Baseball Flat Ground Pitching Work
Accurate five-step pitching mechanics are essential to both the precision and the velocity of a successful pitch. This means that every great pitch starts with proper foot placement and body alignment, followed by arm motion in the form of big Cs, and finally a windup and release of the ball that starts in the legs and core and delivers the force of the pitch through the arm.
The baseball training section of Kbands Training.com addresses each of the five stages of a standard pitch in step-by-step detail. So for the basics of a straightforward pitch and brief overview of the foundations of any effective pitching style, coaches and baseball players can visit the site and review some of the video tutorials on this subject.
But not all pitches are straightforward, and when it comes to more complex motions, like fast balls and curve balls, the basic mechanics of the pitch will need to be altered in a way that allows the pitcher to adjust the path of the ball while still staying in control of speed and accuracy.
In this video, Matt Johnson takes baseball players and coaches through an alteration that brings the ball down from above, on a direct downward slant into the catcher’s mitt. The physics behind this pitch are referred to as flat ground mechanics, and they very slightly from the foot and body placement of other pitching styles.
Baseball Pitching Drills: Fundamentals of Flat Ground Pitching
The downward angle in a flat ground pitch is referred to as “tilt”, and if the pitcher can line up the flat ground pitch perfectly, the ball will move down toward the catcher from a position slightly higher than a standard pitch instead of starting at the standard height and moving parallel with the ground.
In order to stay in control of the flat ground pitch, the pitcher will need to alter the starting body position in a few key ways. First, the stride will need to shorten. If the foot is planted far from the body during the wind up, the ball will move in a flat straight line over the ground. But if the pitcher keeps the front foot close, the body will lean at a steeper angle during the pitch, and the ball will be sent in a downward motion.
Baseball players and coaches can observe the pitcher in the video and notice how his stride during the flat ground pitch is reduced by six to twelve inches. The pitch will also be released from the throwing hand at 65 to 75 percent of its normal velocity. The throw will be slower, but as this happens, the pitcher will maintain tight control over its direction.
This shorter stride, steeper body angle, and slower velocity of the flat ground pitch should ideally be mastered at a young age, so this is an excellent drill for youth baseball players. Most professional pitchers gained a strong command of the flat ground pitch early in their careers, and if players and coaches watch carefully during a professional pitching warm up or practice session, they’ll notice that the pitchers practice this move over and over again.
Baseball Pitching Drills: Details of the Flat Ground Pitch
Flat ground pitching sessions should be a frequent part of any pitching training session, and should be worked into a regular training program early and repeated often. The slower motion of the flat ground pitch can allow players to concentrate on each of the five stages of proper pitching mechanics, and coaches should keep a close eye on pitchers during each stage in order to help them stay mindful of their body position.
In order to gain the best possible advantage from every practice throw, players should deliver the pitch at a distance of about 30 to 45 feet from the strike zone. Younger pitchers will need to reduce the distance by a greater degree so they can deliver the pitch at a slow, controlled speed, and more advanced adult pitchers can step further away from the strike zone. As a general rule of thumb, children and teenagers between ten and fourteen should stay at about 30 to 35 feet. Trained, experienced pitchers can maximize the distance at about 40 to 45 feet.
Baseball Pitching Drills: Fundamentals of the Drill
The number of reps and sets completed by each pitcher during each training session can vary with experience and available time but generally, coaches can use the guidelines that suffice for other pitching drills like the throwing C’s and the five stage pitching mechanics drills. Ten reps at a time, followed by a rest period, will usually bring strong results and will help pitchers develop the instincts and muscle memory they need in order to succeed on the field.
For coaches, the primary goals of this drill will involve spotting and correcting technique problems before they become ingrained. If necessary, this drill can be completed one stage at a time just like the five stage pitching drill. Players can work out the kinks of every stage without releasing the ball until the feet, core, shoulders and arms are aligned with those of the pitcher in the video.
Baseball Pitching Drills: Final Notes
Strong, fast, effective pitching begins with a stable position and a straight, controlled body line during the wind up. There are several ways to help players reach this ideal, but the best methods all start with watchful, experienced coaching. And experienced coaching starts with training drills like the ones available in the baseball training section of KbandsTraining.com.
Coaches can use the video tutorials on the site to help players find their balance. And once they find this balance, they can tap into the instincts that will help them maintain control of the field during game situations. More videos and training materials appear on the site every week, and the information, guidelines, and resistance training equipment available through the baseball section can provide a great place to launch a successful season.
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