When learning pitching control, it’s important to note that the proper arm action consists of the throwing arm being in a flexed position as the shoulders rotate. After release if the proper sequencing up along the kinetic chain is followed, the throwing arm will extend on its own “To” and “Through” the target lane (See photo 1).
Mark Buehrle is illustrating the proper technique of delivering the throwing arm with the body through the target lane. Notice the flexion in his elbow as his arm externally rotates then extends “To” and “Through” the target lane as his hand travels straight forward in front of his head……Mark Buehrle averages 2.1 walks per nine over a 15 year career…… OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!
Now let’s take a look at Cliff Lee, another one of baseball’s elite pitchers. He exhibits phenomenal command and execution of all his pitches, proven by his low base on balls each and every year. Cliff also directs his arm straight “To” and “Through” the target lane extending forward out in front of his head.
He achieves this consistency by training his body to deliver his throwing arm from the ground up. Cliff will first align the target with his front shoulder and chin, then redirect the energy to travel up along his kinetic chain of command at foot plant. Since his shoulders lead to his arm, Cliff will ultimately follow the angled rotation of his shoulders to launch the arm.
Major League pitching tip: Allow the shoulders to create the arm angle NOT the arm! The front shoulder leads the way to the back shoulder; the back shoulder delivers the throwing arm. THE SHOULDERS MUST BE ALLOWED TO INITIATE THE THROW FIRST, NOT THE ARM……
Here we have Roy Halladay executing a fastball on the outside corner. Keep in mind that the target lanes you envision WILL BE wider than the actual target lanes your arm travels through. In other words, if Roy wanted to execute a fastball down the middle of the strike zone he would release the ball in the middle of the two red lines you see below. If he wanted to execute a fastball on the inside to this hitter his release would be on the inside red line.
The next photo below is a great illustration of the correlation between the focal point of the pitcher and the actual release point. Be aware the ball travels some distance from release to the plate and only requires small variations in the release point to execute pitches.
For illustration purposes below there are three lanes across the plate, inside- middle-outside and three release points, (black)-(yellow)-(red). So for example, if Roy wanted to pitch inside to this left handed batter he would release the ball closer to the black line which is in front of the other lines represented at the hand.
Same goes for the yellow line representing the release to locate down the middle of the plate. In each case Roy would envision the target lane at the plate and direct his arm through that target lane letting the release point take care of itself.
The problem with majority of pitchers that will eventually halt their progress somewhere down the road is a lack of control and at the highest levels command. As I mention in my e-books Armed and Dangerous and “Pitcher” Perfect, velocity should not be the main focus when developing a young pitcher, instead arm action, sequencing, and repeatability should be at the forefront. Arm care, kinetic chain sequencing and repeatability lead to control and then command.
A pitcher’s velocity should be generated from the body and not the throwing arm. Velocity will increase when the technique is is linked up along the kinetic chain. This is will increase:
According to the above list, velocity is ranked 3rd, the technique is the main focus if the you want to have a long career, control the baseball, increase velocity and eventually execute with command. Learning the proper way to throw a baseball from an early age should be the number one goal. Problems arise in the vast majority of baseball pitchers because they were never trained to throw properly.
There are several factors related to commanding a baseball and learning the proper technique to direct the throwing arm “TO” and deliver the throwing arm “THROUGH” the target lanes is the place to start.
If you want to learn Frank DiMichele’s revolutionary pitching technique get his top 30 training videos free.