Physical Therapy | Personal Training
How To Throw a Baseball Harder: A Physical Therapist's Top 3 Tips
Licensed Physical Therapist, PT, DPT // Dry Needling Certified // Director, EW Motion Therapy Meadowbrook
Baseball is a dynamic sport, combining coordination, power, strength, and speed to make it stand out among other sports. Baseball players must adopt a full-body approach to improve the skills needed to compete. An important metric for baseball pitchers is the speed of pitches; more velocity requires more power. But how do you go about training to throw harder? What are some practical things to focus on while off the field?
While experience on the field is unmatched, there are some valuable things you can work on while conditioning off the field to improve your mechanics and velocity. Our personal trainers and physical therapists at EW Motion Therapy work with many athletes who need individualized, sport-specific treatment, which is what we provide. Even if you decide to stick with your current training program, we still want to offer some tips for throwing harder.
This article discusses why throwing harder is essential for all baseball players, throwing tips from one of our physical therapists, and other ways to get stronger. With this information, you can go to your next game with increased confidence and power.
Why is throwing harder important in baseball?
Baseball players need to continue to increase their throwing velocity because otherwise, they will likely not continue to advance in their sport. Velocity is an essential measure to scouts and coaches alike for any player, not just pitchers, because velocity is a direct insight into arm strength. Some major-league players throw at upwards of 95mph, and while your goal might not be a major-league career, it is still essential to continue improving your mechanics to advance and accomplish your goals.
Throwing tips from a physical therapist
To improve your arm strength and velocity, there are a few things you can focus on while off the field. I played baseball for the University of Alabama at Birmingham and have worked with many baseball players in my career as a physical therapist. These three things below encompass my best advice for any baseball player who wants to throw harder.
Increase body mass
First, as you get older, body mass becomes more of a factor in getting speed and power behind your throws. 95% of baseball players that throw over 95mph weigh at least 200lbs. It’s simple physics, really - you need the body mass behind your throw to make it more powerful and increase velocity. A good body weight to aim for is 2.5x your height in inches (ex. 6ft = 72in x 2.5 = 180lbs). Focus on building muscle in the gym and incorporating more protein into your diet, especially prioritizing high-calorie breakfasts, which will set you up to improve your caloric intake throughout the day.
You may think a strong arm is all you need to throw hard. While arm strength is necessary, there is a significant transfer of force from your feet to your leg, to your core, and through your arm to generate velocity on a ball. To improve velocity, building strength through the entire chain, including the lower body and core, is essential. Develop a strength program that includes Olympic lifting to improve force production, as well as reverse lunges and pullups for improved transfer of force. Due to the application of that force on the shoulder joint itself, it is also essential to strengthen the posterior rotator cuff for stability. This could be achieved with exercises that promote strengthening with external rotation, the same position as if you were winding up to throw.
A skilled baseball player is one that has proper biomechanics and body strength as they pitch. Your coach may have tips for improving your mechanics, which can not only help you throw harder but also can reduce your chance of injury. You could even try a custom throwing program or consult various professionals in your field if you need further advice, including a professional pitching coach who can help you build strength and improve velocity.
How else can players get stronger?
Now you know more about how baseball players can improve their throws and advance. Baseball requires good physical health to excel, but also a certain level of mental conditioning. Yogi Berra even said, “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” It is a game of routines - what distinguishes a good player from a great player is their ability to be consistent when it counts, and all college and major-league players know this to be true. Especially during the off-season, continuing to build physical and mental strength will determine your success next season and throughout your career.
Even if you’re not a pitcher, every baseball player understands how important velocity is to your success. Building strength while maintaining agility and speed is the goal of every baseball player, and our personal trainers and physical therapists at EW Motion Therapy want to help you do that and improve your game. If you are interested in working with us, fill out the questions in our Program Match Tool to determine which of our programs best fits your needs.