MLB.com Digital Academy Instructional of the Week – October 28
By Todd Blyleven
Many of you are still playing baseball this time of year, whether you are in the midst of Fall Ball, playing All Stars or Travel. Regardless of the league or team you’re playing on, reviewing your pitching mechanics this time of year is extremely important to how you start and finish up your season.
The key to being a successful pitcher is having good mechanics so that you can pitch with “Control” and “Command” to the strike zone. A pitcher’s goal is to throw strikes. How would pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester or Felix Hernandez do if they didn’t throw strikes? Have you seen their walks to strike out ratio this year? Amazing! So, making sure you have good pitching mechanics and a good strong working arm is essential to your success on the mound and to the success of your team!
The Major League pitchers we look up to everyday all have good mechanics and are solid competitors on the mound. If we watch their style and throwing motions they are all slightly different, just like you and your friends are different in the way you pitch or throw a ball. So how are all these great pitchers similar, and what key areas of pitching mechanics can you practice to be just like them?
1. Make sure you are comfortable on the mound, and have a good stance. Your shoulders should be relaxed with feet shoulder width apart.
2. As you start your pitching motion make sure you get to a good balance point. When you lift your lead leg and knee up to your waste line, you should be able to balance on one leg with your head centered between your lifted leg and your back foot on the rubber.
3. Next, be sure to separate your hands with both thumbs down, similar to opening an egg.
4. Next, getting into a good throwing position is very important. Keep your head back, your throwing arm up, and your lead foot in a good stride position pointed at your target.
5. Now it’s time to rotate that body, and throw that ball. Make sure you reach out as far as you can towards the catcher’s glove, keep your eye on the target, and get to that great extension point.
6. The last major part to your motion is how you “Finish”. Make sure your back is bent, your throwing hand is able to touch the outer thigh area of your lead leg, and your eyes are on the ball as it hits your target.
So remember: throw strikes, get ground ball outs, and help your team win those ball games. Have fun learning, and if you fail, then try, try again. After all, without failure, you can’t have success!
Play Hard, Have FUN, and Always Move Forward!
Todd Blyleven is a contributing writer at MLB.com Digital Academy and has experience as a professional player, coach, and scout. The son of Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, Todd is a nationally recognized pitching expert. He is a proud father of three and enjoys coaching youth baseball.