Sidearm Pitching

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

When a pitcher is throwing sidearm, it always seems to cause a big deal amongst other players, fans, etc. I never really understood this thinking…

In this article, I will go into detail about the negatives of sidearm pitching, and you can decide for yourself if sidearm pitching is really all its cracked up to be.

It is proven that sidearm pitchers are more prone to injuries than over the top pitchers. There is a lot of strain placed on the elbow and shoulder when throwing from the side. A college or pro scout does not want to invest in a young side arm pitcher who may get hurt later in his career. Most of the side arm guys you see in the big leagues did not get to the pros throwing side arm. They most likely came to the pros with good over the top mechanics, and eventually were trained to throw side arm.

The typical pitch from a sidearm pitcher is not as effective as that of an over hander. Once the “weirdness” of the side arm delivery wears off, a hitter is left with a mediocre fast ball and mediocre off speed. It is very rare to find a side armer throwing in the mid 90’s, and usually the junk of a side armer is not very effective. The ball just doesn’t like to move as much as it does when thrown over the top.

However, there are a few strong points to throwing sidearm. The initial shock to hitters from your weird delivery can be enough to get you through a couple of innings unscathed. This can be a great benefit if you are a reliever.

If you are a young pitcher trying to decide between over the top and sidearm, I recommend going the traditional route. Sure, everyone will say how cool it is to be throwing sidearm, but who really cares? You will be less effective against the hitters, and your arm will suffer in the long run.

However, if you are in the upper leagues of baseball and have found success throwing sidearm, stick with it! Don’t change what is isn’t broken.

So what do you think? Would you teach your kid to throw sidearm, or over the top?


 

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