Spending time with your kid is important for their progress in terms of sociability, perfecting their motor skills and developing an interest in certain hobbies and activities. Being that baseball is a pretty popular American sport, chances are that your kid is into it and wants to learn a thing or two about throwing and pitching.
Signing them for a class is one thing, but spending some quality father-son time with them is entirely another. If you want to help your kid get that perfect throw, show them a couple of moves and strengthen your bond with him. To do this you might want to start from the top. Here are some tips and a step-by-step guide on how to teach your kid to throw baseball just like major league players do it.
Going for the Distance
Start with the basic movement when throwing and catching a ball. Stand in front of your kid, with only a couple of steps in between, and start throwing. Play around for a while until both of you get comfortable and playful. Now, start working on that distance. Go back one step at a time in between catches and give him some basic tips about throwing.
Be sure to remind him to loosen his hand, focus on the ball while throwing, etc. Once you notice that the distance that you’ve made between is a bit too challenging for pitching, move a step closer and work on that position. After a while, you’ll both feel secure about pitching and catching and you’ll come to a mutual agreement about the position and distance between you that you’ll always assume.
Holding the Ball
Once you’ve both figured out which distance works best in terms of providing the ideal results for throwing and successfully catching a Baseball, you’ll be able to continue to more advanced lessons. The next lesson that you need to teach your son is how to hold the ball. Every top dog in baseball uses or has used a four-seam grip. Four-seam grip is when you hold the baseball with your three fingers: index, middle finger and a thumb.
The middle and index finger should go over the horseshoe on the ball, with as little spacing between them as possible. The thumb should be exactly on the other side of the horseshoe. Keep in mind that the ball should be a bit separated from the thumb and that the grip shouldn’t be too tight. This will give you precision and speed when pitching. It’s important to be patient when showing them this gripping technique and correct them by repositioning their fingers.
Now that your kid knows how to hold the ball and feels comfortable with throwing it at any distance or position, it’s time to teach them about hand positioning. This part is crucial for developing their very own and unique pitching style. Every player has their own strategy when pitching whether it’s holding the hand close to the chest before throwing or keeping them loose below the hip. Teach your kid to place the hands in the upper area, be that around plexus or above the head.
The whole movement of hands when pitching is important. Start by holding the ball with your pitching hand while covering it with your other hand. As you move the pitching hand behind making a pull, remove the hand that’s holding it and extend the pitching hand in the direction you want the ball to go. This technique needs time to perfect, but when mastered adds to strengths and precision of the ball thrown.
Foot placement is also important for pitching in baseball and your kid should be aware of it. If you’re wondering how to teach your kid to throw a baseball to get the best results you should learn a thing or two about positioning the feet so that you get the maximum from your pitching momentum. First, show them how it’s done then let them repeat the technique. Start by holding the ball above the head or around solar plexus while keeping your legs one to another.
As you lower the hand holding the ball make a step back with your right leg if you’re right-handed, or with left if left-handed. Both leg and hand that’s holding the ball should move simultaneously. Try to perfect this movement before releasing the ball. Remember, hand on the plexus or higher, move the leg back as you move the hand and repeat. Give them a day or two to practice this move. Once you’ve seen some progress and notice that their body movement is flawless, explain the next step.
Once the hand and leg are in position, almost behind the body, as if hiding the ball and one side of your body, start pitching movement without moving the leg until the very last moment. The hand should go before the leg, almost like stretching. Again, let them perfect this move for a day or two then let them combine these two actions.
Releasing the Ball
This might be the most complex lesson, but it’s equally important just like any other lesson about positioning. Be sure to perfect the previous lessons before continuing to this one. This will ensure that the entire sequence of movement is performed perfectly, thus proving serious results. As you make a step back and go for the release of the ball, start releasing index finger and thumb.
The middle finger is your guide when going for precision. It should be the last connecting part of the body to the ball. As you release it, try to guide the ball with your middle finger and keep your eyes on the target. Give him a target by pinning a cushion or a pillow on a tree or garage door.
Every set of movements that we’ve mentioned above is crucial for perfecting the pitching technique. Keep in mind that your kid’s progress will be slow in the beginning but remind them that practice makes perfect, and correct them in each step by replacing their hands and feet in the right position.
You’ll see progress after the first couple of weeks and as they keep practicing they’ll develop their own technique that’s guaranteed to bring results on their next match.