By Steve Rau
Almost every pitcher aspires to throw that devastating fastball by any hitter. There is no better feeling than to know you can overpower the hitter at any time with your fastball. Some pitchers are simply gifted and are born with a rocket arm, while others need to work hard at increasing their fastball just a few mph.
Even though genetics plays the most important role in owning a good fastball, there are still a number of things a pitcher can do to increase velocity, these 10 items include:
Improve mechanics to maximize efficiency and timing when delivering the pitch.
Increase flexibility through stretching exercises; a loose and flexible body increase torque, which in turn, produces more arm speed.
Build strong legs. Power starts from the legs and is transferred through the trunk area, and then into the arm.
Hide the ball longer. Pitcher's that stay closed longer, and hides the baseball from the hitter, give the impression that the ball gets on the batter quicker.
Develop a great change-up. A great change-up will make any fastball appear better due to the fact that hitters must be conscious of the change-up.
Strengthen the midsection. The rotation of the abdominal region is a key component in delivering a good fastball.
Always ice after outings. As ballplayers get older it becomes more important to decrease the amount of inflammation, which causes shoulder and elbow pain. Pain when pitching will reduce velocity for even the toughest pitchers.
Learn to pitch to both sides of the plate. Pitchers who can control both sides of the plate with the fastball force hitters to protect the inside and outside corners, resulting in a fastball that can both freeze and jam hitters.
Increase movement by changing arm angles and grips on the ball. An 88 mph fastball that moves three inches is more effective than a straight 92 mph fastball.
Throw, Throw, Throw. The best way to build arm strength is to throw the ball. Good, effective long toss can help develop arm strength and a better fastball.
Again genetics plays an important role; it doesn't hurt to be 6' 5" and 230lbs.
Coach Steve Rau is a long time pitching instructor and co-founder of Play Ball Academy. He has been analyzing pitchers and hitters for a number of years and has helped a number of ballplayers become successful college and professional players.
More pitching tips, video lessons, and audio sessions can be found at: http://www.PlayBallAcademy.com
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