The Long Toss: A Pitcher’s Best Friend
Young pitchers are always looking for workouts to increase velocity. There are other important elements for pitching success, but velocity is the easiest way to get noticed by a scout or college coach. Plus, nothing is more fun for a pitcher than lighting up the radar gun, right? While many young players employ various pitching training programs or mechanical changes in search of a few more miles per hour, the simplest pitching drill you can do to increase velocity is simply to throw often and far.
Too often the attitude regarding young arms is to preserve and protect. With all the focus put on pitch count and innings limits, it seems like the thing pitchers do most is rest. Throwing a baseball places a great amount of stress upon the shoulder and elbow so a proper warm-up and recovery period are a must for any pitcher. Fortunately there is a simple pitching drill that offers the solution: the long toss.
There is a direct correlation between how far and hard you can throw a baseball. The only way to improve your velocity is by training at max effort and throwing a baseball as far as you can. Long tossing allows a young pitcher the ability to throw at max effort without the stress that pitching off of a mound places on the arm. Incorporating the loose, relaxed motion of throwing a baseball at an upward trajectory into your baseball workouts has numerous benefits. Those positives may include increased range of motion in the shoulder, which is an excellent gauge of progress as you gradually build up your distance and velocity. All of that while minimizing stress, too, which allows for frequent practice as opposed to pitching and then taking four days off.
(Related: Read about particularly helpful pitching grips here.)
The bottom line is that if you want to throw harder then you need to toss more.Throwing as hard as you can, or in this case as far as you can, is necessary for building up arm strength and improving velocity. Long toss should be the most important part of any young pitcher’s training because it allows them to safely practice without causing injury. Grab a partner, pick up a ball, and build up to the point that you are throwing the ball as far as you can. A simple game of long toss is the most effective way to add MPHs to your fastball.