Basic Throwing Mechanics

By Tim Wall MS/ATC

Mastering Basic Baseball Throwing Mechanics

Welcome to joionline.net! In this article, we’re going to break down the essentials of basic baseball throwing mechanics. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to polish your skills, mastering the proper mechanics is key to performing well on the diamond. We’ll discuss how to improve arm strength and accuracy, and how to improve your form while steering clear of common errors. Our goal is to provide you with practical tips and insights that will help you prevent injuries.  So, let’s get started on your journey to mastering basic baseball throwing mechanics!

JOI Rehab clinicians have the most experience in the Jacksonville Area for treating baseball athletes with throwing injuries and biomechanics.  A good throwing program can certainly prevent injuries and keep you playing the sport you love!

Baseball Injuries to the elbow and shoulder

Baseball Biomechanics

Grasping the Basics

To get a handle on basic baseball throwing mechanics, it’s important to understand the basics. Each step of the throwing motion is critical in ensuring precision, speed, and avoiding injury.

First and foremost is getting a proper grip on the baseball. How you grip the ball affects how it leaves your hand, influencing both the direction and the spin. Holding the ball firmly with your fingertips on the seams gives you better control and accuracy, and also puts more spin on the ball for breaking pitches.

Then, there’s the importance of proper arm position and alignment. Your throwing arm should be relaxed with the ball in the glove of your other hand. This allows for maximum power and puts less strain on your arm. Remember, too much tension or overextension can slow you down and increase the chance of injury.  One of the best tips for throwing a baseball is when the hand with the ball leaves the glove to throw, your hand position should be thumb down and up.  The arm motion should create a half circle.

4 Steps for Basic Baseball Mechanics

Step 1 – Create a circular motion with your throwing arm during the wind-up phase. When your hand leaves your glove, your thumb should be pointed towards the ground and then it rotates upward.

JOI Biomechanics

Proper Throwing Mechanics

Step 2 – Make sure your hand/ball is moving directly behind you during the cocking phase. This will help ensure you open up your shoulders and chest.

JOI Dartfish Program for throwing athletes

Baseball Throwing Mechanics

Step 3 – The throwing motion begins when you tuck the glove.  This allows your trunk to rotate and engages your core to assist with throwing the ball.  During your throw, make sure your throwing elbow is above or at your throwing shoulder level. This will help relieve some of the stress on the elbow.

Baseball Biomechanics

JOI Throwing Programs

Step 4 -Footwork is another integral part of throwing mechanics. Correct footwork ensures balance, stability, and smooth weight transfer during the throw. As you get ready to throw, the right positioning of your feet will help you power up and aim accurately. Your front foot should be aimed at your target, while your back foot provides a stable base for the throw. Good footwork allows for a seamless and efficient energy transfer from your lower body to your upper body.

Make sure you step with your foot pointed straight at the target. Follow-through with your trailing leg to leave yourself in a well-balanced fielding position.  A proper follow-through and release point are vital for a precise and strong throw. After releasing the ball, make sure to extend your arm fully towards your target and follow through with your throwing motion. This will maximize your speed and ensure the ball goes where you want it to.

Baseball Program Proper Follow Through

Proper Follow Through

Training Tips and Avoiding Common Errors

When it comes to mastering basic baseball throwing mechanics, perfecting your technique and avoiding common errors is essential. In this section, we’ll look at some key points to focus on to improve your throwing skills.

Avoid overstepping or too long of a stride is another error to avoid.  Overstepping, or taking a step that’s too big, can throw you off balance and negatively affect your accuracy. Focus on taking a controlled and balanced step towards your target, keeping your weight centered and your body aligned.

Other common mistakes in throwing mechanics can develop bad habits and could cause injuries.  Some of these include an incorrect arm angle, bad footwork, and an improper grip. To fix these errors, work on maintaining a consistent arm angle throughout your throw, practice proper footwork drills, and ensure you have a firm and comfortable grip on the ball.

By perfecting your technique and steering clear of common errors, you can greatly improve your basic baseball throwing mechanics.  To look at your mechanics of throwing you can shadow throw or throw with a small towel in your hand in a mirror.  Remember to practice regularly and seek advice from experienced coaches or trainers to further enhance your skills.

Good Baseball Mechanics

Good Baseball Mechanics

Core Strength

Keep a strong body core abdominal mid-section as this is the key to producing more speed and endurance in the throwing motion.  To learn more about exercises for your core, please read this awesome article by JOI Rehab.  A strong core is one of the best ways to prevent shoulder and elbow injuries.

The Throwers Ten Exercises

In all of my years of experience with baseball and softball athletes, I believe many of the injuries that I have seen could have been prevented by correcting bad mechanics and improving the flexibility and strength of the shoulder, elbow and wrist.  The throwers ten exercises are a great place to start.  Obtain and maintain good shoulder strength by doing the Throwers Ten Strengthening Exercises.

Shoulder Strengthening

External Rotation Strengthening

Improving Arm Strength and Accuracy

Building up arm strength and accuracy is key for any baseball player looking to boost their throwing mechanics. Focusing on effective warm-up exercises, drills for enhancing arm strength and throwing speed, and improving your accuracy through target practice, you can improve your overall performance on the field.  A big mistake for some baseball pitchers is when they overthrow the baseball.  They change their mechanics in order to throw harder.  Increased speed can be obtained by improving the strength of the upper body and your core muscles.

Before you start any throwing exercises, make sure to warm up properly to prevent injuries. Good warm-up exercises include a short jog, and shoulder and wrist stretches.  It is so important to work on wrist, forearm, shoulder flexibility and strength in order to throw a baseball or softball.  These exercises help get blood flowing to the muscles, improve flexibility, and lower the risk of strains or injuries.

To build up arm strength and throwing speed, you can include specific drills in your training routine. Long toss drills and resistance band workouts are all good options. These drills strengthen the muscles used in throwing and boost the power and speed of your throws.  It is important to maintain good mechanics with long tossing.  There should be a good arc on the ball with doing long toss.

Accuracy 

Accuracy is just as vital as strength in throwing mechanics. Target practice drills can help you develop precision and consistency. You can set up targets at various distances and aim for specific points to improve your accuracy. Start with larger targets and gradually make them smaller as your skills get better.  When playing catch, have your partner move his glove around and aim for the glove in different positions.

With regular practice of these exercises and drills, you can gradually increase arm strength, improve throwing speed, and develop pinpoint accuracy. Always remember to listen to your body, take breaks when needed, and seek advice from a coach or trainer for personalized guidance.

Do not throw too many curveballs, breaking balls, and sliders which can certainly cause excessive stress on the elbow and shoulder.  To learn more about the Biomechanics of baseball pitchers, please go to this ARTICLE.

A Final Thought

For baseball pitchers, keep track of your pitch count so you know what your threshold is (that is, what your body/arm can handle).  Early in the season, the pitch count should be 40-60.  The pitch count can increase as the season goes along.  The pitch count should rarely go above 100 pitches, however this really depends on the speed of the throws and the types of pitches.  Most leagues and organizations now have pitch count rules in place.  These are rules that should be adhered to by everyone.  The goal is to try to prevent future injuries in a sport that we all love.

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To learn more about Direct Access to Physical Therapy without seeing an MD, please read this ARTICLE.

JOI and JOI Rehab

We hope that this article has helped you learn more about the proper mechanics of throwing.  If you have questions or need help related to pain in the elbow or shoulder, give us a call.  We are here to assist you with all of your orthopedic needs.  JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

By: Tim Wall, MS, ATC

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