9 Fun And Effective Little League Baseball Pitching Drills
By Steven Ellis former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
The point of using pitching drills in little league baseball practice is to help younger pitchers develop the confidence and pitching skills to reach their fullest potential. Here's a list of some fun and effective little league baseball pitching drills to help you or or pitchers succeed. They can make teaching pitching a lot more fun, as well as drill proper pitching fundamentals and techniques in young pitchers.
1. Knee Drill - Throw to partner from the knees with the knees/hips at about a 45-degree angle to your partner. Purpose is to isolate the upper half and work on upper half mechanics such as getting the arms to an "opposite and equal" position and then making the transition to the "swivel and stabilize" position. Can also work a little bit on stabilizing posture as well as hip and shoulder separation.
2. Hershiser Drill - Stand sideways to a padded wall or chain link fence, lift the stride knee and push the front hip into the wall/fence so that the hip is the only part that touches the wall/fence. Practice shifting the hips earlier and earlier until they are moving as soon as the stride foot lifts off the ground. Purpose is to get comfortable with moving forward sooner.
3. Rocker Drill - Stand with back foot positioned like it's still against the rubber and front foot planted after stride. Bend the knees a bit. Position arms in opposite and equal position. Rock back and forth (to simulate motion towards the target) a couple times and then throw to partner making the transition to "swivel and stabilize". Keep the back foot on the ground. Purpose is to practice upper body mechanics - opposite and equal, swivel and stabilize, hip and shoulder separation, posture stabilization. Isolates the upper half but not as much as knee drill.
4. Mirror Drill (with partner) or 5. Wall Drill (by yourself) - Start like in Rocker drill except with arms folded in front of you and with front foot side-by-side with partner or with toe against wall without partner. Shift hips forward until front knee touches partner's knee or wall. Rotate the hips as far as possible releasing the back foot to turn over. Keep the shoulders closed. Hold the position for a few seconds then rotate the shoulders to square up. Then track forward keep head and upper spine stacked upright ("stack and track") until forearms touch partner's or wall. Push on partner or wall for a few seconds and release. Do these a few times and then do another round with arms in opposite and equal position. After the shoulders square and glove swivels, press backside of glove against partner's glove or wall. Extend throwing hand out front and check position to make sure it's in front of front foot. This drill is a position drill (as opposed to a movement drill) that puts the body in certain positions so you can feel what it feels like to be in those positions. The pressing also works a little strength in these positions.
6. Cross Over Drill - Stand in the set position. Cross the front leg over the back leg. Bend the knees to get both feet flat on the ground. Stick the front hip out in front of the rest of the body (i.e. towards home plate). Now deliver the ball from that position. Purpose is to practice getting the hips going early and to lead with the front hip. The drill prepositions the body for doing this and makes it almost automatic.
7. Narrow Stance Drill - Same as the Cross Over Drill except feet are placed side-by-side and touching. This drill simply serves as a transition from the rocker drill to normal stance pitching.
8. Towel Drill - Target distance should be "stride plus five" - pitcher's stride length plus 5 heel-to-toe steps. Purpose is to practice total body mechanics. You've got to put it all together to get out front and hit the target. This is not about "extension" or "snapping down".
9. Step Behinds - This is not really a drill (as the NPA teaches). Rather it is a warm-up technique that serves as a transition between playing catch and pitching. It introduces the knee lift and forward motion to help the pitcher get accustomed to throwing with a knee lift and with some movement towards the target.
Related Pitching Materials
Want to learn more about youth baseball pitching? 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!