The Ole Ball Game

What is the correct way to bring your arm back when you throw?

by Daniel
(Middletown, DE, USA)

Daniel asked:

Recently I have started a bad habit of dropping my arm slot and throwing off the side of my hand. I think the problem has something to do with how I bring my arm back. But, I can't quite figure out what it is. I always used to throw over the top and the ball would have a perfect four seam spin. But, now my throws are tailing.

Rick answered: Daniel, good question and something that happens to players now and then.

There are a few things that could cause what is happening to you.

The first would be just bringing your arm straight back from your glove, and then throwing.

Your initial movement needs to be, take your thumb down to your thigh, then bring the ball up and back, so that if you look back at your hand, you should see the back of your hand, not the ball. This will get you in a position to throw over the top.

Quite often players will rotate the ball to the front as they start to throw, which causes them to drop their elbow, thus the ball comes out the side of their hand.

The spin caused makes their throws tail off, the greater the distance, the longer the tail.

If you are a SS or 3B, that tail takes the first baseman directly into the path of the runner.

Usually this is followed by a sore elbow, if they do much throwing at one time.

The same situation occurs if the player doesn't step on line with their front foot, directly at the target they are throwing at.

If their front foot gets off line, it opens up the front shoulder, which causes the elbow to drop and the ball to come out the side of their hand.

The same thing happens when a hitter steps in the bucket. When that front side opens up, the barrel of the bat drops, causing a long, looping swing.

Keeping the front side closed is important.

All are easily correctable mechanics.

There are two pages on the site that deal specifically with throwing:

Rookie Throwing

Advanced Throwing

Having good mechanics is important, so that your throws are strong and accurate; but it is also important to help protect your arm from injuries.

It is difficult to play this game with a sore arm.

Of the 10 lineup positions, only 1 is based solely on hitting skills. The ability to throw strongly and accurately is directly tied to a players success and enjoyment in the game.

I suggest you break down each step of your mechanics, consciously check them for a while. Watch the spin to see if it is correct. Once it feels good again, and you are feeling smooth with it, start backing up and playing long toss.

Long toss will tell you how you are doing.

Stay with it! You had it once, it will come back.

Baseball can be funny that way. Suddenly a skill you had seems to mysteriously disappear, for no apparent reason.

Always go back to your base, and work your way back. Hitting and fielding are the same way.

Practice Makes Permanent
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect!

Good luck as you move forward. Take care of that arm.

Yours in baseball,


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