Focusing on the balance point is important on all parts of the baseball field, but is absolutely essential on the pitcer's mound. Having great balance allows us to get the moving pieces of our body in positions we want them in when it's time to deliver the ball to the plate -- without it the timing is completely off.
The difficulty in pitching comes from trying to coordinate our entire body in the most efficient way to maximize the best and most consistent results possible. It's not like tying your shoe, or riding a bike, where you just get to a certain point and then you don't even have to think about it ever again; no matter how much we practice, or how much we hone our mechanics, even the greatest pitchers make bad pitches from time-to-time. It's frustrating that for as much as we practice, we still make mistakes. Mistakes can come from being tired, having an out of shape mound or just from an off day, but in any case it's important to have an understanding of mechanics so we can make adjustments.
Everybody throws a bit differently. There is not one all-encompassing way of doing things, but there are certain checkpoints that everyone must be aware of for those times when things are going wrong. For those times when our execution is not working according to plan, our checkpoints give us insight as to what may be causing the problems. There may be those times when you've checked off every point on your list, and then you'll have to rely on the help of others. It may also give you a clue that the problem you're dealing with may not be a physical one.
Regardless of how much you appreciate the importance of mechanics in maintaining consistency, mechanics have additional value in regard to our health. The act of throwing a baseball over-the-top, especially when trying to throw one as hard as you can, in many ways is contrary to the way your body is supposed to work.
As a basic progression of pitching mechanics, the goal is to take the ball and our bodies from start to finish with the most powerful and efficient sequences of motion possible. The checkpoints to follow are:
- Set up comfortably in a relaxed position over the rubber
- Set your front shoulder/glove/hip/ankle/guide side straight to your target wherever it may be.
- With a loose, relaxed foot, come up to a comfortable and controllable balance point.
- Easy separation out of the glove while getting your arm up and into a ready throwing position
- Getting our hand behind and on top of the ball, take everything down the path toward our target and follow through with the momentum created by our backside.