Why can't you pitch faster? Well, there are hundreds of reasons why some pitchers simply cannot throw fast. This post is designed to help these pitchers understand the reasons why they may not be achieving their desired pitching velocity.
These reasons are in no specific order or level of importance, but each is very important. Some may apply to you, while others may not. It all depends on your level of advancement and dedication to pitching.
- You're not dedicated
- You aren't willing to train during times other than practice.
- You make excuses.
- You lack motivation.
- You think your raw talent is good enough.
- You don't think it's possible.
- You think hard work is scary.
- You aren't willing to get out of your comfort zone.
- You don't have the necessary knowledge.
- You think weightlifting will make you throw slower.
- You don't throw enough.
- You throw more off-speed than fastballs.
- You spend more time long tossing than you do in the bullpen.
- You're not utilizing a camera.
- You train your upper body more than your legs and core.
- You're not 6'5€³.
- You have too much excess body fat.
- You run long distance.
- You don't sprint enough.
- You don't train the rotator cuff muscles.
- You aren't using a legitimate training program or regime.
- You train the front of your upper body more than the rear.
Dedication is the key to pitching faster, and excelling in any sport. Professional athletes didn't get where they are by sitting back, and watching other people work hard. They dedicated themselves day-in and day-out to becoming the best player that they can possibly be.
To achieve in sports you first have to have a dream, and then you must act on that dream. The best athletes are those who truly enjoy what they are doing and display a tremendous amount of work ethic.
They continue to persevere in spite of setbacks and never lose sight of their ultimate goal.
This applies to every sport, but especially pitching. Pitching is one of the most complicated movements in all sports, and it requires a significant amount of practice outside of your typical two hour team practice session after school.
Professional pitchers spend countless hours outside of practice trying to perfect their mechanics, and strength training to develop stronger bodies. Unless you are extremely talented and gifted, you will need to train outside of practice in order pitch faster.
Practice is simply not enough.
Baseball players who don't train outside of practice always have an excuse whether it's homework, a girlfriend, work, or "practice was really hard today."
To put it in perspective for the excuse makers: I practiced or played in games on a daily basis for my college team, trained before or after practice, worked on homework for five classes, had and still have a girlfriend, and I worked.
Moral of the story, stop making excuses for your unwillingness to work hard. There is always time, but you have to be willing to use it.
The fact that you're even reading this article is showing that you might be motivated to changing your pitching ability. Unfortunately, many pitchers are not motivated to getting better. There could several reasons for this, but it usually ties back into dedication, whether or not they love the game of baseball, and love the feeling of competition.
Do you believe you're a starter or a benchwarmer?
Do you believe you're an all-star or an also ran?
If the answers to these questions are the latter, your play on the field will reflect it.
But when you've learned to shut off outside influences and believe in yourself, there's no telling how good a player you can be.
That's because you have the mental edge.
So maybe you're a high schooler that throws 85 mph. Well that's excellent and you are very talented, but many pitchers who have this ability will often times take it granted. It's important that if you have the raw talent to continue building on it. There is no limit that a pitcher can reach.
Many pitchers simply think it's not possible to throw faster. This is the farthest thing away from the truth. I could have accepted my fate as a 79-82 mph pitcher, but instead I dedicated myself to working harder with a goal of 85 mph. I reached 87 in less than a year. You can do it, but only if you're dedicated.
To be honest, putting in work outside of practice require a significant amount of motivation. This alone makes hard work a daunting idea. Hard work also requires individuals to push themselves past a certain level of comfortability. It's important to understand that these efforts will pay off.
Getting out of your training comfort zone is essential for pitching faster. Finishing those two extra sprints, or pushing yourself for two more reps are examples. These efforts are what separate elite pitchers from the average ones.
Don't be content with average because average is just as close to the bottom as it is to the top.
For most pitchers, your knowledge is obtained from coaches, parents, and sometimes from a random guy at the gym. In most circumstances, these people are not really providing you with the necessary and specific steps to pitching faster. This why you must educate yourself, and weed out any instruction that isn't backed by research.
In high school, I used to believe that this was true as well. It wasn't until I discovered TUFFCUFF to truly understand that weightlifting is actually extremely beneficial for pitching velocity. If you aren't weightlifting and you're a senior in high school or a college player, then you are missing out on a golden opportunity to pitch faster.
I agree with Eric Cressey about pitchers taking time off from throwing following a long baseball season. However, before that rest period, you should be throwing on a consistent basis. This includes bullpen sessions at least two times a week, and long toss 2-3 times a week as well. Some professional pitchers throw about 300 out of the 365 days in a year.
If you want to throw faster, you need to throw more fastballs. Off-speed pitches do not build arm strength in any way. When warming up, you should probably throw around 80 to 85 percent fastballs, and the other percentage can be your off-speed.
Depending on how many pitches you throw, this percentage may change in bullpen sessions. But if you can't locate your fastball on both sides of the plate and you are topping out at 80 mph, why are you throwing 50 percent or more off-speed in your bullpen sessions? The fastball is the best pitch in baseball, and the best pitch for developing arm strength.
This is a huge mistake. Long toss is an outstanding training method for pitchers, but developing excellent pitching mechanics on a mound is much more important. Spend less time long tossing, spend more time refining your mechanics.
Recording bullpen sessions is one of the best ways to perfect pitching mechanics. The throwing motion is too fast, and complex to effectively analyze with the naked eye. It needs to be analyzed step-by-step in order to fix any mechanical flaws. This is a highly recommended method for pitching faster.
While muscular balance is important, legs and core strength is much more specific to pitching. Kinetic energy begins in the legs making it the primary source of power. Look at any professional pitcher, and you will see that they all have tree trunk legs.
Old instructors used to obsess about the height of a pitcher and its relation to velocity potential. With pitchers like Tim Linecum, Roy Oswalt, and Pedro Martinez, this theory has been erased. Now it's becoming more understood that efficient pitching mechanics is the reason for velocity, not height. But let's be honest, there is no doubt that CC Sabathia picks some velo because of his massive size. Smaller pitchers have to put more effort into refining and building explosive mechanics. It's harder work, but it's not impossible.
Yes, I know, Bartolo Colon, CC Sabathia, and David Wells do not have the most impressive physiques. However, these pitchers are exceptions to the rule. Do you think Tim Lincecum could achieve his mechanics if he was 50 pounds overweight? No sir. Pitchers should try to be athletic, lean, and explosive.
Play like you're in your first. Train like you're in second.
Long distance running is one of the biggest training mistakes for any pitcher. It does not train the correct energy system, and can actually reduce velocity and explosiveness.
Sprints are essential for training an energy system more specific to the explosive movements of the pitching delivery. Sprints should and can be performed before or after pitching, and three to four times a week depending on conditioning level.
Training the rotator cuff is essential for preventing injury and increasing pitching velocity. Rotator cuff exercises should be utilized at least 2-3 times a week. Some pitchers perform them as many as 4-5 times a week in some cases.
Pitchers need to use a well-designed training program. Going to the gym clueless will never help you develop a stronger body necessary for pitching. Having a set regime can really improve velocity. Popular pitching-specific training programs include: 3X Pitching Velocity, Tuffcuff, and Show and Go training.
So many baseball players are obsessed about their physique and how it appears to people who are looking directly at them. Unfortunately for these players, they are training muscles that are the least utilized in pitching and batting such as the biceps and chest. Most pitching-specific training programs will rely on a 2-1 ratio of back to chest exercises. For arms, it's either 1-1 ratio, or 2-1 with the majority being triceps exercises.
Pitchers aren't body builders. Spend more time training the muscles that will help you throw faster such as the lats, triceps, scaps, and decelerator rotator cuff muscles.
Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.
Learn more about my off-season workout programs for pitchers
To get to the next level, preparation matters. Your work ethic matters. Being committed to the process matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching. The journey is just as important as the end result.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.
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