5 Tips for Throwing Harder
Posted Wed Sep 15, 2021 by Coach James
Wanna throw harder? Here's what you need to know.
A college ballplayer recently asked me if I had any tips on how to throw harder. My response? "There's so much. But here's a start." I'm going to share with you what I shared with him. And it really is just a start. Here are 5 tips for increasing velocity:
1. Learn to load and explode with your glutes
So many guys have great, athletic bodies but have no clue how to use them. For pitchers, we are dependent on learning how to create and release energy using our legs. Keeping the back knee "stacked" and creating flexion in the back knee and hip is what allows the glutes to load and fire efficiently through the delivery. A great workout to develop this feel is ski hops. I have all my guys finish their workouts with a set of ski hops (among other jumping exercises) for this exact purpose.
2. Increase hip and spine mobility
Range of motion is vital for a pitcher's health and mechanical efficiency. If you have big legs and a strong core, but don't have flexibility/mobility, then your strength is practically useless and you'll be prone to injury. That's why I recommend starting each throwing session with a series of spine and hip mobility exercises. In Virtual Pitching Academy, we supply our athletes with these routines so they know exactly what to do each day before throwing.
3. Get more hip to shoulder separation
Hip to shoulder separation is when the hips rotate forward while the shoulders remain closed at foot strike. This disconnection creates a rubber band like tension that allows you to more explosively whip your torso and arm through space. Increase this while maintaining good timing, and you'll start throwing harder.
4. Speed up your arm with a weighted ball program
At Virtual Pitching Academy, we strongly recommend a carefully implemented overloaded and underloaded throwing program. Utilizing weighted balls helps the arm to build strength and allows the athlete to fix mechanics (more on this another time). Underweighted balls (used after several weeks of overloaded training) helps the athlete speed up his mechanics to throw harder than ever. Much has been said about weighted ball programs, but I truly believe that they are effective if done with good mechanics. Bad mechanics will always lead to injury, and weighted and underweighted balls will only accelerate that process. You also need to have a solid plan for how long to throw weighted balls and at what intensity. I've curated several throwing programs to get you into the best throwing shape of your life, which can be found in Virtual Pitching Academy.
5. Clean up your arm path so you don't get hurt
Doing the kind of throwing program mentioned above is dangerous with an unhealthy arm path. Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation out there about how the arm should move through space. I follow the tested teaching of Bill Peterson (private coach out of Colorado), and have seen guys build velocity and completely overcome arm pain. I teach this arm path and give drills to improve it in the website as well. Here are the basics: keep your arm outside 90 degrees all the way through the throwing motion and keep it in as neutral of a position as possible. I call this staying "neutral and natural".
I know for a fact that these things will help you increase veto. Why am I so confident? Because I've seen guys gain velo in MINUTES over and over and over again. You simply need to have a plan and some clear instruction. The rest is up to you.