remain facing third base during this process. During the glide, your arms should finish the circle by coming up into the throwing position in unison.
When your left foot hits the ground, it should still be at a closed angle. You don't want your toes pointing towards home plate just yet. As you land with your left leg, your right leg should naturally swing up into the air as a result of your momentum. While this is taking place, you want to fire your hips around to generate power from your core. This is when you will release the ball.
After the ball is released, it is time for the finish. Having a good finish is important to ensure good mechanics as well as keeping your arm healthy. Allow your arm to continue downwards as your back leg follows through. You should finish with a nearly flat back, and your feet should be about even once again.
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