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|The 7 Steps to Huge Velocity Gains
Now we all know that pitchers can get hitters out without
throwing the ball with Nolan Ryan type speed.
But why are most of us so obsessed with throwing the ball with
In visiting with good friend and Minor League Pitching
Coordinator of the Washington Nationals, Brent Strom, I recently
asked him "What are professional scouts looking for in baseball
players?" His response, "The first thing we look for in a
pitcher AND a position player is 'speed...arm speed...bat
speed...foot speed. For pitchers in particular, we are looking
for a live, dynamic, loose, whip-like arm action. Bottom line,
if the young man's arm isn't explosive...even if he is great at
getting people out...he will never, ever get on our radar
Let's take a look at the significance of what he just said. In
all frankness and candor, if you're a pitcher and you are not
SERIOUSLY developing and enhancing your ability to throw
harder...and harder...and harder on a daily, weekly and monthly
basis...your already slim chances at professional baseball
evolve to almost zero. That probably sounds harsh. Nevertheless,
it is the truth. It is the reality of moving up at almost any
level in baseball.
You know that on a team of 12 year olds or the high school
varsity team...the one who throws the hardest will be treated
differently...he will be given more time to get lined up...he
will be given more chances to fail. Another 12 year old or
varsity pitcher who is identical in every other performance
measure (strike %, ERA, BB/K ratio, Hits/ Innings pitched etc.)
but throws slower...will be pulled sooner... and will get far
fewer chances to 'right his ship' if he struggles. THAT is
simply reality. Fair or unfair, that is the way it has always
been...and that is the way it will always remain. Doesn't matter
if it is a 12 year old, a high school varsity player or a
college level pitcher, the harder throwers will always get more
opportunities in baseball.
The 3 Little Secrets About Throwing Velocity
If you know velocity is critical...& I know it is
critical...surely other baseball people also have to know it.
Why then do most instructors never seem to talk about how to
The 3 little secrets about velocity that nobody talks about
1) Most instructors & lessons givers certainly do realize that
velocity is critical...and although most would never admit
it...they really aren't sure exactly how to improve it. They
say...it will come in time. The standard, boring and
2) To a vast majority of all instructors of pitching, velocity
is a mystical, mysterious discipline. When talking about
improving it, most will say something vague and smacking of
profound conventional wisdom like... 'use his legs and hips
more...get longer on the back side...lift weights...drop and
drive...more over the top...push off more...throw more long
toss...use weighted balls, etc. The same old warn out excuses.
3) Another small group of instructors simply throw up the white
flag and try to talk you into the fact that 'velocity is
genetic'...or 'you can't teach speed'...or...sound like a Real
Estate Agent and say the key to pitching is 'location, location,
And the Truth IS....
Velocity is indeed a very complex part of pitching. Location is
important, but velocity is
too. Most athletes never work on this
discipline. We've been told all our careers, just throw strikes!
Here are some facts about velocity:
* Velocity comes from many factors...namely baseball pitching
specific strength, momentum and inertia, pitching mechanic
sequencing and most importantly, body part synchronization. With
the right pitching program, you can address all of these
* Velocity coming from a pitcher's are is certainly genetic. But
most athletes under achieve when it comes to velocity. Nobody
can break through their genetic ceiling, but most grossly under
achieve. Since we may never be able to quantify our true genetic
potential, we must work on this discipline disregard any
estimates or limitations we personally put upon ourselves...or
worse, what others may put upon us. * Many, many times our
preconceived, self-imposed limitation of what is possible is the
problem. We most often get in our own way. We underachieve. We
convince ourselves that we can't throw any harder.
* Velocity can be improved.
* Velocity is by far and away the number 1 determining factor in
whether a pitcher moves up to the next level or not. It doesn't
matter if that level is club ball, HS, college or professional.
The conversation between coaches, scouts, pitching coordinators
and GM's begins with velocity. Now is it the only factor? Heck
no! But anyone who would suggest velocity isn't the number 1
factor is simply not being truthful.
The 7 Steps to Huge Velocity Gains
Pretty simple really.
It's just not easy. It takes consistent and dedicated effort. No
quick fix here.
1) First you need to examine your existing level of fitness.
2) You then need to set up a pitching specific fitness program.
This program should include exercises for explosive power work,
flexibility, stability, and endurance.
3) You need to evaluate your current throwing mechanics to
determine inefficiencies and energy leaks.
4) Begin a principle centered throwing mechanics program.
Principle centered is a concept that is not based on old school
or conventional wisdom, but a program that looks at all
disciples of pitching.
5) Test and quantify your progress. Both on the conditioning
side and the throwing mechanics side of being a pitcher. We all
need to keep score to see how we are doing.
6) Break your throwing and conditioning regiment into at least 4
segments. Segments such as: off season, pre-season, in-season,
7) Set specific attainable goals. Not just for velocity, but all
disciplines of pitching and physical conditioning.
Throwing harder takes a dedicated effort, planning and
discipline. For some it comes easier than others, but don't let
that deter you. Make it a challenge to reach your genetic
Dominate your competition!
About the author:
Bill Mooney is the owner and lead instructor at the BioForce
Baseball Academy in Beaverton Oregon. Here's what former Major
League Pitcher and Pitching Coach has to say about Bill Mooney
"Having watched him interact and teach what we know today to be
right, I would not hesitate to allow him to work with our
pitchers. To place that trust in someone is the highest
compliment I can pay to a fellow pitching coach.