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Deliver Downhill Doozies Right on Target
Throwing Drills
By John Baptista
Head Coach, Saint Mary's College


 

Here are five drills that Saint Mary's pitchers work on to help throw on a downhill plane and develop rhythm on line. Repeat each several times.

  1. Wall Drill (Backside)
    Have the pitcher stand feet together next to a wall. From there he raises his arms into throwing position. Both elbows should be at shoulder height. The throwing hand with the ball should be touching the wall directly behind him. The arm should be in a 90-degree angle and the front side should mirror this look. The pitcher then proceeds by stepping forward and throwing to a catcher in position 45 feet away. This helps to get his arm side up and gives the feeling of throwing downhill.
     
  2. Fungo Drill
    This is another drill to help pitchers throw on a downhill plane. Stand in front of and off to the throwing arm side of the pitcher. Hold the fungo bat 12 inches above his head. The pitcher should try to throw over the bat and downhill to a catcher. This also helps to get his arm up, throw downhill and achieve extension to the plate.
     
  3. Rhythm Figure Drill
    The pitcher stands on the rubber with his feet shoulder width apart. The ball is in his throwing hand and the glove is on the other. He then starts with the ball hand making a small figure eight in front of his body. The circles of the figure eight should be about the size of a softball. Allow him to get a nice rhythm going. When the pitcher comes back in toward his throwing side and takes the ball up into throwing position, he should then step and throw the ball to a catcher. Make three to four circle eights before throwing the ball downhill to a catcher.
     
  4. Towel Drill
    For this drill, the pitcher should use a hand towel and hold it between his thumb and middle finger of the throwing hand with about 12 inches of towel showing. He should go through his wind up and throw toward the plate with the towel snapping in front. Establish where the front foot is landing and step off five feet in front of the landing foot. The pitcher's partner will then kneel down five feet in front of him. The partner will hold out his glove about chin high in direct line with the pitcher. The pitcher tries to snap the towel in his pitching motion into the glove of his partner. The partner can move back a foot at a time until the pitcher gets to his best extension position. The towel must strike the glove. If the pitcher misses the glove there is too much movement in his delivery. This is instant feedback for the pitcher to work with. After several repetitions, partners change positions.
     
  5. Backside Mound Drill
    This is another drill to help the pitcher get the feel of throwing the ball downhill. Have him get behind the mound and throw with his front foot landing uphill. Pitching uphill helps develop a strong downhill plane. It also helps with direction and cutting off pitches. After several repetitions, have him move to the mound and throw on the downhill side. It will make him feel better about throwing downhill.
     

 
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