One-Knee Drill, Bury the Shoulder
With this drill, your pitcher will get down on one knee and start with his hands up, at the center of the body. This is what I refer to as a closed position. Now, it’s very important that we work on him finishing on his follow-through as well as him separating his hands. When he does separate, he separates down.
He’s got his glove open. We’ve got the scarecrow position, or what I call the T position. The thumbs are down. The body’s closed. If he’s on a mound, his front side should be able to be read by the third baseman. He’s got his eyes focused on the target.
When you give him the verbal command, your pitcher will glove tuck, he’ll form an L in his arm, throw, and follow through. What you want to see him do is really get this shoulder down because as the arm develops speed, it is very important to let the shoulder and back muscles do their job and naturally slow the arm down.
With this drill, your pitcher’s working on his finish, his follow-through, hand separation, and tuck.
The purpose of this drill is to make sure that your pitcher rolls his foot over. Because when he rolls his foot over, it releases the knee. And once the knee is released, the energy is generated through his waist.
So we want to make sure we get a good roll of the foot so all the energy that starts at the feet goes on up and out the arm. When he starts out in a position, he’s going to make a small shift to the back leg. Again, this is just to kind of lock and load to get just a little bit of push when he goes toward the target. Again, we always separate down, form a T, finish, and he’s going to finish over his knee. And he’s going to also work on the balance, finishing it with the front side of his leg.
This drill is really good for helping small pitchers generate and get the most juice out of the body. We do not want to cheat ourselves. He gets a better feel, creates better muscle memory. While he’s doing this, we also want the ball to travel in a forward and downward plane. That pitch is the toughest to hit of any baseball player. We don’t want it straight. We want it forward and downward.
Pinch the Knee Drill
The purpose of the pinch the knee drill is to ensure the pitcher that he does not drag his back foot. This could be critical on his fast ball. If your pitcher were to drag his back foot, he’s going to lose velocity and the ball’s going to stay up in the zone. So what we’re actually trying to work on is getting his back foot up and over by trying to pinch the knees together.
What we don’t want to see is your pitcher dragging his foot way out. Because once he drags that foot, he’s losing velocity.
For the guy who’s having trouble, you can do this also on the mound. A little bit of a drag is no problem–anything over 12″ gets to be a problem. So what we can do is put a couple of bricks down to make sure that your pitcher is going to get his foot up and over. If he doesn’t, he’s going to probably stub his toe a little bit.
The purpose of this drill is to serve a number of reasons, what we’re going to work on.
First he starts with his feet crossed. Again, he’s in a closed position, his eyes on the target, his hands are in the center of his body.
And what he’s going to do is he’s going to lift his left leg. We want the foot under the knee, and he’s going to focus his balance on the inside of his right leg.
And then he’s going to pretend that the ball is an egg and he’s going to pretend to crack the egg. It works on a good separation of the hands. Then he’s going to finish and follow through. Again, burying the shoulder, staying close, L in the arm.
The purpose of this drill is that when a lot of guys are on the mound, their hands are slow. What we want to do is accelerate the hands. Once we accelerate the hands, we’re more assured of having the ball right at the point of release when our foot gets there.
These baseball pitching drills are perfect for you to use to work with a pitcher who doesn’t quite have all the fundamentals down. Which of these drills are you most looking forward to running with your pitcher? Sounds off in the comments below!