Focused Pitching Workout
With the start of the Major League Baseball season during COVID-19, the importance of players staying in shape while not in season is on display. There have been numerous injuries already, some of it is due to having such a short pre-season window. This is why it is so important for younger players to stay in shape to be ready for their upcoming season. During this downtime is also a great time to work on arm strength, arm care, pitching mechanics, and work on pitch types, and pitch location.
My son pitches in college and is entering his senior year. He like so many had his season abruptly stopped. He has decided to take the opportunity this summer to work on his pitches and the location of those pitches. He is also doing weight training, arm strength training, and doing an arm care program. This is all coupled with his focusing on working on his pitch location for specific game situations. To work on his mechanics and pitch location, he takes a bucket of 30 baseballs, a Muhl Tech 9 Hole Pitching Target, and a ProMounds Training Baseball Pitching Mound. We have a good-sized side yard, so he does his workout there. The nice part of this is that he can do this work out by himself.
He first gets his arm loose by throwing the entire bucket of baseballs into the pitching target stretching his arm out to throwing from approximately 90 feet. Once he has done this, he gathers up the baseballs and puts the training mound at 60’ 6” from the pitching target, which is the regulation distance for the level he is at. He then starts his 30-35 pitch sequencing working on his location of those pitches. With this being the off-season, we limit the number of pitches he throws to around 35, this could go up to 55 if he is really wanting to work on something specific.
My son uses three pitches, fastball, slider, and changeup. So, we are working on the sequences and locations for those pitches. He starts with his fastball and works on 5 inside middle to a right-handed hitter, 5 outside middle to a right-handed hitter, 5 inside top to a right-handed hitter, and 5 outside top to a right-handed hitter. He always works in groups of 5 pitches per location to help develop that release point muscle memorization. He then moves to his slider working 5 middle (red target), 5 inside middle to a right-handed hitter, 5 middle outside to right-handed hitter, and then 5 lower outside to right-handed hitter. He then finishes with his changeup going 5 middle outside to a left-handed hitter, 5 lower outside to left-handed hitter, and finishes with 5 lower outside to a right-handed hitter. Here is the chart and diagram to help you visualize what I am talking about:
This whole workout routine is to work on pitch locations for a specific purpose. The key to pitching is throwing strikes, changing speed, and moving the ball inside/out and up/down. The pitcher really needs to make the hitter “move his eyes”, meaning keep showing them different locations so they cannot get locked in on one pitch and one location. We have found the best way to work on this is to use the 9 Hole Target for instant results and release point muscle memorization. He has even broken down his workouts for specific pitch focus.
For example, he wanted to work on his inside fastball and changeup away to left-handed hitters. He threw 15 straight fastballs focusing on the middle inside and then right after that threw 15 straight changeups to the lower outside to left-handers. His next workout he focused on a middle inside fastball and then lower outside curveball to a right-handed hitter. He only threw 10 of each of these as we like to limit the number of breaking balls. This helped him tremendously with the release point of those pitches as pitching is very much built around release point muscle memorization. There are many different combinations a pitcher can work on like this.
As I mentioned before, my son has an entire program he does. It includes arm care, arm strengthening, core strengthening, leg strengthening, and lastly fine-tuning his pitches and their location.
His focused location and situation workouts with our Muhl Tech 9 Hole Pitching Target is another part of his workout arsenal. I feel doing all of these things is what will take a youth pitcher to the next level. These are all things they can do by themselves, however, I feel it is important for a parent or coach to walk them through what they are trying to accomplish during each thing. For example, not only telling them what the situations they are working on but why they are doing it. Staying ready is key when we are finally through this unique time!
- Tags: Baseball & Softball
- Chris Donohue