The Real Secret to Pitching Velocity and Control
Coach Mills on November 27, 2006 | No Comments
Every pitcher wants to know the real secret to pitching velocity with pinpoint control. However, it isn’t until pitchers get to college and finish growing that they realize that pitching velocity cannot be improved by doing long toss, lifting weights, doing special drills, or throwing weighted baseballs. Most college pitchers have tried every pitching velocity secret from the time they started high school baseball. They finally realize after wasting hour upon hour that they do not work. Even parents of Little League pitchers want to know the secret to gaining another 5 to 7 mph of pitching velocity. Many should realize first that early matures who are bigger have the advantage over the late developers.
All Little League pitchers would be far better served by simply focusing on improving their mechanical skills since most don’t have the capacity to gain added strength. If none of those mentioned activities works to improve pitching velocity then what does? Is there a secret that most coaches and pitching instructors do not know? Yes, I believe there is, and yet the reason that coaches don’t know about it is that it requires that they fully understand pitching mechanics, how to recognize pitching faults, and then how to set up valuable practice routines that provide needed feedback for the pitcher and the coach. Gaining valuable feedback is the key to improvement for pitchers.
They need to know what their problems are, what is holding them back, and then how to make the needed adjustment. Here’s the secret that not one coach in a 100 is currently recommending, and yet this tool is being used successfully by thousands of aspiring pitchers. The real secret to improving pitching velocity is for coaches and instructors to stop recommending time-wasting activities that don’t work and, instead, have pitchers pitch from the mound while videotaping their deliveries. This is the only real way for pitchers to recognize what is holding them back while working on improvement during every single pitching practice session.
Most Coaches Cannot Recognize Pitching Faults
The reason coaches and instructors don’t videotape pitchers pitching from the mound is that most do not have a good working knowledge of which mechanical faults cause reduced performance. This is why coaches want pitchers doing foolish activities such as the towel drill, long toss, lifting weights, or even throwing weighted baseballs.
None of those activities has proven to be valuable for improving pitching velocity or pitching performance. The book, “The Science and Art of Baseball Pitching: The Coach’s Complete Handbook of Scientific Pitching,” explains and reveals researched evidence as to why none of those activities works, but just wastes pitcher’s valuable time instead. If pitchers are not videotaped during each pitching session, there is a good chance that they are actually getting worse instead of better.
After all, pitching is an explosive movement, and a pitcher’s arm acceleration is the fastest movement in sports. There is no coach or instructor at any level, including the big leagues, with any amount of experience who can recognize the many mechanical faults, which reduce velocity, control, and lead to more arm injuries. You cannot see it with just the naked eye.
This means that thousands of pitchers who are taking pitching lessons are really not improving because instructors are not using any measurable tools that indicate improvement, such as video analysis. Most instructors just stand back with their arms folded while telling pitchers what to do. Yet, the pitcher has little if any feedback to help him understand whether he is making progress or not.
This can provide frustration and actually reduce a pitcher’s confidence in his ability to improve. Wouldn’t it make sense to videotape the pitcher after every fifth pitch, and then have the pitcher and the instructor look at the video to see what happened, whether the pitcher made the improvement or not. If this is done the pitcher now has the required feedback from the video to help him make the needed adjustment during the next set of pitches. The instructor can then demonstrate and explain the correction so that the pitcher understands exactly what he will be attempting during his next five pitches.
Lessons Without Video are Useless
The coach can then have the pitcher feedback to him exactly what the instruction is. The video then becomes a far more valuable tool to the pitcher than just listening to a coach barking instructions from behind the mound. Any pitching lesson without videotaping is mostly a complete waste of time and money. I would estimate that pitchers during the offseason who get pitching lessons from private instructors have little chance of gaining measurable improvement. As I said, many are actually going to be worse at the end. Few of these instructors, many of whom are former professional pitchers, can explain to a pitcher how to gain more pitching velocity. This explanation should be required by every coach and instructor. If the pitcher does not understand this, then how does the coach or instructor believe he will improve his velocity.
Why don’t they explain how pitching velocity is produced? Because they don’t know. If they did they would not be recommending long toss, weight lifting, special drills, or throwing weighted baseballs. Most coaches and instructors still believe that pitching velocity comes from gaining more arm strength. Arm strength has little to do with pitching velocity. (Read my other blog articles on velocity for more information).
I know of one successful major league pitcher who was throwing 91 to 93 mph as a college pitcher, and now pitches between 86 to 88 mph. He is a long toss advocate but, with years of long toss, he cannot gain even 1 mph on his fastball.
What happened? When he got to pro ball they changed his mechanics. That change cost him at least 5 mph on his fastball. He could get it back this offseason if he just looked at his college tape and saw what he was doing then compared to what he is doing now. The Japanese have figured out a real secret to pitching velocity that when combined with videotaping can boost not only velocity but create pinpoint control, reduce injuries and boost stamina so that pitchers can pitch deeper into games all season long. I will be talking about that technique next time.
Or, you can read about it in, “The Science and Art of Baseball Pitching: The Coach’s Complete Handbook of Scientific Pitching,” the only fully researched book in baseball history that provides more than 500 scientific references to back up every statement in the book rather than listening to some coach’s opinion or beliefs. Learn why long toss, weight lifting, weighted balls, pitching drills, flat ground throwing, or less-than-game-intensity pitching do not work to improve either pitching velocity or improve performance.