The next thing has to do with the striding foot. If you have a catcher that is having a little trouble with accuracy or if you have an outfielder that is having a little trouble hitting the cutoff man, you might want to check their striding foot. See where it is landing because a lot of kids will throw across their body.
Other kids have problems by opening up a little too much. So, you have to try the little coaching technique I always use and the same thing in hitting that Ben Hines was talking about and it’s the same thing in pitching and that is the belly button.
I like for a guy to get the belly button lined up with the person to whom he is throwing. When he gets it, he has the hip and the shoulder going for him and then when he opens up, that belly button has to come around and be right in line with the person to whom he is throwing. That is going to help arm angle and is going to help release point.
Those are two things that accuracy is built on.
When players warm up, they should warm up with certain purposes in mind.
1) To get the arm loose, obviously.
I think it goes a lot further than that. I think that they need to warm up also to work on these mechanics.
Now, the mental side of it comes in and this is where a lot of guys have problems because sometimes it is pretty boring to warm up, to go down and play catch.
I have a rule in my program that when we warm up you don’t talk. Because in a game where you have to make important throws, you don’t talk, so we work on concentrating and I think this is a very important part in teaching correct throwing habits.
Now, if you ask any baseball player where he likes to catch the baseball, they will show you the same place. They like the ball right in the chest, right up there.
Even if they lower the center of gravity, it is still right there. They want the ball right there where it is easy to handle. What I think is important is to build on that by working with your people throwing.
If you can get them to visualize an imaginary circle starting with the letter on the hat, to this shoulder, to the belt buckle, to the other shoulder and try to get them to throw the ball with straight back spin on a straight line or a slightly downward plane, into this circle. Work on it constantly when they warm up and I believe you throwing accuracy is going to improve.
There are some games you can play. Bragg Stockton used some stuff called Skip-and-Throw-for-Points where his kids are working on throwing into this circle and if they hit right in the middle, it is five points, if it is in the circle it is two points, and out of the circle no points.
It is a good drill because it emphasizes what is very important and that is to put the ball right into this area where it is easy for the guy to handle.
The next thing that is part of throwing is the hand position when you catch the baseball.