This past Saturday the rain here in Washington took a breather mid-day just long enough for me to work with a couple pitchers. We’re beginning to slowly build some arm strength for next season. I just wanted to share a few tips as to how to go about proper long toss.
As a pitcher it is important that you play long toss. However, most pitchers are confused as to what long toss really is. Many think you are supposed to rear back and throw as far as you possibly can. Doing this means you are changing your pitching mechanics which you want to stay away from. Long toss simply means that you throw at maximum distance and intensity with perfect pitching mechanics. If this distance is only 80 feet, then throw 80 feet.
The most common problem pitchers face with their pitching mechanics when throwing long toss is not maintaining proper balance keeping their head over center of gravity. I was poking around YouTube for an example for you and found one of Cliff Lee warming up before a game. It’s a six minute clip, though the first half is especially valuable if you watch Lee’s mechanics as he lengthens himself out. Notice how you don’t see his front shoulder pointing up into the air and the ball stays on a line instead of a high arc. He’s keeping correct pitching mechanics throughout his warm up.
To learn the mechanics Lee does so well you can start by picking up a copy of our Pitching Mechanics DVD.