In this blog post, we will cover a pitching drill to help you improve your mechanics with the use of a towel. The towel is used as an extension of the arm that helps teach pitchers how to release and follow through correctly.
This technique in Improving Your Pitching Mechanics With the Towel Drill can be used by anyone who pitches at any level, from Little League to Major League Baseball!
Improving Your Pitching Mechanics With the Towel Drill
Some technical adjustments are hard for kids. They don’t have the coordination or strength required to do what they’re told. For kids looking to improve their pitching mechanics, there is no more valuable tool than the towel drill, which will help them concentrate on their timing and mechanics, without the added difficulty of using their whole body.
The towel drill can be used at any time to help fix common pitching issues such as rushing the throw, scapular loading, or over-striding.
1) Put a washcloth on the back of your hand and form a circle with your thumb and the index finger of the opposite hand.
2) Place another washcloth over your throwing hand to catch the throw.
3) Grip a baseball with your fingertips, as if you were gripping a basketball. Aim to throw as softly as possible. (Note: If you’re struggling with distance, then don’t worry about it. Just throw as softly as possible.)
4) When the softball comes out of your hand, you want to have it land on top of the dry washcloth. That means when the ball lands on the dry cloth, it should do so softly. If not, then work on adjusting your grip until you can make that happen.
5) Once you get the ball to land softly, work on throwing it directly at your target. You can use a tee or mark it with a full water bottle cap, but make sure you’re aiming for that thing!
6) You’ll be surprised how quickly this drill will improve your pitching mechanics. If the ball bounces off the cloth, then work on your grip. If it doesn’t bounce off the cloth, but never touches it either, then work on not rushing the throw.
7) To complete the drill, make sure to keep your eyes on the dry cloth.
8) Go for a distance of around 10-15 ft.
9) Repeat the drill 2 times.
Common Issues and Solutions:
1) Wrist Loading (Flopping). The towel drill will help you stay relaxed throughout your delivery, while also encouraging good timing of the kinetic chain through scapular loading (throwing arm cocking back before front foot strike through acceleration).
2) Rushing the Throw. This is a common problem for young players who are eager to release the ball as soon as they start their front leg drive. Aim to throw softly, slowly building up speed with each repetition.
3) Over-striding/Scapular Loading. Don’t muscle through your throws with your arm – the towel drill teaches you to use your legs and hips, while also encouraging proper timing of kinetic chain (elbow leading).
4) Not Throwing at Your Target. The towel drill forces you to aim for a specific spot, which will develop muscle memory and accuracy. If the ball bounces off the cloth but doesn’t touch it, work on not rushing the throw. If the ball never touches it, work on your grip.
These are just a few common issues that the towel drill will quickly fix. As with any pitching drills, it’s best to start slow and steady, then gradually increase your speed.
Why is a Towel Drill in Pitching for Baseball Helpful?
As the name suggests, a towel drill, in pitching for baseball, involves using a towel to simulate your pitching motion. This is helpful because it allows you to build up muscle memory before being on the mound.
Here are some more benefits:
- With the towel drill, you can practice your pitches without worrying about balls flying all over the yard. It will help reduce injuries because you won’t be exerting as much force on your arm.
- The towel drill is also beneficial because it allows the pitcher to not just focus just his pitches but also focus on his throwing motion in general. There are additional ways that the towel drill benefits baseball players.
- It helps pitchers repeat their mechanics with greater ease and enhances velocity, accuracy, and control. Pitchers can practice the drill with their eyes closed to increase arm strength and build up muscle memory. This drill also allows pitchers to improve their balance.
- Additionally, it helps to wear heavy shoes when doing this drill because it builds up leg muscles which make you more prepared for pitching on the mound.
- The towel drill is also great for developing good habits. When you use the towel, you should make sure to stick your landing foot down before making your pitching motion.
You should also follow through with the throw like how it’s done on game day.
Other Ways to Improve Your Baseball Pitching Mechanics
Being a pitcher is not just about throwing hard and being able to get people out. A lot of the time, it is a mental game. Pitching requires a certain mindset and attention to detail that many hitters do not have. It’s possible that you could be very good at pitching but just need a few tweaks here or there to hit that next level.
Here are 5 things you can do to improve your baseball pitching mechanics.
1) Improve Your Pitching Footwork
The pitcher’s footwork is extremely important to be successful. If it is off, the rest of the throw could be compromised which will lead to poor results whether it’s a ball or a strike. To improve your footwork, you need to know exactly what good pitching mechanics look like. You can do this by looking at a lot of comparison videos from the pros and studying their footwork before they throw the ball. Then, stand in front of a mirror and practice your form until you have mastered it.
2) Improve Your Pitching Grip
Improving your grip is all about finding the right grip that will allow you to pitch at your best. You need to find a type of grip that allows you to generate more power and spin on the ball. If you are looking for ways to improve pitching grips, there are plenty of videos online that show exactly how to do it. You must practice the grip and get the feel for it before actually trying to pitch with it. If you don’t, you run the risk of hurting your arm and not being able to pitch effectively.
3) Improve Your Pitching Delivery
Effectively delivering a pitch will make all the difference when it comes to your game. If you struggle with pitching mechanics, you need to look at comparison videos of great pitchers and mimic their delivery. When it comes to improving your pitching delivery, the most important thing is to practice. You need to keep practicing until you can deliver the ball in your desired manner consistently.
4) Improve Your Pitching Slider by Throwing It in the Dirt
Throwing in the dirt is a great way to improve your slider. If you want to learn how to do it, all you need to do is practice throwing in the dirt until you get the hang of it. Then once you are comfortable with it, throw your slider while aiming low. The next thing you know, you will be throwing a sharp slider with great pitching mechanics.
5) Improve Your Pitching Mechanics by Using Your Fingers and Wrists
If you want to improve your pitching mechanics and hit the ball hard, then you need to learn how to use your fingers and wrists while throwing. To do this, simply hold the ball in your palm and move your wrist around. As you do this, the ball should remain in the palm of your hand and not fall out or move around.
You need to keep doing it until you can effectively throw without having the ball slip out of your grip. Once you get the hang of it, try throwing with just your fingers to improve your pitching mechanics. This way you will be able to control the ball better and throw harder.
Is the Towel Drill Really Good for Baseball Pitchers?
The Towel Drill is a popular baseball drill that can help pitchers prepare for throwing breaking balls. To perform the towel drill, the pitcher holds a towel at the end of every finger so he has no control over his grip when he throws his breaking ball.
The objective is to have better control and command of breaking balls by practicing without any control over the grip.
Is the Towel Drill really a good way to prepare for throwing breaking balls?
To answer this question, we have to identify what aspect of throwing a breaking ball is most important. Three critical factors determine whether or not a pitcher can throw his best-located breaking balls: timing, arm speed, and position of the ball.
The first factor is timing, which can be explained as having an explosive hip rotation with no “tell” to the hitter (no bend in the lower back).
The second factor is arm speed. Arm speed refers to how fast the pitcher’s arm rotates over his head during the follow-through.
Finally, the position of the ball. A breaking ball with good position is thrown over the top with a high three-quarter or sidearm/submarine angle which causes the pitch to drop down and away from lefties and in on righties.
So, what does this have to do with the towel drill?
The Towel Drill stresses two of the three important factors that determine if a breaking ball will be well located: timing and arm speed.
- The timing is stressed because you must wait until your hips start rotating and your back leg starts kicking to throw a breaking ball. It’s hard to be explosive with your hip rotation and still control the grip of the breaking ball at the same time.
- Arm speed is the second factor that the towel drill stresses. Throwing a breaking ball without any control of your grip can only be done if you have a lot of arm speed on the throw. The towel drill gives pitchers a great opportunity to try throwing their breaking balls harder than they normally would during a game or practice session.
Thus, the towel drill may be really good if it forces pitchers to have better timing and arm speed on their breaking balls.