(Drills and Games)
: Key Phrase- “Both thumbs go down”
Throwing drills for accuracy and strength
1. Framework Throw
: Players throw to their partner trying to keep the ball inside the frame of their partner (shoulders to waist). When players get to a certain number, they kneel down.
2. Long Toss Game
: Players will all throw in unison. After each catch, each partner moves back about 5 feet. Players are eliminated when throw falls short or the throw is not caught.
3. Wig The Bat
: Stick 2 bats into the backstop about 12 feet apart. Make 2 teams, with each team having a ball. Scoring is as follows:
1 point- ball hits designated square on fence
3 points- ball hits hat
5 points- ball hits hat and is knocked off the backstop
7 points- ball sticks into the backstop
4. Relay Race: Line teams up in lines of equal numbers. The object of the game is to get the ball from one end of the line to the other the fastest. All players must catch the ball, turn to their glove side, and throw.
INFIELD DRILLS AND GAMES
: Key Phrase- arms out/palms out
Field ball off your glove side foot
1. Line Drill
: Put players in 2 lines facing each other 10-30 yards apart. The first person in line 1 throws a ground ball to the first person in line 2. After you throw a ground ball, you retreat to the end of your own line and the process is repeated with the remainder of the people in line.
2. Wall Drill
: Same as the line drill but use the wall instead
3. The Dump Game
: Make 2 teams with a coach as a fungo hitter for each team. Each fielder puts their fielded ball into a designated container. After a certain number of balls are hit, the fielder runs the container into the fungo hitter and dumps the balls out. They return to the field and continue playing the game until a certain number of dumps is achieved, designated by the coach.
4. Ground Ball Elimination:
Hit ground balls to your players. Players stay in the game as long as the balls are fielded cleanly. The last person left is the fielding champion.
1. Players throw 20 fly-balls to themselves, practicing proper technique.
2. Make 2 lines of 3 -10 players. Give each player in line a ball. Separate the line by 40 -130 feet, depending on arm strength. The coach stands near the line where the players have the baseballs. The player gives the coach their ball when it is their turn, and the coach tosses each player a fly-ball. The player catches the fly and throws the ball to the other line. Once the ball is thrown, the player runs down and gets into the receivers line. The receiver then runs with the ball into the throwers line and the process continues.
3. Long Ball Drill:
Coaches will throw long fly’s resembling football passes to outfielders. Outfielders must employ drop and cross over step in their initial response to the direction of the ball.
In the days of neighborhood pickup baseball games, kids got an opportunity to pitch in a game by the age of 8 or 9. Although most times they were not throwing to a catcher, they were forced to throw strikes or the “big kids” would remove them from the game. Nowadays, kids go into a game with no prior experience with the result being walk after walk. Here is a sequential way to start and progress through a young pitcher’s skill development.
Beginner: (Age 7-9) Place a pitching rubber on the ground (a small thin board will do)
1. To start, place throwing side foot against the front side of the rubber. Make sure that the foot is parallel to the rubber and perpendicular to home-plate and the hitter. The ball should be in throwing hand, held in the glove slightly above the belt about 4-8 inches away from the torso. The pitchers head should be facing home-plate on a horizontal plane. The body should be gently bent at the knees and waist.
2. Using our throwing techniques, lift the front leg (only slightly in this sequence) as your throwing arm rotates back and glove side arm rotates forward to point at the target, and throw. (Catcher does not have to be a full 46 feet away. You can adjust the distance by the players strength, size, and ability)
3. Upon releasing the ball, the throwing arm should travel downward and diagonally across the body like crossing an “x”. As the throwing arm nears completion of its follow through, the rear leg (throwing side leg) will come forward, resulting in a good fielding position for the pitcher.
Intermediate: (After mastering the beginner phase)
At this level, everything remains the same except in stage 2. Now that the pitcher lifts his front leg (notice we say lifts not kicks), the knee should be about level with the hip joint. The pitchers hands are together and above the belt, with the back leg slightly bent to provide balance and explosion. The head is facing home plate on a horizontal plane and the shoulders are level. As the front leg strides forward, the arms rotate to their proper position. When the front leg lands, the throwing arm is in a cocked position and the glove is pointed at the target. Refer above to #3
Advanced: The Windup
The windup will be used only after the pitcher can more adequately throw strikes
With an age appropriate velocity.
: The pitcher may now grip the ball one of 2 ways: 1st, across the wide seams which is called a 4-seam-grip. It is called a 4-seam-grip because when the ball rotates through the air, 4 seams make contact with the air, making the ball travel faster and straighter, and appears smaller to the hitter.
2. Beginning Foot Placement:
Lefties start on the left side, righties on the right. When ready to pitch, the feet are spread comfortably with the ball of the throwing side foot extended over the front side of the rubber. The torso is slightly bent forward, with the glove in front of the chest, concealing the pitching hand as if writing on a clipboard (the glove being the clipboard).
3. When ready to pitch, rock back slightly, turning the front foot on a 45 degree angle to home plate. Arms may stay chest high or may go over the head with elbows open for vision. Arms should stop where the visor and hat come together.
4. Now, the pitcher wants to get to the balanced position. To do this, the pitcher places his throwing side foot against (parallel) to the rubber while lifting his front leg perpendicular to the hitter.
5. At this point, the pitcher strides forward landing softly while his arms make their respective circles. The glove points to the target while the throwing arm is cocked with the ball pointed away. Remember, when the stride foot lands, the throwing arm cocks.
6. Now, the throwing arm goes forward while the glove hand pulls back, adding leverage and explosion to the pitch. As the pitch is completed, the arm follows through diagonally with the back of the throwing hand facing the batter.
As you can see from the 3 levels of pitching development, once the pitcher gets into the balanced position, all 3 stages of development are basically the same.
** A real fun way to practice is to pitch to imaginary major league lineups, having the catcher call balls and strikes. After 3 outs, take a 10 minute break. When you resume, throw 6 warm-up pitches before pitching another inning. Start off by throwing 1 inning, and gradually add innings as the pitchers stamina increases. However, please use caution if the player appears to be laboring. Early in the season, you may want to have your player throw every other day. Pitchers should also practice their windups on their own throwing imaginary pitches. This activity can be done anywhere. To give you a better view of their technique, have them throw against a wall or into a net while you stand behind them to offer feedback.
PRE-SEASON HITTING DRILLS
1. Condition the body to hit
2. Condition hands
3. Start thinking positively about upcoming season
4. Program body to become loose and relaxed
** We encourage all players to do these drills in conjunction with a stretching and strength program
1. Easy warm-up with bat
2. Stride Steps: Step soft, let weight and hands go back
3. Take swings using strike chart; visualize hitting line drives
4. Tee Drills: Use tee in conjunction with home plate to simulate all types of pitches
5. Soft Toss Drills:
Out in front
Remember, soft toss is NOT and aerobic activity… TAKE YOUR TIME!!!!
6. Short toss: Tosser should be 15-40 feet out in front
Make sure hitters get the feeling of taking their best swings, unintimidated by speed
1. Catch pitches of all locations while practicing each pitch.
2. Same as #1 but spring to throwing position on all pitches.
3. Same as #2 but use a “soft hands” glove.
4. Throw into a chair or mat from knees. Work on speed of transition, fluidity, and strength. Throw all balls 4-seams.
5. Blocking Drills
Stand up Drill: let ball hit chest and make it drop straight down. Start with a soccer ball and then go to incrediballs, then to baseballs.
Block balls from a squat with and without mitt
6. Fielding Bunts:
Roll balls out from behind catcher, using the “dust pan and broom” method. Throw all balls using 4-seams.
If you have any questions on the topics we discussed tonight, or clarification of the clinic notes, please do not hesitate to call us at (860) 623-1027.
Chris Corkum’s Baseball, Inc