When it comes to baseball pitching mechanics, I teach one thing above all else: Not every pitcher has to pitch the exact same way to be successful. But the biggest lesson is that you need to be able to consistently repeat your pitching delivery while staying injury free.
My former teammate Dontrelle Willis of the Florida Marlins is a good example. He doesn't have "orthodox" pitching mechanics. Some pitching coaches have said his pitching mechanics aren't that "good." But to me he's got excellent mechanics because he can repeat his delivery and stay injury free.
When you work on your own pitching mechanics, don't do it from a standpoint of trying to fit into a cookie-cutter, biomechanical mold. Your pitching mechanics don't have to look like your teammates' pitching mechanics. Instead, work to have a repeatable pitching delivery that enables you to pitch injury free.
Here are some pitching mechanics checkpoints for pitching from a full windup and from the stretch windup.
Full windup: No runners on base
Take small steps: Take a small rocker step back and make a small turn to place your pivot foot parallel with rubber.
Lift your leg into the balance position, toe pointing down: Take your time. You don't need to rush, and you shouldn't "swing" your leg into the balance position. The balance point for pitchers is about waist high, and the hands should stay close to body, preferably over back leg.
Stay on the ball (front part) of your posting foot as the balance leg reaches its highest point on leg lift.
Keep your hands and head still.
Stride – Glide through the catcher. Once balanced in the balance position, stay back and glide outward, directly toward the catcher. Use gravity. toes to the target.
Arm mechanics – Have quick hands: The quicker the break of the hands, the faster one throws. Keep your fingers on top of the baseball.
Keep your throwing hand outside the elbow and your elbow shoulder height: Bring your glove hand away from body and pull directly back into chest.
Keep your fingers on top of baseball on release. Continue throwing motion by swinging throwing elbow past opposite knee to decelerate arm.
Throw down hill: Whip the throwing arm across the body from 11 o'clock to 5 o'clock (outside the opposite knee).
Get into good fielding position by squaring up to hitter on follow-through. Stay balanced on balls of both feet to react to baseball.
Stretch: Runners on base
Stay tall: Don't bend back leg more than 5 percent as you lift your front leg to load up your weight.Keep your feet shoulder-width apart in set position: Too close and you'll lose balance; too far, and you won't be able to pick off to bases to keep runners close.
Be quick to the plate: Deliver the baseball in 1.3 seconds or less to give your catcher a chance to throw out potential base runners.
Use one motion, all the time: Knee-to-knee. Never slide-step, because too much stress on arm and loss of velocity. Instead, perform an "abbreviated slide-step: Cross knees, make your pitch.
By Steven Ellis