How To Teach Kids To Pitch a Baseball Properly
Every kid that loves baseball has fantasized about being a great pro pitcher and throwing a perfect game. It’s one of those universal American dreams of little boys everywhere. While dreams like these should never be quashed, it’s important for responsible adults to teach kids how to pitch a baseball with the correct form and control. Without such guidance, overly enthusiastic children run a real risk of doing damage to their arms, elbows, and shoulder joints when throwing baseballs.
The first thing every kid needs to learn before he takes the mound to pitch in a baseball game is the correct form. Not only will this give his pitches more power and control, but it will also put less strain on the important and vulnerable parts of the body. There are two big keys for baseball pitchers. First, it must be taught to youngsters that effective and safe pitching is powered mainly by the legs, not the arm.
A good training tip is to have players watch several pro baseball games, paying close attention to the form of the pitchers as they wind up and throw. Have them note how the legs are what propel them, and that the arm is really just a means of directing the ball. Kids aren’t analyzers and most of them will attempt to pitch a baseball using all arm strength. This is a sure path to injury!
The other crucially important aspect of pitching a baseball that must be taught early is the role of the elbow. The natural tendency, especially in kids, is to simply try to throw the baseball as hard as they can each and every time. Again, this invites injury and can actually rob them of speed on every pitch.
The proper form is to train the elbow to lead the hand. The elbow should stay ahead of hand until just before the release of the baseball. This takes some practice, but once a child learns to do it without forcing it, he’s on the path to better control, more power, and (most importantly) a safe baseball throwing motion.
A good idea is to impress upon the young pitcher that speed isn’t the top priority in good baseball pitching, control is. This serves two purposes. First, it will help you slow him down in order to ingrain the proper and safe movements outlined above. Second, it’s generally easier to build up speed after control is learned when throwing a baseball than it is to learn control after speed.