Use Fundamentals: Pitching as an introduction to pitching mechanics. Offered as a group drill, this segment highlights the three main positions of the motion. Going forward, instruction can be more specific and follow Dugout Captain’s training plan (How to Coach Pitching – #1 / #2 / #3 / #4). As coach, you have to decide how you will handle coaching pitchers during practice on a go-forward basis. First things first, however, use this drill to introduce the entire team to a pitching philosophy. Learn to use the body to make the ball move – it’s relevant for ALL positions. Note* – You’ll need a catch net(s) or a fence to throw against and you’ll need baseballs… lots of baseballs!
EXECUTION – Set up requires a pitching station: Cones down for each athlete’s pitching rubber, plenty of baseballs, and some sort of target net or strike zone. For this video, we used a set up with all athletes firing at a single catch net. Introduce and teach the top-level movements of the pitching motion. Use the following number system, including the position and coaching keywords:
- Position #0 – STANCE / Feet, hands, eyes
- Position #1 – BALANCE / Knee up, foot out, toe down
- Position #2 – POWER / 4 pieces: Glove arm up, hand high/away, front foot closed/up on toe, weight back
- Position #3 – FINISH / Keep it simple here.
Introductory pitching should be taught from the stretch position. With less moving parts, the pitcher has more chances for success and can more easily repeat the motion. Throw a couple pitches to ‘get hot’ then add pieces through freeze movements and verbals. During freezes, have the players call out their verbals – aggressively and confidently locking those keywords into their mental and muscle memory. Finish with some full-go fastballs to ensure no one experiences “paralysis by analysis.” Always, always, always encourage and remind the athletes that their job is to THROW HARD. Not necessarily “fast” but with full effort.
- Verbals – Balance / Power / Finish. Memorable and fun.
- Throw Hard – Most important rule: Let it rip!
- Stay Top-Level – Lots of material to introduce, careful not to introduce too many details or keywords.
- STANCE = POSITION #0
- BALANCE = POSITION #1
- POWER = POSITION #2
- FINISH = POSITION #3
- VERBALS - BALANCE / POWER / FINISH
- THROW HARD!
- STAY TOP LEVEL
- Baseball Buckets2
- Catch Net1