What I Know and Remember About Baseball - Why We Throw

by : Mitchell Dowdy

Ever wonder what the purpose of throwing a baseball is? From early on most of us rely on the knowledge that to play baseball all we need do it 1) Hit the ball to score a run 2) Catch the ball to make an out and 3) throw the ball to stop the runner. For T-ball players and younger youth this summary is sufficient. When it is time to make the step up, there must be a different emphasis on what the particulars account for.

Anyone can throw a baseball. How well everyone throws is a different matter. All should have the same goal, whom ever you are throwing the ball to should be able to catch it easily. Easy, comfortable catch zone from top to bottom is between the belly button and shoulders, left to right is between the elbows at rest. This is the zone you wish to place the ball.

Throw velocity needs to be distance appropriate. It makes no sense to whip a ball in at 70 or 80mpf from less than 40 feet. If you choose to throw too hard several things can happen. First, if your throw is off there is less reaction time for the receiver to make the adjustment to your bad throw. Second, the run down distance from a ball not being able to be caught is greater an may allow the base runner to take additional bases. Third, depending on the receivers ability, a hard throw may be too much to handle to them to take possession of and make the tag.

Your goal for each and every throw is a frozen rope that begins to taper off 5 to 10 feet past the receiver. The frozen rope is a flat, horizontal throw from your hand to the receiver. Baseballs on a frozen rope will fall only 6 to 8 inches from the time it leaves the hand until it reaches a point past the glove of the receiver regardless of the distance thrown. By throwing 'thru' the receiver, you ensure that there is indeed enough umph on the ball to get there quickly but remain catchable.

Throwing a baseball into the each catch zone has multiple advantages as well. Ideally the receiver will already be in the proper location to make the play when the ball arrives. A well thrown ball will not take the receiver away from the optimum play position. They will spend less time finishing the play as the ball is good proximity. Their balance will remain in tact so that they may initiate another play. If you have ever witnessed a truly smooth 5-4-3 double play, the whole event happens so quick a easy it takes on an un-natural appearance. This smoothness or successive throws could not be achieved if the second baseman has to leap off to one side to first make the catch and then tag the bag. Time lost running down the throw all by guarantees the batters success at reaching first base.

Baseballs thrown into the zone are an enormous benefit when they are miss gloved. Predominately the ball will bounce off the receiver in front of them and at a short distance. There is still hope to make the play. Now had the thrower launched the ball to impress someone, aside from the possibility of injuring the receiver the ball can wind up anywhere and too far away for the receiver to recover.

Keep the simple goals in mind on every throw. 1) in the zone 2) catchable 3)proper speed and most importantly 4) You really want the person you are throwing to to catch it so do all you can to ensure their success.