Learn How to Throw Faster

As a child I was always the kid who had a very athletic father, but I myself was just not very athletic. I loved Sports, but I just never felt like the other kids around me. My father was a great Baseball player who just seemed "natural" at it. I was wrong, but that was the perception I had of him. When he put me into Baseball at the age of 8, I absolutely loved it. I was not good, but I loved it and I also loved the snacks afterwards!

My coaches were good guys, but they weren't actually good coaches. Plus, it wasn't as if they had a lot of time, being Police Officers and all. So my first 2 seasons of Baseball was pretty much all about having fun and getting good snacks afterwards. I wasn't very good and I was OK with that, until I overhead my friends discussing the next season and how they were all trying to be All-Stars. It was the first year that they had an All-Star team, so I was intrigued. Luckily for me, I had a father who enjoyed practicing with me and encouraged me to get out and practice more. 

That Summer he started doing drills with me to help me with my mechanics, quickness (release) and velocity. We had a pretty decent sized yard for California, as well as a very nice neighbor (Paul. I can still remember his name!) who would scoop up a Baseball each day out of his pool when I threw it over the fence. At first the drills were basic. We would throw from our knees for approximately 10 minutes, but it always started off slow so we could warm up. Then we would work on quick release from the glove, which I believe helps quite a bit with general quickness of the arm.

For months we worked on basic throwing and catching, but throwing from the knees was always something we always did, although it probably caused my dad plenty of stress having to chase the ball when I threw it over his head. By the end of the summer my arm was much stronger, but my catching skills had improved a lot, simply due to repetition. My father was always working out, and he had created some funky looking "tools" (to me, at the time) that he wanted me to use to help improve my arm strength. He had created a weighted ball, as well as a forearm contraption that was simply a stick, a rope and a weight. That 'device' is now very popular these days and I do believe it's what helped me become a power hitter later down the line.

During the cold, miserable winters of California (yes, I'm joking), we would still be outside after he got home from work, throwing for at least an hour a day. But we started working on new drills, such as standing straight, with minimum hip and torso movement (feet should not move), catching the ball and getting it out of the ball as quickly as possible. The drill was all about being quick. You caught it, you got it out of the glove and threw it back as quickly as you could.  This drill is definitely what helped me become a good infielder (3rd base, in particular). 

We would do that drill after we had warmed up for approximately 5 minutes, then we would focus on distance, and he would move back a step after each throw until he reached the end of the yard. We would then work on arm strength by throwing it a bit harder each time. This is where I truly developed my arm strength, in my opinion. I had noticed that my arm got much stronger in a short amount of time. On top of that, I could catch so much easier than most of the people I knew. I went from being the worst player out of all of my friends - into being the best, without a doubt. The one kid in my league who was head and shoulders above the rest was a kid who was literally a foot taller than the rest. But by the next spring, I was throwing harder and slowly gaining on him as a hitter (more on that in a different article).

Within approximately 8 months I had become an All-Star, and the starting pitcher of the team. Just 8 months earlier nobody wanted me on their team, much less pitching. These drills were about one thing: repetition. My dad and I threw at least 5 days a week for nearly an hour a day by late Summer. Building a better arm is all about repetition, along with drills that work on quickness, power and distance.

Use drills such as throwing from both knees and one knee, but also work on moving back after so many throws. Work on stretching (before, after and in between) to make sure your muscles get the most of your workouts. Focus on building your forearms and shoulders as well.

One thing I would highly encourage any young Baseball player is to stay away from junk pitches until your arm is fully developed. When I was 14 years old I had been clocked at 81 and 82 MPH in back to back pitches, which was obviously very fast, especially for my age. My problem was that I loved throwing junk pitches because I had such a good Forkball and Curve. That forkball ended my career just one month later, as my tendons became severely damaged. I threw it far too often, against my father's advice. He always told me to stop throwing that stuff until I got older, but I thought I knew better!

As you get into a routine, make sure you also heat and ice your arm after long workouts. If your arm feels funny or sore, do not throw until it feels better. It's not going to hurt you to miss a day or two (or more), but it will definitely hurt your arm if you try working out an injured joint or muscle! 

I hope this article helps you or someone you know develop into a better Baseball player (or Football for that matter, as these drills could be great for QB's).


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