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The glove side in pitching mechanics is a controversial topic among instructors, but some consensus has been met regarding this segment of the throwing motion.
A baseball pitcher's glove side comes into motion at the breaking of the hands. Typically, as the hands break, both the throwing arm and glove arm will swing up to what's referred to as a "cocked" position. Both arms will swing up simultaneously into this position.
Once both your throwing and glove side arm have reached the ready position the lower and upper half of your body should be closed, exploding towards home, and your glove should be aimed at the target. At foot strike, your hips will violently rotate towards home plate with your upper body and arm subsequently rotating once your hips have completely opened.
Having a good glove side can promote proper hip to shoulder separation, which is vital to pitching velocity. Staying closed and moving sideways for as long as possible are two aspects that must be focused on in your baseball pitching mechanics.
2 glove side pitching mechanics flaws to avoid
There are two key mechanical flaws that you must avoid when it comes to the glove side:
- First, when you begin to swing both arms into the ready position, you must avoid swinging to the side. Many pitchers will swing their glove side almost behind their back, and not directly towards the target.
- Secondly, pitchers must make sure that both arms are swinging up in a circular motion. The glove side and throwing arm should not be lifted with the elbows similar to a motion of a bird flapping its wings.
Every part of your body should remain aimed at the target during the pitching mechanics, especially the glove side. If your glove side swings behind your back, then you become susceptible to opening up the upper body too early, resulting in poor hip to shoulder separation, and decreased velocity.
The hands should drop down, out, and up to the ready position.
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5 steps to good glove side mechanics
- Swing both arms down, out, and up to ready position
- Keep glove side and upper body closed until the hips have completely opened following foot strike.
- The glove side should be aimed at the target
- Once your shoulders begins their rotation, your glove side arm should tightly tuck into your side with your glove touching your stomach or chest. At this stage your body will be in full throttle towards home.
- Do not pull to your glove side because this will leak potential velocity, and decrease pitching accuracy. Velocity is lost because your momentum is no longer directed towards home plate, and your hips and upper body will most likely upper up too early in the delivery.
Pulling too far may also force a pitcher to have an inconsistent arm slot because the arm will need to catch up with the rest of body.
Chapman's glove stays directed towards home, and then he tightly tucks his elbow into his side, which then launches his upper body and arm.
To be sure, the glove side is only one aspect of the complex motion of pitching mechanics. However, the best way to improve your overall mechanics is by focusing on one flaw that you may have.
Fix and perfect the issue before moving onto the next one. If remain diligent on refining your mechanics, then there is no doubt that you will improve no matter what your age is.
Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.
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To get to the next level, preparation is everything. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my latest strength training, conditioning and throwing programs for baseball pitchers of all ages.
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