Thursday Throwing Tips
Youth Baseball Throwing Mistakes Must be Addressed Early On
Often, recognizing youth baseball throwing mistakes is easier than recognizing what players do correctly. Coaches should watch for the following youth baseball throwing mistakes so they can devise a game plan for making the necessary corrections.
First, it is important to realize that everyone has natural tendencies, as their body works the way it works, naturally. Unfortunately, those natural tendencies are often fundamentally incorrect, which usually inhibits completion of tasks, or at the least, limits improvement. Nowhere is this more evident than with throwing a baseball. When kids' natural tendencies are fundamentally incorrect, their chances at baseball success decrease greatly. Additionally, changing natural tendencies is very difficult especially when years of incorrect habits occur.
For that reason, it is necessary for coaches to address youth baseball throwing mistakes as one of their first priorities. When youth baseball coaches feel they will not have enough time to help kids make the necessary changes, they should recommend an experienced throwing coach to the parents of that player. At the least, coaches should show parents some at-home-throwing drills for players to practice.
Incorrect Grip Small hands often lead to incorrect grips at a young age.
Solution: A three-finger grip should be used for young ballplayers, until they can keep two fingers and the thumb close to the middle of the ball with a two fingered grip. Learning to get a four seam grip is also necessary.
Incorrect Initial Footwork Failure to turn the backside throwing foot to a ninety degree angle, or close to that, puts the whole throwing motion in jeopardy.
Solution: Simply setting a strip of paper or cardboard at a ninety degree angle for players to line their foot up correctly works quickly for kids to understand.
Weak lead elbow Failure to lift their lead elbow to shoulder height usually leads to a lazy throwing side arm.
Solution: Have players point their lead elbow directly at their targets head before stepping to throw.
Stride Direction offline Most kids open up and step away from the target, although some step across their body. Both are incorrect.
Solution: Drawing a line, or setting two objects down to step in between, directly at the target helps to keep players directional.
Incorrect Arm Swing This is the most common problem and the hardest to correct of all throwing actions. It usually begins with the players thumb going over the ball on the arm backswing.
Solution: Players should take the time to look at the ball facing away from them on the back swing for a while, until they get used to keeping their thumb under the ball.
Lazy Follow through Many players fail to allow their back leg to come off the ground on the finish or stop their arm at release point.
Solution: Players should be sure they lift the back leg, square the hips and have their throwing hand touch the opposite side of their body around thigh high or lower on the follow through.
Watching for and helping players correct these common youth baseball throwing mistakes is a top priority for baseball coaches.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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