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Monday, September 19, 2011

How to Throw Strikes - Great Drill For Youth Baseball Pitchers

How to Throw Strikes - Great Drill For Youth Baseball Pitchers
By guest author: Jack Perconte

If anyone could discover a guaranteed method of teaching youth baseball pitchers how to throw strikes, they would strike it rich. Obviously, youth baseball games would go a lot smoother if kids threw more strikes. More innings could be played in the allotted time span and umpires would be able to keep some semblance of the strike zone. Often at the under 10 year old kid pitch leagues, umpires have to call any balls caught by the catcher "strikes" just to keep the games moving. Obviously, this umpire practice does not allow hitters to learn the strike zone and coaches have to tell hitters to swing at almost everything so they won't get called out on strikes. This result of calling a huge strike zone doesn't serve the development of pitchers or hitters, and causes much frustration in youth baseball leagues.

One thing I have noticed over the years, which is not earthshaking news, is that kids are accurate and display good throwing mechanics from a close range. Once they reach a certain distance away from their target, their throwing mechanics change and any consistent throwing accuracy is lost. The usual result of throwing a further distance is that kids step away from their target and open up their front side way too soon. Overtime, these incorrect throwing habits become a habit and may lead to arm injury.

Of course, even with the following practice drill, kids still have to be taught the correct throwing mechanics and they should work on perfecting them. With this in mind, following is one of my favorite drills where youth baseball pitchers can learn a consistent release point and have some fun at the same time.

Advance and Retreat Drill for Pitching

Once pitchers have warmed up, I start them at the midway mark between home and pitchers mound, where they begin pitching. For every "strike" they throw, pitchers back up a step towards the pitcher's mound and for every "ball" they move a step closer to home. I then count the number of pitches it takes them to get back to the pitchers mound (less the better, of course). The next time they work on pitching, the pitcher tries to beat their previous number of pitches. This drill is a great way for baseball pitchers to focus, try to keep the same mechanics and release point as they eventually get to the correct distance from home plate.

Of course, this same type drill can be used for kids who are just throwing, as opposed to pitching, and works with throwing off a wall or into a target as well. Additionally, different throwing contests can be designed and competition among players used with this baseball throwing drill.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at and at

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick