Do you want to pitch faster in baseball?
If you do, you are just like many other baseball pitchers. Pitchers of all ages are constantly searching for the most effective ways to pitch faster. Not every player is blessed with the extraordinary ability to pitch faster, and for most us, we must work very hard to reach velocity goals.
How to pitch faster in baseball
On this page, I will share some information for pitchers on how to throw a baseball faster. This instruction is designed for pitchers at the little league, pony, high school, and even the college level.
Every pitcher no matter age, size, or experience, can benefit from these suggestions.
For maximum results, you should try to incorporate each of these training techniques into whatever routine you are currently using or not using.
This is not the most comprehensive guids, but it is an excellent road map for any pitcher who is looking to pitch faster in baseball.
Each method is ranked from the most important, down to the least important, although every suggestion is a good one for any developing pitcher.
I hope this guide helps you gain a better understand of how to pitch faster in baseball.
1. Fix your pitching mechanics
When it comes to pitching faster, your pitching mechanics are undoubtedly the most important part. Pitchers who are able to throw fast are the ones who are able to use their entire body as a single unit.
A few examples include Aroldis Chapman, Matt Harvey, Chris Sale and Corey Kluber.
Each of these pitchers generate their pitching velocity from the ground up. The key to pitching faster is to use your entire body to deliver a pitch, not your arm. The only purpose that the throwing arm should serve, is to act like a whip.
The more whip or arm speed that a pitcher has, the faster he will throw. So how do you develop faster arm speed? Here are eleven simple ways to develop better mechanics that will allow you to pitch faster:
- Keep it simple, and limit any wasted energy in your throwing mechanics. Don’t try to be like Hideo Nomo.
- Use whatever leg lift is the most comfortable to you.
- Do not try to reach a “balance point” at the peak of your leg lift. Your knee should be inside your drive leg, and your hip should already be driving towards home.
- Your lift leg should drive down towards the ground and out towards home. Not out, and around.
- The knee of your drive leg should never bend past the drive foot at any point of the throwing motion.
- Break your hands late, and show the ball to third or first base. Not directly back to center field.
- At foot strike, your lead foot should be slight closed off.
- Also at foot strike, your hips should be almost completely open in a direct line towards home. Your upper body should still be closed, and your arm should be in the cocked position.
- Focus on hip to shoulder separation. If you really want to pitch faster in baseball, you need to focus heavily on this aspect of your mechanics.
- Always stay in a direct line towards home.
- Try to move as fast as possible towards your target. The faster your body moves to foot strike, the faster you will pitch. This is called stride speed.
Most of these steps are very easy to implement, and you unlike many of the next suggestions, you could see increased velocity almost immediately.
2. Get a better grip on the baseball
Many pitchers underestimate the correlation between pitching grips and how fast you can throw.
The best grip for pitching the fastest is the four seam fastball. This pitch does not require any finger tip pressure, wrist movement, or alteration to the throwing motion.
For maximum pitch speed, hold the baseball very lightly at the tips of your middle and index fingers, keep your wrist relaxed, and throw the pitch with a loose motion. The baseball should be held like an egg, and your arm should act like a whip.
By throwing fastballs on a consistent basis, you will build arm strength and endurance.
3. Limit the amount of breaking pitches you throw
Building on the previous point about throwing fastballs frequently, the opposite is true about breaking pitches. While it is important to have an arsenal of pitches other than a fastball, it is important to understand that throwing breaking pitches does not help a pitcher pitch faster in baseball.
This is why pitchers do not perform long toss throwing curveballs, or throw breaking pitches with weighted baseballs. The point is, pitchers cannot build arm strength by throwing off-speed pitches, and in some cases, throwing too many may actual decrease how fast a pitcher throws.
Young pitchers need to focus on throwing 90 percent fastballs during practice and in games. This will allow youth pitchers to develop arm strength, consistency, and prevent any potential injuries in the future.
By focusing of developing a good fastball at an early age, pitchers will be able to pitch faster than their counterparts by the time they reach the high school or college level.
4. Use weighted baseballs in the off-season
Utilizing weighted baseballs in the off-season will undoubtedly make a pitcher pitch faster if the equipment is used correctly. This type of training should only be used by responsible high schoolers, college players, and of course, the professionals.
In Do Weighted Baseballs Increase Velocity? I examine two sides of this argument. The conclusion is that weighted baseball training can increase throwing speed if used correctly and responsibly.
Many college and professional pitchers will use weighted baseballs in the off-season to increase arm speed, and to build arm strength. This type of training is what’s considered “overload” training.
Weighted balls should only be used in the off-season, and should avoided during the regular season. For maximum results, utilize both weighted baseballs, and a proper long toss regime.
If you’re looking for weighted baseball drills read Weighted Baseball Training for Pitchers.
5. Throw long toss 2-3 times a week
Out of all the suggestions on this page, this is one of the most controversial. Mainly because there is no solid evidence to prove that long toss increases pitching velocity. However, it’s undeniable that proper long toss will improve arm condition, and possibly arm strength in some individuals.
In my opinion and pitching experience, long tossing is necessary for pitching faster because only conditioned arms will have the endurance to throw high speeds. If your arm is always in pain, then you will never be able to pitch fast. Some important things to consider about long tossing:
- Long tossing at distances past 300 feet should not be utilized everyday, but more like the title suggests, two or three times a week between bullpen sessions.
- Don’t spend more time long tossing than you do in the bullpen. Refining your pitching mechanics is much more important than long toss.
- Always throw on a straight line, keeping your body aligned towards the target.
- When you begin to move back towards your target, always perform the “pull-down”. This means throwing on a line, with your fingers on top of the baseball to the target.
The most important thing to remember about long toss: long toss alone will not not increase velocity. In order to pitch faster, long toss must be used in combination with these other training methods. Unlike weighted baseballs, long toss can be used in both the off-season and regular season.
6. Don’t be afraid of weightlifting
Pitcher-specific weightlifting is one of the best ways to pitch faster in baseball. Pitching instructors of the past used to advice against pitchers weightlifting. However, with new advances in athletic training, it is now undeniable that proper weightlifting can increase velocity.
Baseball pitchers at the high school, college, and professional level utilize weightlifting to increase explosiveness, strength, and muscular balance. In general, pitchers should avoid weightlifting until they reach puberty.
In the mean time, players can still utilize body-weight exercises to increase strength, build a foundation for future weightlifting, and to pitch faster.
Once pitchers reach the appropriate age, they can begin to utilize weightlifting exercises. Pitchers should focus the majority of their efforts on building strength in the legs and core muscles. Good mechanics, along with strong legs and core muscles, is a recipe for pitching faster.
Popular leg exercises for pitchers include squats, deadlifts, lunges, cleans, and single-leg deadlifts to name only a few. In addition to training the legs, pitchers must also utilize upper body exercises to avoid any muscular imbalances.
Some upper body exercises including dumbbell flat bench press, incline dummbells, lateral pulldowns, single-arm dumbbells pulls, hammer curls, tricep rope extensions
Most of these weightlifting exercises are for the larger muscle groups, but some pitchers have also seen increases in their velocity by utilizing forearm exercises as well.
7. Train your rotator cuff muscles
Training the rotator cuff muscles is essential for pitching faster in baseball. Unlike other weightlifting exercises, training the rotator cuff involves very light weight, with high repetitions.
Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles will allow you pitch faster because these small muscles are heavily utilized during the throwing motion.
Typically, you will perform these exercises prior to your heavy weightlifting with 2.5 to 5 pound weights. Go to Rotator Cuff Exercises for Baseball to see some popular workouts and how to perform them the correct way.
Every pitcher, no matter your level of advancement, should be routinely training the rotator cuff muscles.
8. Throw some medicine balls
Medicine ball training will increase explosion, train quick twitch muscle fibers, increase core strength, and help pitchers pitch faster. In most pitcher strength training regimes, medicine balls will be incorporated with the weightlifting.
Some popular medicine exercises include Russian twists, granny throws, rotational throws, med ball slams, and squat explosions.
9. Use plyometrics and agility’s to become more athletic
Both plyometric and agility training is an excellent source for building quickness and explosion in baseball pitchers. The more explosive a pitcher is, the faster he will pitch.
If you didn’t know, plyometric training was primarily used by basketball players to increase their vertical jump. In recent years, baseball players and pitchers have discovered how beneficial this type of training can be for the sport.
Every movement in baseball requires quick bursts of explosion. Pitching is among one of the explosive movements in all of sports, and plyos can help build this explosion even further.
Agility’s are primarily used for building speed and quickness. The most popular form of agility training are ladder drills.
I recommend incorporating these training methods within your pitcher strength training routine.
10. Condition your body through high-intensity training (HIT)
Pitching conditioning should always involve high-intensity work. There is absolutely no reason that any pitcher should be running long distance. Not only will it not make you pitch faster, it may actually decrease your overall velocity.
Long distance running for baseball pitchers is an old-fashioned method that is not only out-dated but also ineffective.
What should you do instead?
The best conditioning method for pitchers is sprint training. Since pitching is explosive, then you should train the same way.
Typically, the best sprints formula for pitchers involves shorter distances. Common sprints distances are anywhere from ten yards to about sixty yards, and usually not any further. Another excellent conditioning technique is an alteration to the regular sprint.
Hills sprints are an excellent alternative for increasing the intensity of your conditioning. Routinely use both regular and hills sprints for your pitching conditioning, and you may immediately start pitching faster.
11. Stretch more
Gaining and maintaining flexibility is vital towards pitching faster. Pitchers do not need to be super flexible, but flexibility in the groin, hamstrings, hip abductors, and lower back can be very beneficial. Stretching will increase flexibility, but it will also reduce recovery time between training sessions.
For maximum flexibility, recovery, and throwing speed, pitchers should properly utilize foam rolls, dynamic stretching, and static stretching.
Here is a formula to follow on training days, practice days, or on game day:
- start by foam rolling
- pre-dynamic stretch job or bike
- dynamic stretching
- workout or throwing session
- optional post-training foam rolling
- static stretching
This is one of the best routines you can follow if you’re looking to pitch faster, increase flexibility, and recovery time. Do not neglect stretching because you may be missing out on potential velocity.
12. Develop a nutrition program
Nutrition will make you pitch faster in baseball? You better believe it. Proper nutrition is not only necessary for maintaining good health, but it is critical for repairing muscles that have been broken down from throwing and training.
The faster you can recover, the quicker you will be able to train or throw again. Throwing on a consistent basis is key to pitching faster.
Here are some basic nutritional guidelines that pitchers should follow:
- Consume high levels of good carbohydrates
- Eat more protein, but avoid high protein diets.
- Avoid foods with trans fats
- Do not drink alcohol, and limit caffeine consumption.
- Drink water, at least 64 ounces a day.
13. Invest in a well-designed pitching program
While there aren’t many pitching programs that are actually useful, there are a few that can provide pitchers with adequate guidelines for strength training, pitching mechanics, and how to pitch faster in baseball.
I only advocate programs that will actually give pitchers their desired real life results.
If, or whenever you have the funds, I highly recommend that you invest in my TUFFCUFF pitching velocity program. It is easily the best pitching program on the market.
14. Study the professionals
Studying professional pitchers is one the best ways to pitch faster. This is obvious because these pitchers throw fast for a living.
The average MLB pitching velocity is around 90.7 mph.
This is one of the easiest things a pitcher can do to pitch faster because it can be done while watching your favorite team on television. Carefully watch how these pro pitchers are able to utilize their lower half, watch their hip to shoulder separation, and how fast they are able to move their body down the mound towards home.
Whenever you get the chance, I recommend that you watch how these pitchers throw: Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber, Felix Hernandez and David Price, to name only a few.
Each of these pitchers have excellent mechanics.
15. Develop your own pitching style
Yes, it’s important to analyze other fast pitchers, but it’s also crucial that you develop your own pitching style or technique. There are some pitching mechanics guidelines that should also be followed, but your mechanics should also be what’s comfortable to you.
If you can swing your arms ups and twist your back like Hideo Nomo, or use a super high leg lift like Dontrelle Willis, do it. Just make sure that you are following the basic mechanics principles listed in velocity tip #1 above.
Get my pitching velocity program
One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It’s not. To get to the next level, preparation is everything — but you need a plan. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages or visit www.tuffcuff.com.