Pitching Tip: Don’t Flex When You Throw?

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Perhaps one of the most difficult things to learn as a pitcher is to explode toward home plate while staying relaxed.  As a pitcher, you have to learn how to throw relaxed to succeed.  Here are some pitching tips to ensure you stay relaxed when you throw the baseball.

Gripping the ball too tight:  If you grip the ball too tight you will be hard pressed to throw strikes.  Usually pitchers who have this problem throw the ball in the dirt a lot.  Pitchers with this habit are also at a higher risk of arm injury.

It is important to remember to hold the ball like an egg but don’t throw it like one. You have to learn how to relax, regardless if the bases are loaded and it’s a full count.  You have to control your emotions on the mound so you don’t grip the ball to tight.  When you throw your bullpens pay attention to how hard you are gripping the ball and experiment with a looser grip.  For a looser grip it helps to leave a bigger gap between the ball and your hand; experiment with that as well.  Too many inexperienced pitchers keep the ball deep in the palm of their hand with their fastballs.

Flexing while Throwing: Even though this sounds like a similar mechanical problem as gripping the ball too tight, it isn’t.  Sometimes when a pitcher gets himself in a jam on the mound and tries to throw too hard he will flex his muscles much like a boxer does when punching someone or something.  Has your coach ever told you to relax and throw the ball?  Well, there is some truth to that.  Relax and let your legs, hips and core create the power.

How does staying relaxed help?  When you flex your arm and try to throw hard your arm speed actually slows down, therefore you can’t throw as hard.  If you relax your arm while throwing, your arm is along for the ride and your arm speed increases.  You will throw much harder when you learn to throw with your legs and hips while staying relaxed.

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