Throw The Ball Advice To Reader Comment: “Throwing accurately making good throws”
This throw the ball video and post has nothing to do with hitting, but at the same time, has everything to do with hitters. In it, we discuss:
- Mechanics are a big part of this, but this video will not go into that (Texas & Florida Baseball Ranches & Top Velocity)
- The art of “variance” – bean bag toss study
- Depth and Lateral
- Ground-balls and different wall targets at home
- Belt-to-hat target game
- Arm care program – Jaeger Bands
Hey, what's going on. Joey Myers here from the ‘Hitting Performance Lab’. In this video, I'm going to answer a reader question. This is a big question, and if you have a hitter, they're gonna be throwing – the throwing is a given of playing baseball or softball.
To Throw The Ball: Mechanics are a Big Part of this…
It doesn't really excite me to talk pitching mechanics, but I will direct you to some sources that you can go to that promote healthy pitching mechanics. It's not all about velocity, velocity should come, it should be a byproduct, it's really where you move the ball around the zone that can upset hitters timing. So, I will make a couple suggestions…
So again, here's a question, throwing accurately, this reader needed some advice on “Throwing accurately, making good throws”. So, whether this is a player asking the question or a coach on how to put a practice together that promotes or encourages accurately making throws.
So, mechanics again are a big part of this. I would advise you to go to TopVelocity.net, and look into Brent Pourciau or go to the Texas or Florida baseball ranch. You can go online and get some of their stuff. From what I've heard, I haven't looked at it in detail, but what I've heard, a friend of mine Mike Gillen, who is my pitching guy locally. I send my hitters to him locally, who want to pitch. He teaches based off of top velocity's stuff.
It's a very healthy, not putting your players in bad positions with their arms. A lot of what I've heard is really good stuff, in addition to the Texas and Florida baseball ranches. I've heard good stuff; I've heard players that go in to have some arm pain or elbow pain whatever. They go in and start working their mechanics. They get so much better, they can throw without any kind of pain. So, any kind of program that has that as part of their focus and priority is a good program.
Don't listen to some of those people out there, where to throw the ball is all about velocity, velocity and throwing hard. Because what's gonna happen is you're gonna be short-lived that season, that career is gonna be short-lived.
You want to be careful with arms and shoulders. So, with that being said, mechanics are a big part of it. But we're not going to talk mechanics in this video…
The Art of “Variance” – bean bag toss study
I want to talk to you about the art of variance, this was a huge thing for me when I learned about it. I learned about it in Make It Stick by Peter C Brown, check it out, there were like eight principles, the “science of successful learning” is the subtitle. But the art of variance, it can be demonstrated in this way…
There was a beanbag study, they cited in the book. So, imagine that we're in a grade school class, sixth grade, fifth grade, grade school class.
I think they were 11, 12 year olds. They split the class into two. For group one, they put a bucket that was three feet away, get those kids beanbags and have them practice throwing in that three foot bucket. That was for 15 minutes.
They had group two, they gave them two buckets, one was two feet away, and the other was four feet away. So, no three-foot bucket, there was a hole at the three foot, so only two and four. They gave them beanbags and had them practice for 15 minutes throwing in the two buckets.
At the end of the 15 minutes, they had them all test on a three foot bucket, which group…? Group one who is practicing on the three foot or group two who is practicing on the two and four foot buckets, no three foot. Which group, one or two, did better?
You probably think this is a trick question, and you want to pick the three-foot bucket, but you know that there's something going on, and this probably isn't true. Well, you are right because the three-foot bucket practicing half of the class, actually did not do better, they ended up losing to the part two group, that was two- and four-foot bucket part of tossing bean bags – second group half of the class.
So, why though, why did group two win? I asked my players this, and it's because they had two frames of reference, a two and a four foot bucket. They didn't have the three, but they can, when they go to the 3-foot bucket, they say, I know if I toss toss in a four-foot bucket, which would be over the three. I know what tossing in a two-foot bucket, which is just short of the three. I know what both of those feel like, so I'll just throw it in the middle of both of those.
You see, they have two frames of reference, whereas the three foot bucket, they only have one frame. They had to either make it or they didn't, but they weren't practicing trying to throw it too far or too short. When we talk about the art of variance and practicing to throw the ball, we apply it to throwing, and throwing accurately.
Depth and Lateral – how to practice throwing accurately and making good throws at practice
What we did with my son, who is now going to be 7yo in December. We did it with his baseball ball team last season.
We had stations in our practices, and one of the stations was a throwing accuracy station. We have them lined up, three players at a time, I would toss a ground ball to one player, and we taped the numbers 1, 2, & 3 behind me on the chain-link fence in green frog tape. They were spaced enough apart, not being super close, you're getting this variance of depth for them, this is to practice depth to throw the ball.
I rolled on the ground ball. And at first, before I rolled it. I would say, I want you to hit number one. I'd go down the line. I will say, I want you to hit number two before I rolled it. So, they would get pretty good at being somewhere around the numbers, and then I would roll it.
A kind of a progression to that… I would roll it, and I wouldn't tell them any number until I rolled it, and I would say “all right, hit two”. As they were fielding it, they'd have to make the decision, and look up and try and hit the target.
Then I was changing it up on them, that was the next progression. As you got these three players on the line, well we would move them, move kind of like in a volleyball game where the players kind of shift around. You want to move them around so they're getting different perspectives of hitting the number one, two, and three. It's going to be different if they're in the middle versus the left or the right side. So, you want them to kind of feel the difference of different positions of their body of where they're at in space and time.
The other thing that we did was, it was more of a across the field drill as they got pretty good with the accuracy of hitting static targets.
Then we moved to create some depth for them. So, we would have a first baseman set up, but we'd have the real first base, we'd have a first base at about five feet down the line towards the home plate, and we would have another first base that was about five feet down the line towards right-field. So, it was just on the foul line, it was spread out this way laterally, then we had them practice kind of similar to what I just talked about. But they're hitting two different targets laterally.
So, you got the real first baseman, and then you would work variance at depth. So, arm distance or being short of first base.
We would have real first baseman, we would have a first baseman about five feet more towards the pitcher, or towards the fielder throwing the ball. Then we would have a first baseman beyond the real first baseman, almost like an overthrow. So, I can under throw the ball overthrow, and then you have the first baseman changing positions, and each player is testing at different positions.
It's almost like they're getting six different frames of references as they throw the ball to first base. This helped clean up throwing with a bunch of five-year-olds all the way up to seven year olds … this cleaned up throwing accuracy so quickly. It was amazing. It was crazy.
Ground-balls and different wall targets at home
Wall targets at home…this is something that I'm gonna be doing at our house. We're gonna have a swing open gate, right now it's just kind of a small swing open, we're gonna make a big swing open. On that gate we're gonna put some kind of vinyl material, that's not gonna ruin the wood. My son can throw the ball against the wall, and it's not gonna ruin our fence, and we're gonna create targets. We're going to put targets up on the fence, as they field the ground ball, throw the ball against it, ball bounces back, we're gonna have different targets up, down, middle.
He's gonna get to pick a target before he throws the ball. Then throw, and try and hit that target. Just different targets, putting them up all over. So, that's an idea at home that you can do.
Throw the Ball Belt-to-hat target game
Also, when we play catch. I learned this at Fresno State, you can use a belt to hat game. Players are playing catch down the line, if they hit the hat, it's three points. If they hit the chest, it's two. If they hit the belt, it's one, and anywhere else outside of that range is zero. It's called belt to hat game. So, that's a good one that you could play while playing catch.
Arm care program – Jaeger Bands
Also before in this video, I want to make sure that you are aware of arm care exercises that you should have your hitters, throwers, and pitchers do. They're never too young to start some sort of an arm care program. They need to take care of their arm, younger obviously not quite as needed as they are when they're junior, high, and high school on up. But I recommend Jaeger bands, you can go on the – search Jaeger bands on Google. Find their website, go on, and check it out.
They have a lot of videos, I'm pretty sure they're on YouTube. Just go on YouTube, and search, get to their channel. Jaeger bands channel, and they have tons of videos on how to do different exercises and things like that. Pick and choose, get a get a bunch of them, maybe five to ten of them. Doing them every day, make sure that you're providing arm care for your little hitters. Hope you learned something in this video.
Make sure that we're swinging smarter by moving better, and again this video was about “Throwing accurately and making good throws”. Before I let you go…