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How to Throw a Baseball Faster

(By Jack Perconte)
There is no overnight solution to how to throw a baseball faster, but players who follow these tips can improve their throwing speeds. It should be noted that throwing a baseball faster, increasing arm speed and developing arm strength are basically the same thing. Developing arm endurance is different and is achieved by throwing often with a well-balanced throwing schedule. Baseball players, who throw fundamentally correct will increase their throwing speeds over the long haul with sufficient throwing. Those, who throw mechanically incorrect and who can make fundamental adjustments to their throwing mechanics, can increase their throwing speeds almost immediately.

Following are some of the biggest factors that limit one's ability to throw a baseball faster and solutions for throwing fundamentally correctly:

Incorrect Footwork - Solution: It is vital that players make a complete 90 degree turn of the throwing arm foot so the front shoulder can line up directly at target. Additionally, landing on the ball of the lead foot first will allow top arm speed.

Weak upper body front side - Solution: A thrower's front side elbow should come up to shoulder height at the same time the throwing arm is raising in back.

Incorrect Stride Direction - Solution: The stride foot should land directly in line with the target to get maximum throwing velocity.

Bad Grip - Solution: Gripping the ball with a relaxed grip, with the middle finger and thumb as close to the middle of the ball, is also essential for maximum velocity.

Incorrect Stride Length - Solution: Striding to the players' optimum stride length based on the length of the throw is also necessary. Over striding leads to a lack of a good weight transfer and under striding leads to a lack of leg power. Both will cause players to lose arm speed.

Incorrect Arm Action - Solution: Probably the biggest reason for a lack of arm speed is an incorrect backward arm swing. Players must swing their thumb under their fingers on the back swing and maintain that position until the arm starts its forward motion.

Lazy Follow Through - Solution: It is vital that players transfer their weight, complete their hip turn and allow their arm to finish across their body. The throwers finish should involve a lift of the back leg and a squaring of hips.

Once these throwing mechanics are achieved, players should observe the following tips to get maximum throwing velocity:

* Strong legs should not be overlooked because much of the arm speed is gained by using the large, lower body muscles.

* Wrist and forearm strength is also important in order to provide the last second snap on the ball.

* Avoiding arm injury, especially at a young age, is another key to developing a strong arm. Learning to read the body's fatigue signals are necessary for maintaining a healthy arm.

* Although strength training exercises do not lead directly to increased arm speed, it can lead to overall strength and quicker arm recovery time, which is beneficial to throwing a baseball faster. A controlled, age-oriented strength training program is advised.

Finally and as mentioned, a consistent throwing program, for at least six (and up to nine) months of a year, will eventually allow ballplayers to reach the maximum speeds they are genetically capable of throwing.

"Playing major league baseball - sweet; helping kids - better." Jack Perconte helps kids and their parents get through the challenging world of youth sports. He shares his playing, coaching and parenting experiences in his books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete: How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport.

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