If you want to add speed to your fastball, you need to know a little about the proper pitching mechanics and techniques. It also helps to revamp your workout routine.
So, grab your mitt! Let’s delve into some of the secrets that will give you an edge.
Proper Pitching Mechanics for Adding Velocity
To add velocity to your fastball, focus on your pitching mechanics.
- Start with your grip and release point.
- Hold the ball across the seams with your middle and index fingers placed along the outer seams.
- Release the ball off to the side of your hand, not directly off your fingertips.
Next, build momentum as you lift your front leg. Land on the ball of your foot, not your heel. This allows you to push off powerfully. Drive forward with your back leg, using your whole body to build energy.
Follow through vigorously after releasing the ball. Extend your arm and point it at the target. Bend forward at your waist, and let your back leg come forward and across your body. Finish by balancing on the ball of your front foot.
Work on a consistent arm slot and release point. Release the ball at the same spot in your delivery each time.
Remember: Even small variations in the release point can cost you speed and control.
Building Arm Strength
Build arm strength through long toss and weight training.
Long toss helps build arm endurance and muscle memory. Long toss, a highly varied training supplement, uses several kinetic and kinematic changes in the throwing arm and throwing motions associated with pitching at long-toss distances.
Since the use of the radar gun in baseball, which measures pitching speed, coaches place a great deal of emphasis on velocity. However, this has also led to a higher incidence of injuries among pitchers (37%) versus position players.
From the time Nolan Ryan threw a fastball pitch at 100.9 mph, the best baseball pitchers have strived to meet that mark as well. During 1974, Ryan held the world record. However, some experts say it was closer to 108 mph.
Today, it’s not uncommon for pitchers in the major league to throw fastballs at 95 mph or more.
In response, pitchers now spend more time in the gym working on core and lower extremity strengthening. They do this by using weighted balls and by throwing baseballs super long distances – all which increases velocity and endurance, and helps to reduce injury risk while improving recovery.
Pitchers focus workouts on exercises such as seated rows, lat pulldowns, triceps extensions, weightlifting, and shoulder presses – all which serve to fortify and strengthen the arm, back, and shoulder muscles.
Put all of this together in your bullpen sessions. Aim for a quick, compact delivery with no wasted motion. Drive forward powerfully, land softly on the ball of your front foot, and follow through completely after releasing the ball. With practice, these mechanics can add 5 mph or more to your fastball in only 30 days.
A Closer Look at Some of the Best Strength Training Exercises for Pitchers
To add speed to your fastball, you also need to strengthen your core and legs.
Do planks to build a strong core. This means maintaining a pushup position with your elbows on the ground, keeping the back straight. Hold for 60 seconds. Do three repetitions, three times weekly.
Russian twists are another great exercise. Sit, knees bent, leaning back at a 45 degree angle. Hold a weighted ball in both hands. Twist to one side to bring the weight toward the floor, then twist to the other side, Do this for several repetitions.
Squats and lunges are key to developing your fastball as well. Do bodyweight squats, holding dumbbells or a barbell across your shoulders for an added challenge. Bend your knees and lower into a squat, then straighten back up. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps, 3 times a week.
For lunges, step one leg forward and lower your body until both knees are bent at about 90 degrees, then push back to the starting position. Hold dumbbells for an added challenge. Do 10-15 reps on each leg, 2-3 sets.
Sprint intervals will boost your power and hip flexibility. Sprint at 90% max speed for 30 seconds, then jog for 30-60 seconds. Repeat for 15 minutes, 2-3 times a week.
If you commit to these strength and power workouts, you’ll gain velocity on your fastball in no time. But don’t forget – you still need to practice your pitching technique and release point. With the right balance of strength, mechanics and practice, you’ll be bringing the heat in 30 days!
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Improving Flexibility and Mobility for Increased Velocity
To add velocity to your fastball, improving your flexibility and mobility is key. When your joints and muscles are loose and limber, you can generate more power and speed. Below are a few tips to boost your flexibility in just 30 days:
Your shoulder joint and surrounding muscles are essential for throwing heat. Do shoulder rotations to keep this area loose and flexible. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a baseball in one hand. Slowly rotate your arm in circles, making bigger circles each time. Do 10-15 reps in each direction, 2-3 times a day.
Grab the ends of a towel behind your back and pull up and away from your body with straight arms to open up your chest and shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat. Do 2-3 reps, 2 times a day. This helps improve your range of motion and elasticity in your throwing arm.
Strong, flexible wrists are vital for creating spin and speed. Extend one arm out to the side and bend the wrist up as far as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Bend your wrist down as far as you’re able. Repeat on the other side. Do 10-15 reps for each wrist, twice a day.
Don’t forget your lower body! Tight hips can reduce your power and velocity. Do seated hip openers or the pigeon pose from yoga. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Cross one ankle over the opposite knee and pull your legs in toward your chest to open the hips. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs. Do 3 reps on each side, daily.
Perfecting Your Pitching Motion and Arm Action
To add speed to your fastball, focus on perfecting your pitching motion and arm action. The information below will give you added power.
Build Power in Your Legs
Your legs generate most of the power in your pitch. Work on leg exercises like squats, lunges, and calf raises. Stronger legs will allow you to push off more forcefully from the mound.
Develop A Consistent Routine
Have a precise sequence of movements that you go through on every pitch. Keep your arm motion and release point the same each time. This consistency grooves muscle memory and leads to pinpoint control and maximum velocity.
Stay Balanced Throughout Your Motion
Maintain your balance as you lift your leg, rotate your hips, and bring your arm through. If you fall off to the side after releasing the ball, you lose power and accuracy. Focus on following through directly toward your target.
Release the Ball with Your Fingers, Not Your Wrist
Snap your wrist downwards while keeping your elbow up as you release the ball. This puts extra spin and speed on the ball. Releasing with your wrist alone reduces power and strains your arm.
Build Arm Strength
In addition to leg exercises, do exercises that specifically target your pitching arm like triceps extensions, shoulder presses, and lat pulldowns. Again, long toss, where you throw at increasing distances, is also great for building arm strength and endurance.
Following these tips and practicing consistently can add significant speed to your fastball in a short time. Be sure to warm up your arm properly before pitching at full velocity to avoid injury. With the right mechanics and physical conditioning, you’ll be blowing hitters away quickly and easily.
Advanced Pitching Drills to Improve Fastball Speed
To add speed to your fastball, incorporating advanced pitching drills into your regular practice routine is also key. These drills focus on improving specific aspects of your mechanics that directly translate into increased velocity.
Using balls that are slightly heavier than a regulation baseball, like 6 or 8 ounces, go through your pitching delivery. The extra weight forces your muscles to work harder with each throw, increasing arm speed and strength over time.
Start with just a few throws and build up as your arm gets used to it. Use weighted balls 2-3 times a week, with rest days in between for the best results.
Plyometric exercises use explosive movements to increase power and speed. Things like medicine ball throws, box jumps and jumping squats are very effective for pitchers.
For example, hold a 6-10 pound medicine ball and throw it forward as hard as you can, then catch and immediately throw it back. Do this for several reps.
Plyometrics should be done 2 times a week, with rest days in between and only after you’ve warmed up your arm.
Pitching is an explosive action, so improving your fast-twitch muscle fibers will translate to a faster fastball. After a good warm-up, sprint for 30-90 seconds, then recover and repeat.
Start with 3-4 intervals and build up as your endurance improves. Sprint intervals can be done 2-3 times a week in addition to your regular pitching workouts.
Sign Up at a Fitness Facility that Features Sports-Related Fitness Training
To make the most out of your workout routine, you need to work out at a gym that can focus on your exact fitness needs. Elicit help from a fitness professional who knows what it takes to improve your game over time.
By using these advanced drills, along with mechanical focus and bullpen sessions, you can effectively add speed and power to your fastball in just a month.
The key is to start slowly and build up intensity progressively as your arm gets stronger and your mechanics become more efficient. Keep at it and you’ll be striking out hitters like a pro.
Author: Donna Ryan
About the Author: Donna Ryan is a certified personal fitness trainer for sports-based exercise programs. She loves baseball and writes for a living.