Pitching Mechanics

Written by Jared Vincenti
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When pitching a baseball or softball, the objective of the pitch is not just to put as much force behind the ball as possible. With the exception of a basic fast ball, most pitches are made with a spin on the ball. This causes a ball to curve or dip in the air, and makes the pitch harder to hit. In addition, the pitch is being aimed at a tiny strike zone, which is 60 feet away. From is everything when pitching, and improper form can even cause injury.

How Pitching Works

Whether pitching for baseball (overhand) or softball (underhand), a pitcher wants to put as much of the energy of the pitch behind the ball. Pitching is done in a simple, fluid motion that transfers the energy from the pitcher's muscles behind the ball that is leaving his hand. Any awkward or out-of-place motions not only take this energy away from the pitch, but they also transfer this energy to the pitcher's joints, which can cause a repetitive stress injury.

Beyond the simple principle of projecting the ball, there are variations on pitches that also require graceful mechanics. For example, a curve ball starts as a standard pitch, but a different grip causes the ball to dip downward at the plate. An ideal curve ball spins like a fast ball and breaks as close to the batter as possible. However, this technique requires a lot of practice, and is primarily a matter of form.

Other variant pitches include knuckle balls, sinkers, sliders, and screw balls. Each has its own motions and grip, and it mastering the technique of each pitch is a time consuming practice. The success of your pitching will largely deal with your mastery of pitching mechanics, and instructional videos or software can often guide you to great season.

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