Baseball has been called America’s pastime for as long as we can remember, and as long as we can remember, players have been making errors throwing. Especially common in young children who don’t know better, if these mistakes aren’t corrected by their coaches, they can form unbreakable bad habits that can keep them from reaching their full potential or even lead to injury. At PS2 Athletics, we’re dedicated to get all of our players to achieve perfect form and perform at their best. Here are some of the most common baseball throwing mistakes for both coaches and players to look out for.
When younger kids first get into baseball, it’s common for them to not have the correct grip. Some of this is due to the sheer size of their hands, but there are ways to teach a proper grip even at a young age. Teaching kids to grip the ball with three fingers can fix early grip issues until their hands are big enough to properly hold a baseball. Once their hands reach the correct size, you can teach them to grip the ball with two fingers with the thumb in the middle of the ball. This transition can sometimes be difficult, but a two finger grip across the laces (looks like a C) will feel more natural as their hands grow.
Getting your back foot to a 90 degree angle when throwing the ball is crucial for a proper throwing motion and getting full power and accuracy behind your throw. Without proper footwork, you won’t have control of the ball and your throw will often miss high. Coaches can and should help the player work through this. One way to do this is placing paper, tape, or cardboard at 90 degrees behind the player so they have a reference when throwing. As long as their foot is lined up with the paper, they’ll have proper footwork and develop the muscle memory to maintain that during real games.
When throwing a baseball, you should aim to have your front, non-throwing elbow at shoulder height before the throw. This allows the natural body motion to open up, using the momentum of the front arm to create more power. Using your front elbow as a starting point also helps with the accuracy of your throw. When you drop your front elbow or just let your arm hang, the motion feels unnatural and forced, which makes you lose accuracy and power in your throw. To fix this, you should keep your elbow bent at shoulder height, stop, then proceed with the rest of your throwing motion. Do this repeatedly as a drill and eventually muscle memory will take place, making your throw that much better.
Even though it technically takes place after the throw itself, proper follow through is crucial to baseball. Many players form the habit of not picking their back leg up after the throw which makes the motion seem stiff and unnatural. The back leg should always lift up off the ground and become square to ensure a fluid and complete throwing motion. To ensure this, make sure you are conscious of your leg position and that your legs are square with your shoulders by the end of your throw, or that your back leg is now in front of the front leg. Your throwing arm also needs to follow through, ending up across your body around your opposite hip.
Throwing a baseball with the proper mechanics can be a difficult thing to learn, but it can be even more difficult to teach. PS2 has a stellar staff of trainers and coaches to help you perfect your throwing, pitching, batting, catching and fielding. We offer camps, clinics, semi-private and one-on-one lessons to help you or your child become the best player possible. We’re perfectly trained and equipped to help you tackle any of the mistakes we’ve talked about or any other concerns about your game you may have. If you have any questions or want to set up a lesson, contact us today. With a convenient location in the heart of Wayne, NJ, come visit us and let us help you be the best player you can be.