Emily is an athlete who enjoys sharing practice tips and methodology with others through writing.
Not All Field Positions Are Created Equal
Every player on the baseball field will, at some point, throw a ball. However, the proper throwing mechanics for each field position are significantly different. A pitcher needs to take a completely different approach than an infielder who needs to take a different approach than an outfielder and so on. There are certain, specific guidelines to follow when throwing a baseball from each of these positions. This article contains tips for four different throwing styles:
- Just Tossing in the Yard
I added that last one because not everybody is trying to practice for a certain position. Sometimes you just want to toss for fun! But there are still some good rules to follow to make sure you are protecting your arm by using your whole body well. Throwing a baseball is no easy task. First, learn the principles and then go outside and practice, practice, practice!
There is a lot more that goes into pitching than just throwing a baseball. There is strategy, focus, confidence, awareness, mental fortitude, and various grips and forms that can be used to throw a variety of pitches. Instead of teaching you the different grips (like for how to throw a sinker), let's focus on body mechanics first to make sure the "foundation form" you will use for all your other pitches is set. After reading the next paragraph, take a look at the video below. It offers sound advice for throwing from the mound.
Whatever form you end up choosing, it's important to use a consistent approach. There really is no universal wind-up that has proven to be the most effective for everyone. The main thing is just to do the same thing every time. You also want to keep energy conservation in mind, though. Don't use a wind-up that will cost you extra energy that you will need in the later innings.
Something the video does not cover is the proper stride length to use when throwing a baseball from the mound. The best rule of thumb, since everyone has different proportions, is to choose a distance that allows you to place your foot flat on the ground upon initial contact. Do not over-stride and land on your heel or under-stride and land on your toes. Always keep your momentum moving forward so you maximize your velocity, accuracy, and energy efficiency.
Throwing a baseball from the infield is all about quickness and accuracy. After first fielding the ball and getting it out of your glove, the throw has to be on target and in time. The video below focuses on the importance of footwork and momentum when throwing in the infield. Check it out and see what you think.
One thing the video does not mention but that is important to keep in mind is this: keep your hands above your shoulders. Infielders do not have the luxury that pitchers enjoy of being able to go through a full wind-up. You should be able to generate enough power for a throw across the entire infield without taking your arm around the world.
There are some key and specific principles to employ when throwing a baseball from the outfield. Outfielders will be the ones making the longest throws on the field, but they still need to be accurate. Aggressive base runners will test the limits of the outfield arms, but if you use the right technique, you can save your team a lot of runs. The video below covers how to effectively use the crow hop, body momentum, and throwing accuracy. Take a look!
4. Just Tossing in the Yard
This section is for those of you who just want to enjoy a little baseball out in the backyard with some friends or maybe your kids. Even though you're just out to have fun, you want to make sure that you avoid injury and are successful. There really isn't much to it, but some people need more help than others, and that's okay! Here are a few basic guidelines to follow when tossing around just for fun.
- Start slow. Don't make your first throws with a full wind-up. You may not even want to get to that point if you're just out with your kid, but just in case you do, give yourself at least 15–20 low-intensity tosses before revving it up in small increments.
- Step toward your target. The lower body is often forgotten, but it is a crucial part of throwing a baseball well. If you're right-handed, step with your left foot and vice versa. This will make the whole task easier on your arm.
- Lead with your gloved-arm shoulder. This requires you to rotate your upper body (i.e. a right-handed person should point their left shoulder toward ther target and vice versa). This will get your trunk engaged to—again—make it easier on your arm and also help with accuracy.
What Do You Think?
Jakob Freele on May 18, 2015:
Great article! Love to see articles about baseball. When I was a kid I used to look everywhere for articles on how to get better. Throwing a baseball is one of the most important things for young players to learn or they can seriously hurt their arms.
baseballbrains on August 30, 2014:
I like this information a lot! Good job, I especially like the part about just relaxing and playing some toss in the yard. I think that is one of the best times for a kid to play around a little bit and find some stuff out on his own. Good info for everybody!
bemily521 (author) on April 05, 2012:
Thanks! Yeah, throwing a baseball is definitely a complex and under-appreciated skill. I'm glad you found this helpful!
Mark Passarelli from Lakewood Colorado on April 03, 2012:
Nice article. I never knew there was so much to throwing a baseball. This will definitely be helpful to baseball fans everywhere.