Every Pitcher Needs Good Rhythm
You have probably heard plenty of advice along the way about pitching with rhythm. Some coaches use the term when they have really good reasons for saying it, and many say it because they've sort of run out of other things to say.
Well the truth is that rhythm is of critical importance in anything where high athleticism is required. Starting from a dead stand still and expecting to be able to achieve explosive or highly agile movements is a dead end. Pitching is certainly a highly athletic action, and so pitching with rhythm is incredibly important.
Here's our first tip to add rhythm to your pitching motion (more will follow, follow us on Twitter to get the rest):
Once you start, don't stop
One of the easiest ways to break rhythm, is simply to come to a stop in the middle of your motion. Now, anybody who has been an athlete knows that "motion" doesn't always mean big movements.
Watch two boxers dance around each other and notice the high level of rhythm they appear to be in. Their feet are moving, their shoulders are moving, from top to bottom their bodies seem to be synced up and in good rhythm. That doesn't mean everything they're doing is big. Small movements generate rhythm in your pitching motion as well.
One of the best ways to practice this is by throwing medicine balls. An even better way to feel this is by throwing medicine balls barefooted. You'll feel your feet grabbing the ground and pulling energy from it. Then allow yourself to feel that energy move up your body and finally express itself with the throw.
Our friends at Oates Specialties have great medicine balls for this, click on this one to see them:
A great way to ensure that you're pitching with rhythm in your motion is simply to never stop once you start. If a pitcher has been coached in a very mechanical way he will often have a hard time with this one. If you're thinking of the pitching motion as a 7 step process, you will have a hard time with this piece of advice.
Instead, think of the pitching motion as momentum generation. Think of it as a fluid gathering of energy from the ground which rises up through your body and out your hand. Think of it as a whip, which has to be initiated from the bottom. Once the energy is flowing through the whip it doesn't stop, it flows all the way through to the tip which cracks as the energy is finally released.