Monday, March 29, 2010

3 Absolutes to Develop Arm Strength and Accuracy For Baseball

Throwing a baseball with accuracy and speed is obviously a necessity for ballplayers to continue to move up the baseball ladder. It is almost incomprehensible that kids who are fourteen years old and in high school are expected to play at the same distances that major league baseball players do, but that is the case. High school dimensions are the same ninety feet between the bases and sixty feet between home and the pitcher's mound. Those are formidable distances for players, especially for those who have not had their growth spurt yet. The good news is that players can improve their arm strength and accuracy with good mechanics and practice. Players who want to improve their throwing should adhere to the following fundamentals and practice until perfecting them. It is also necessary to throw (correctly) for anywhere between six and nine months out of the year. Generally, as kids get closer to high school, more throwing is advised with at least a couple of days a week of quality throwing. Getting the proper amount of rest between throwing sessions is also important.

3 Absolutes of Throwing for Speed and Accuracy

1. Direction - most kids know how to stand at home plate so having them go to their hitting position before throwing should come easy. This complete turn of the body will point the front shoulder directly at the target with feet parallel to each other. Without this correct set-up position, the thrower's ability to reach maximum speed and accuracy are already compromised. A noted with hitting position, a complete ninety degree turn of the thrower's foot of the same side as his throwing arm is necessary to get to correct starting position.

2. Direction 2 - Players must step directly at the target. Without this direct step the thrower's hips will not function correctly causing a lack of accuracy and power. The length of the step will be determined by the distance of the throw and will come naturally, with the key being the direction. Drawing a direct line from the lead foot towards the target or setting down a couple of objects for the player to step in between are good practice drills to reinforce the correct step. An indirect step is the most common area of break down in a player's throwing fundamentals.

3. Follow through - it is necessary that throwers allow their arm to travel the complete path so the body can alleviate some of the stress of the arm action on the shoulder and to prevent aiming the ball. This is done by the players throwing arm finishing at his opposite side hip, thigh or knee and by having his rear leg come up and forward as they throw. Like hitting, this weight transfer puts power into the throw.

Sounds simple enough but like anything, "The difference between doing something totally correct and almost correct, is the difference between success and failure." (Author of quote is unknown.) Long distance throwing can also develop arm strength but the 3 above fundamentals must be followed for "long toss" to be beneficial.

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