How to Throw a Baseball
Posted By Brad on June 29, 2015
The average kid is taught to throw a baseball with just a couple of steps of instruction. However, the proper mechanics of throwing a baseball is not that simple. Throwing requires the entire body to work together in order to throw the ball accurately with some power behind it. Every position on the field requires the ability to throw the ball accurately. Good throwing mechanics can really set you a part from the crowd. When you play catch in the yard or warm up with the team before practice, make sure you work on your mechanics and strive to improve each of the six techniques below.
1. The Grip
Start by finding your grip on the baseball. If you’re a beginner — and really anytime you’re just playing catch — it’s best to use the four-seam grip. It’s called the four-seam grip because you can see all four seams rotating as the ball travels through the air. Generally speaking, this grip allows you to throw the ball straighter and with more velocity than any other grip.
Grip the ball softly (think of the ball as an egg and don’t crush it) with the index & middle fingers across a seam and the thumb on the opposite side of the ball. Do not smother the ball in the palm of the hand but rather hold it lightly in the pads (tips) of the fingers.
2. The Wrist
Beginners often miss how to use their wrist when throwing the ball. When the ball is brought back in the throwing motion, the wrist should be cocked back. This way the wrist can be used as part of the throwing motion. Young players often keep a stiff wrist and miss out on the added speed that a good wrist flick can add. So in review, release the ball with your fingers on top of the baseball, and flick your wrist downwards.
You can practice this skill by holding your throwing arm just above the wrist with your glove hand. It’s also good to take a knee when working on your wrist and arm mechanics. Bend your throwing arm at the elbow with your forearm vertical. Keeping your arm in this position, practice throwing the ball with just your wrist and fingers. It may feel strange at first, but keep working on this skill. The wrist and fingers play a major role in the accuracy and strength of your throw.
3. The Arm
The throwing motion should be fluid and circular. The circular motion will aid your throw by providing more natural momentum than simply bringing your arm straight back and then forward. The next principle when throwing a baseball is to always throw the ball with your elbow above your shoulder. If you are throwing with a good circular motion, you will naturally bring that elbow up. If you drop your elbow in your throwing motion you will put much more strain on the shoulder. The non throwing arm, or the glove arm, should be out in front of your body. And then finish your throwing motion by following through completely. Your back leg should come forward and your throwing arm should reach all the way down to your opposite knee.
4. The Shoulders
When throwing a baseball you want your front shoulder to point in the direction of where you are throwing. So after fielding the ball you will be turning your body sideways and then pointing your lead shoulder in the direction of the throw.
5. The Core
A great throwing motion works from the ground up. Develop a strong, flexible lower body, hips and core. Much of your throwing power comes from your core.
Click here to see why your core torso strength is so important in throwing, as well as some exercises to build your core strength.
6. The Feet
Your feet and shoulders should be in line with your target. Once you have everything lined up, you’ll want to step toward the target with your lead foot, push off your back leg, and throw the ball using your entire body. Finish your throwing motion by following through completely. Your back leg should come forward and your throwing arm should reach all the way across and down to your opposite knee.
To summarize, in one motion, extend your glove out towards the target and your throwing hand back. Your arms should now be spread out so that your body resembles the letter T. This is often referred to as ‘getting extension,’ and it’s an critical habit to develop.
Here is a video demonstrating some of the mechanics mentioned above and some throwing drills. Coach Matty will break down the progressions and steps on how to throw a baseball. He also demonstrates how to properly warm-up your arm, as well as build arm strength.