Have you considered that lack of pitching velocity A can be due to being uptight or tense when you throw? Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do as a pitcher is to be explosive yet relaxed at the same time. If you use your legs as leverage and lead with your hips correctly then you are learning to create real momentum toward the plate which leads to an explosive fastball.
Many pitchers never learn how to throw with their legs and hips correctly because they are too tense or flexed when they throw. They don’t do enough reps to know what it “feels” like to throw relaxed yet be explosive.
Don’t know if you are too tense when you throw? Here are a few pointers that will help you find out:
Shrugging the shoulders: When pitchers start with shrugged shoulders I immediately inform them to take a deep breath and relax. When they throw relaxed their arm is along for the ride. When they tense up their arm speed slows down drastically and they have a difficult time throwing strikes. Take a deep breath and make sure your shoulders are completely relaxed when you throw.
Jumping to Foot Strike: There are those pitchers who try to explode to foot strike, which they should; however their lack of balance effects their velocity when they jump toward home plate. Their head bobbles up and down instead of keeping it level (smooth) toward the plate. When a pitchers jumps they usually try to push off the pitching rubber too hard with their pivot foot which can cause them to flex when they throw.
Gripping the baseball too tight: When a pitcher grips the ball too tight they not only lack control, but they lack velocity. This one is obvious. If you simply flex when you throw, or you are uptight in any way, your arm speed slows. Many pitchers who have this problem also complain of arm pain in the elbow or forearm. How tight do you grip the ball? Hold it like an egg but don’t throw it like one.
Looking robotic: Throwing the baseball is really done in one “continuous” motion. Have you ever paid close attention to a starting pitchers throwing motion on any major league team? If so, have you seen how “smooth” or how relaxed they are when they throw? In other words, their motion isn’t choppy. They are completely relaxed yet they explode toward the plate using their legs and hips for power.
There are many other signs of being too tense while throwing, but I hope you get the point. What will help you stay relaxed the most is simply taking a deep breath before each pitch and be consciously aware of how you “feel”. If you feel too tense take a step off the mound and regroup to ensure you are mentally able to throw. The best pitchers can stay relaxed under pressure situations. Justin Su’a will be informing us how to do that in an upcoming newsletter.
Looking for an explosive fastball? Look here!