By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
The following baseball pitching drills are designed to break down the pitching motion into progressions that can be isolated. These pitching drills can be done from shorter throwing distances.
Pitching drills #1: Slow motion drill
Standing on the rubber, or a simulated rubber, or simply line in the dirt or grass and without a ball, the pitcher begins the pitching progression as slow as he or she possibly can.
This baseball pitching drill allows the coach and the pitcher to look very closely at each progression of the motion and make corrections. The pitcher fakes a pitch and completes the progression with the follow through.
Pitching drills #2: Pivot foot drill
The pivot foot drill begins with the pitcher's pivot foot or power foot placed against the rubber with the instep facing the target or the plate. The weight is on the stride foot. At this point the body should be in control and above the plane of the rubber. The pitcher transfers the weight to the pivot foot which then creates the directional side (meaning glove side pointing to the plate) and goes right through to the knee lift and finishes the progression.
This drill reinforces the control over the rubber as well as the creation of the directional side.
Pitching drills #3: Knee lift drill
Starting in the knee lift position, the pitcher simply holds a proper, comfortable knee lift for three to five seconds, and then completes the progression moving to the stride and launch positions.
This drill reinforces the balance needed and controlled direction towards the plate.
Pitching drills #4: Launch drill
With the feet separated more than shoulder-width apart, and in a good launch position (both elbows at shoulder height, ball facing away and throwing arm in an “L shape), the pitcher stride foot slightly, transfer weight from the pivot foot back to the stride foot, continue with the progression by driving the glove side elbow down and back past the hip, and throw the ball with a good follow through.
If needed, the coach can reinforce any position of the launch by simply holding or reinforcing the position. For instance, a pitcher may drag his elbow through the delivery, and the coach may correct it by holding the elbow at the correct height at the start of the launch.
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