Pitching Lessons

By Steven Ellis former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

All about pitching lessons. As a coach, here's what to do. As a parent of a player going to a pitching lesson, here's what to expect.

How to video analyze pitchers as a teaching tool

Throwing a baseball is one of the fastest human actions in sport. Everything happens in fractions of a second. But with the use of video tape, you can study and analyze the pitching motion in greater detail. This will allow you to see aspects in a pitcher's delivery that are difficult to see with the naked eye.

Coaches need to be able to recognize proper pitching techniques during the various phases of the pitching delivery, to identify faults, and to provide solutions.

This is where videotaping pitchers is a big help.

As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, not all pitchers have to -- or should! -- throw the exact same way. Let the pitchers that you work with use his own style, as long as his mechanics don't limit his effectiveness -- and they enable him to repeat his delivery while staying injury-free. Most pitchers who have long and successful careers display the following traits:

1. good balance
2. good stability throughout the pitching motion
3. proper weight transfer
4. good body and arm alignment to the plate
5. a strong horizontal move
6. a squaring of the shoulders to the plate as the stride leg braces
7. a smooth but explosive and consistent arm action
8. a long, smooth arc of deceleration (follow through) down the outside of the stride leg

Here are some additional tips to look for and use when videotaping and analyzing the pitchers you work with. It's always useful to videotape your players from three angles -- open side (chest), front (behind home plate), and back (over the shoulder).

Side view

* Initial stance should be balanced and relaxed.
* Post up on a fairly straight posting leg; head stays over the posting leg; and body doesn't move forward until leg begins to lower.
* Stride out by lowering the lead leg about shoulder with apart and skim it forward along the ground.
* Land flat-footed, toes pointing slightly inward, to create a stable base.
* Hips open slightly at foot plant, but shoulder stays closed and opens after foot plant.

Back view

* When taking sign from catcher, head and weight over the posting leg, with no tilting.
* Front should and hip aligned to the plate during posting and weight transfer -- closed up, but not over-rotated.

Front view

* Eyes lift to refocus on target as lead leg raises (which will help with control, too).
* Hide baseball deep in glove during primary phases of delivery.
* During weight transfer forward, lead with the hip and front shoulder directly to the plate.
* On release, 45-degree arm angle and good arm extension toward the plate.
* Follow through balanced, bring the glove back in front of the body to field position and react to the baseball.


 

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