Teaching Youth to Throw a Baseball
Learning to throw the proper way at an early age is important for a ballplayer. This will help accuracy,velocity, and keep the arm in good shape for later years. One of the first things you do in practice or before a game is throw to warm up. Make sure this is used as a time to teach and learn. This is just as important as batting practice,infield practice or any other part of the game. I see high school kids with poor technique. At this age the bad habits are hard to break,they have arm problems,and the control and velocity aren't where they could be.
Lets start now on the proper way to throw. The first thing I would check is to see if they were holding the ball right. With your first two fingers from your thumb on top of the ball across the seams the thumb should be directly underneath the ball in the center. You fingers should be spread comfortably, not to far apart and not together. The ball should be held more into your fingers and not in the palm of your hand. Sometimes at an early age three fingers are needed on top of the ball because their hands are to small. This is fine, the same technique applies.
Getting the body and momentum going in the right direction is one of the biggest problems i see even in older kids. To start, the glove side shoulder and hip should be aimed at the target. Alot of young kids start their throw with their body already opened up. This means their chest is facing their target. When they do this they have lost upper body control and strength. They are now throwing with mostly arm which isn't good. They lose accuracy and velocity. Now with their glove side shoulder and hip pointed towards their target and knees slightly relaxed they are ready to step and throw. When the step starts toward the target the arm motion will start going down and back. The glove should be tucked to your chest and the glove side elbow pointed towards the target. This helps from pulling the front shoulder out to quick. This should stay like this until they come over the top and down towards the target. The ball ,gripped like we discussed earlier should be facing the ground not the sky with the top of the hand facing up. Your hand with the ball should pass down around the thigh then start coming up in a circular motion with the top of the hand between you and the ball. For example, if you are pitching the centerfielder should see the baseball not the top of your hand. Don't take the ball straight back to where the elbow is locked straight. This stops your motion and momentum for a second. We want to have one fluid motion keeping our momentum going towards the target. Now when we get to the top of our motion the elbow should be at least as high or slightly higher than the shoulder. The wrist and hand will be relaxed and laid back a little with the palm facing up towards the sky. At this point the elbow is behind the body and the ball behind the elbow. When the arm starts forward from the top of the delivery the ball and palm will start working down towards the target with the elbow and ball catching up with the body. The glove side elbow will start pulling down and out to get the throwing side through when the throwing motion starts down giving more momentum towards the target. This should work in unison. The ball should be released at the end of the reach towards the target. After the release the throwing arm will come through and across the opposite leg and the back foot will come around at least as far as the front foot if not slightly farther with toes and chest facing the target.
A good drill for upper body technique is to get on both knees have a partner on both knees about fifteen away. With the ball in the throwing hand turn your body so that the glove side shoulder is now pointing towards the target. Now throw to your partner using the technique giving. Keep elbow up and work on the follow through.
If warming up before practice and games and drills are taking seriously this isn't to hard to learn but when the kids don't have any correct coaching on throwing they will develop bad habits which get more difficult to break.