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Home tips & short articles Velocity

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Let"s speak pitching velocity...

If you"re in search of proven means to rise pitching velocity based on science, you"re going come love this article.

A pitcher"s capacity to increase velocity and maximize ball rate while avoiding shoulder and also elbow injuries is critical determinant of a successful career.


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For as long as baseball has actually been played, hard-throwing pitchers have actually been part of the lore and also lure of the game.

We cared about velocity even before we can measure that with contemporary technology today.

Back in 1912, a pitcher called Leslie Ambrose bush often walked an ext batters 보다 he to win out, however he threw so tough he earn the name Bullet Joe.

In 1917, a Negro organization pitcher called Joe Rogan came to be Bullet Rogan and also went all the means to the hall of Fame.

Walter Johnson"s fastball "hissed with danger," Ty Cobb as soon as said. A hundred years earlier Johnson"s fastball to be timed not with a Bushnell, Jugs or Stalker radar gun, but rather against a speeding motorcycle and estimated at 97 mph.

Thirty year later, Bob "Rapid Robert" Feller took the exact same motorcycle test and also his fastball was approximated at 104 mph.


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MLB"s hardest throwers

There"s a general agreement that significant league pitchers are now throwing more tough than ever before. The exact same is happening through velocity advancement of amateur pitchers.

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Did girlfriend know? A 70-mph fastball in small League is the tantamount of a 92-mph fastball in the significant Leagues. Discover out exactly how your son"s pitching velocity compares to various other pitchers his period with this chart below. (Scott Kane / symbol Sportswire)

If girlfriend look at data compiled from MLB"s really accurate PitchFX system over the past 10 years, the number prove much more and more pitchers throwing harder every year.

Here room two things that stand out:

First, the variety of MLB pitchers throwing 95+ mph is means up

Let"s go back to 2007, the first year advanced technology standardized and also began reliably tracking the rate of pitches...

As the chart below shows, in 2007 only 8 significant league starters averaged 95 mph or better on your fastball. The number jumped come 15 by 2012 and also to 20 in 2014.

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The exact same thing happened with relievers:

In 2007, simply 27 relief pitchers to be throwing 95 mph or better. In 2014, there were 54 in ~ 95 mph or far better – an increase of 100% in simply 7 years.

Clearly a lot more pitchers room throwing harder than ever before.

Second, the median fastball velocity of every MLB pitchers is up

If us look at pitching velocity one more way, we check out that in 2008 the typical four-seam fastball in significant League Baseball to be 90.9 mph, according to data on Fangraphs.com.

That number jumped to 92.6 mph in 2014 — a acquire of nearly 2 mph in much less than 10 years!

Pitching has constantly been further ahead in the analysis world, and applying details to the competition has actually been much much faster on the run-prevention side than the run-production side.

Data mirrors pitchers space throwing more tough in the analysis age, wherein many large leaguers have had their mechanics analyzed in ~ Driveline Baseball, Cressey sporting activities Performance or the American Sports medicine Institute in an effort to get velocity, efficiency and durability.

Today, the average four-seam fastball velocity is 93.5 mph, according to Statcast, increase from 93.4 mph in 2000, 92.9 mph in 2015 and also 92.6 in 2014, as pointed out above.

There"s no consensus on why pitchers are throwing more tough today, but there room plenty that contributing factors that ns think space worth trying out further:

Pitchers are getting bigger and also stronger than ever before; in many instances, pitchers are currently the best athletes on the field. Pitchers room throwing with better deliveries learned and perfected at younger ages. Pitchers are able to set velocity goals for themselves and also measure results to occupational to meet them.
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This combination of great strength while maintaining flexibility, good pitching mechanics, and good throwing program to build speed, stamina and a strong arm space the main factors to MLB pitching velocities that room truly off the charts.

Let"s take it a look at the hardest throwers in baseball from 2007 to 2014... (I"m in the process of updating this info for this season.)

Fastest pitchers in baseball

top top a mobile device? Swipe to see more.


faster four-seam fastballs, 2007-2014 Starters (200 key minimum) mean velocity (mph)
Yordano Ventura 98.19
Carlos Martinez 97.73
Gerrit Cole 96.79
Matt Harvey 96.59
Nathan Eovaldi 96.36

Relievers (200 pitch minimum) median velocity (mph)
Bruce Rondon 100.34
Aroldis Chapman 99.45
Joel Zumaya 99.27
Kelvin Herrera 99.18
Henry Rodriguez 98.78

What"s impressive around these 10 pitchers is not simply the fact that they"re placing up three digits on the radar gun, but rather the consistency of their velocity as well... These numbers room averages.

I think this pic pretty lot sums it up:

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Dang, right!?

Which leads us to noah Syndergaard who appears to be experimentation the borders of human being velocity.

Check out this 99-mph fastball from the Mets" ace:

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Over nearly 184 innings in his 2016 season, Syndergaard"s four-seam fastball sizzled at a major-league best for beginning pitchers.

His mean was 97.9 mph — almost 1.5 mph much better than the next ideal starter.

"I favor to speak it"s managed violence," Syndergaard claimed of his delivery that to produce his high velocity.

Although data isn"t obtainable from earlier eras in baseball, as soon as the mound height and also distance were different at times, Syndergaard"s median fastball velocity together a starter in 2016 can have been the fastest come date.

Increasing pitching velocity

An explosive fastball alone deserve to still acquire a pitcher come college and also entry right into pro ball, if wowing coaches, scouts, players and fans along the way. (Velocity is a foot in the door. Other variables like an excellent control, command, movement and changing speeds are still essential to key at these levels.)

So how can your son construct a much better fastball?

In the simpliest terms, pitching instructor Christian marvels sums it up like this:

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Now, let"s obtain into just how to rise pitching velocity in a little much more detail...

22 ways to increase pitching velocity

Here space 22 means to improve pitching velocity and point you and your boy in the direction that success:

1. Rise body mass

when I was growing up, i was tall but skinny so mine Dad supplied to preach Mass = Gas, which usually meant it was time for one more peanut butter sandwich.

Mass = Gas was a long-running joke in between us throughout my baseball career.

however research has actually actually proven there"s a lot of of fact to this statement.

acquiring weight with both development spurts and eating 500 extra calories every day can help to boost a pitcher"s ability to litter harder.

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However, it"s essential to psychic that including mass is a slow-moving process.

According to the mei Clinic and the McKinley Health facility at the college of Illinois, a healthy weight get is 1/2 come 1 pounds every week.

Adding 10-15 pounds of skinny mass have the right to take 6-8 month or more.

Love this quote indigenous Eric Cressey the Cressey sports Performance:

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Source: Werner 2008; Zeratsky 2014; university of Illinois 2010

2. Rate up the moment from stride foot contact to maximum external rotation the the throwing shoulder

The hardest throwing pitchers in baseball walk from stride foot call (SFC) to maximum exterior rotation (MER) in much less than 3-tenths the a second, or 0.244 secs to be exact. I"ll sheathe MER in greater information shortly.

Source: Werner 2008

3. Acquire the glove arm involved

an excellent glove arm action helps appropriate shoulder alignment, tribe arching and flexion, and great trunk rotation—all the which generate arm speed and also ball velocity.

There are two simple methods of occurring effective glove arm action:

Fire the glove and also lead arm towards the plate command the elbow directly at the key

For both methods, as soon as the stride foot makes contact with the ground, actively whip the glove and elbow down and ago outside the lead hip. Carry out not allow the gloves to walk too much behind the command hip.

4. Eliminate the "balance point"

have actually you ever watched Justin Verlander pitch? If you have, you"ll notification that that doesn"t protect against or stop at any suggest during the height of his leg lift.

The path of his knee is a fluid continuous movement up, down and out.

A 2004 study compared pitchers who supplied a balance point and those that did not. Researchers discovered that pitchers using a balance point had an ext head movement which resulted in lower velocity and also decreased accuracy.

This led the researchers to conclude, "we can not recommend the indiscriminate exercise of the balance-point position..."

having actually a balance point during the leg kick does the following:

create an un-athletic posture decreases quickness to the plate, reduces momentum and causes slow velocity Slows distribution tempo, leading to negative timing and also decreased accuracy

Source: swamp 2004

5. Raise lead knee to a minimum the 60% (but not much more than 70%) that pitcher"s all at once height during leg kick

Research shows that the hardest throwing pitchers have actually a maximum command knee height in between 60 and also 70 percent of your standing height.

If the command knee isn"t raised high sufficient ( 70 degrees), the momentum down and also toward the plate deserve to be arrested or started too late.

Source: Boddy 2011

6. Rise knee flexion in ~ foot strike

Research shows the much more the front knee is bent at stride foot call (SFC), the higher a pitcher"s velocity. This requires the pitcher to be rapid with the hips come get an ext weight ~ above the former leg in ~ SFC.

The mean bend in the former knee at SFC is 48 levels for the hardest throwers.

Source: Werner 2008

7. Boost elbow flexion at stride foot contact

The much more the throw elbow is bent in ~ foot strike, the higher the velocity. The typical bend in the throw elbow in ~ stride foot call is almost 90 levels for the hardest throwers.

Source: Werner 2008

8. Keep the head behind the lead hip longer

keeping the head behind the command hip much longer (which is why we lead with the former hip through no balance point during the leg kick) additionally produces much less stress top top the shoulder.

Source: Werner 2002

9. Don"t rush

when a pitcher rushes his delivery, it means the body has actually moved forward towards the plate as well early, bring about the arm place to be too low at the moment of stride foot contact with the ground and arm acceleration.

This short arm position reduces key velocity.

What I have actually observed in most power pitchers is that the weight is held ago over a firm posting leg until the command leg start downward. The lead foot comes downward a little more than shoulder width apart and also side along the ground come the contact area. The upper body and the head continues to be at the top center of the widening triangle the the body. The body has actually only drifted, or fallen forward. There is no significant push or drive during this phase.

10. Increase maximum shoulder outside rotation

Maximum exterior rotation (MER) explains the edge at which the forearm "lays back" during the pitching delivery. This is as result of a fast turn of the shoulders together the inertial fixed of the baseball pushes the hand and forearm back.

Stressing flexibility, the further the throwing eight rotated back, the greater the velocity because of the enhanced stored power (think that a slingshot).

The pitchers who throw the hardest have a maximum external rotation that 160-180 degrees.

Sources: Werner 2008; Boddy 2011

11. Increase elbow flexion velocity

as soon as the throwing eight is cocked, relaxed and ready, the arm must also have an excellent elbow flexion.

This elbow flexion method the round is within the elbow, which will permit the arm to move right into MER faster due to the fact that of the shorter arm path because of the raised elbow flexion.

Sources: Werner 2008; Pourciau 2013; Kreber 2011; Ellis 2015

12. Boost upper stems (torso) and also pelvis rotation velocity

Rotation + expansion = Power. This is why it"s so necessary for pitchers to be rapid with all movements to the relax of the baseball, making use of trunk rotation to develop velocity. The speed and also strength the a pitcher"s torso is another an essential element in cram velocity during the pitching delivery.

I believe it to be Coach invoice Thurston from Amherst College earlier in the early on 90"s who was one of the very first pitching instructors come emphasize that pitching velocity to be the an outcome of the rotational forces of the whole body working with each other as successfully as feasible by throwing with great mechanics.

He found that a pitcher"s can be fried velocity was dependent ~ above how easily he can transfer energy from the lower fifty percent of the body (legs) right into the rotational pressures of the torso that bring the arm through to release the ball.

In other words, how deserve to a pitcher easily get his belly switch from facing sideways together he strides forward, to encountering the hitter top top landing right into ball release?

In the September 2003 version of Coaching monitoring magazine, former White Sox Strength and Conditioning manager Vern Gambetta, acknowledged that the torso plays a key role in obtaining the arm in the ideal throwing position.

In enhancement to Gambetta, Arnel Aguinaldo, indigenous Children"s Hospital san Diego, carried out a study, which proposed that bigger body segments create most that the velocity in throwing. Speed of the trunk is no the only facet of torso that requirements to be developed. So late trunk rotation is a movement that can aid increase force used to the ball along with keeping the arm healthy and safe.

Jordana Bieze report in the June 2004 worry of Biomechanics that collegiate, high school, and youth pitchers rotate less than 15% of their way through the pitching motion. Rotating too beforehand can produce included strain to the arm and shoulder.

Additionally, Stodden and also colleagues (2001) studied the results of the pelvis ~ above velocity and concluded that with a greater pelvic velocity a pitcher can throw harder throughout his delivery.

Sources: Werner 2008; Kreber 2011; Ellis 2015

13. Boost knee flexion at ball release

Pitchers who throw the sphere hardest have actually their front knee bent to 60 degrees or more at ball release. So your front knees went indigenous 48 levels bent in ~ stride foot contact to 60 levels or more at sphere release.

This is frequently called "bracing up" against a for sure front leg.

Studies display that a pitcher"s front foot absorbs twice their bodyweight on your front leg together they pitch. Those with the greatest velocity had the finest bracing increase of your front leg.

The more powerful your former leg, the harder you throw.

In 1998, Bruce MacWillams performed a study that examined ground reaction forces (GRF) during the pitching motion. The study"s results suggested that leg journey is a significant factor in pitcher"s throw velocity. They uncovered that better resultant soil reaction forces resulted in a better wrist velocity in ~ release. Thus, they created a link in between leg drive (the leg activities of the pitcher) and also arm velocity. However, the forward motion in the delivery is no the only important activity of the reduced body. The command leg that blocks forward movement is also vital element in a pitcher"s throwing velocity. This demonstrated the the capacity for the subject to drive the body end a stabilized former leg was characteristic of the fast-throwing pitchers.

Elliott et al. (1988) demonstrated the the capability for the subject to drive the body end a stabilized former leg was characteristic of the fast-throwing pitchers.

What"s more, in a 2001 study, Matsuo discovered that high velocity throwers were able to plant and also extend the command knee to administer stability come the pitching motion.

In addition, the Lexington Clinic was detailed an outline analyzing kinetic movements. They had a .89 correlation in between throwing velocity and also lower human body strength.

Source: Werner 2008; Kreber 2011; Ellis 2015

14. Boost forward stems tilt at sphere release

raising forward tribe tilt doesn"t mean bend the earlier or monitor through.

In fact, at ball release the back is actually straight if the hips are bent. Every the flexing that occurs happens at the hips, not the back; the earlier stays right through round release.

The researchers felt that extending the front knee at ball release (from 48 come 68 degrees) aided increase the front tilt that the top body at sphere release.

Source: Werner 2008

15. Thrust her chest in ~ the target throughout maximum outside rotation the shoulder

The kinetic chain indigenous the earlier leg come the cram hand in maximum outside rotation will show a reverse "C" position.

The latissimus dorsi, provided its origin and also insertion anatomic position and contraction v the lumbopelvic kinetic chain linkage, generates the greatest force throughout acceleration and positively boosts ball velocity.

Source: Calabrese 2013

16. Increase stride length

because that a pitcher"s stride striding toward house plate, aim because that 90 percent of the pitcher"s height, v a goal eventually of getting to 95-100 percent of his height.

The mix provides lot of of inert to bring him right into a lengthy stride size that his 83% that his height (elite pitchers room 75-90%), and maintain pressure production increase the chain.

however you still want to soil on a flexed front leg.

Measuring indigenous the front leaf of the rubber to the toe the the stride foot, the size of the stride must be close to the pitcher"s stand height.

Aim because that as long a stride as feasible where the pitcher have the right to still obtain his head and also shoulders end the command leg at the time of ball release. As the pitcher"s foot lands, look to check out that he is top top the sphere of the stride foot, or level footed. The toe should suggest slightly in a nearby position. If the pitcher lands difficult on the heel, the foot will commonly fly open which causes the hips and also trunk come rotate open up too soon. That may additionally cause the pitcher to gain onto a stubborn front foot too at an early stage which reasons recoil action, or place him out of balance and alignment throughout the accretion phase—both of which negative affects control and also pitch velocity.

Stride faults in direction and length can influence trunk rotation velocity and inclination and also contribute to the throwing arm lagging behind the scapular aircraft and boost stress top top the shoulder and elbow.

The so late cocking and acceleration phases generate the greatest segmental velocities and these phases room implicated in the bulk of pitching injuries.

The stride is initiated from the suggest of maximum lead knee elevation to the allude of foot contact. About 50% of round velocity in the pitching movement is the result forces built up in the stride and trunk rotation.

Sources: Calabrese 2013; Kunz 1974; Toyoshima et al. 1976; Toyoshima and also Miyashita 1973; valve Den Tillaar and Ettema 2004; Marques 2010

17. Finish with a "flat back" position

Acceleration‐Demonstrating humeral adduction, trunk inclination in between 32° and 55° prior to round release towards home plate and also an extending lead leg.

Source: Calabrese 2013

18. Usage a four-seam grip

The finest grip because that velocity and control top top the fastball is throughout the 4-seams grip. The ball is balanced and also consistent finger pressure enables for good control and also this fixed imparts the fastest sphere rotation.

Remeber, generating velocity needs you to use force to the baseball.

Source: Ellis 2014

19. Usage the wrist

The wrist is a very important lever in the pitching motion. In fact, Norihisa Fujii native the university of Tsukuba concluded ~ a 2002 study that wrist flexion and strength are significant contributors for increasing throwing velocity.In addition, numerous pitching coaches have incorporated a "wrist flick" during their throwing warmth up progression.

The Lexington Clinic reported that the wrist accounted because that 10% of the force used to the baseball throughout the pitching delivery.

Source: Kreber 2011; Ellis 2015

20. Usage the forearm

The forearm is vital to attain high velocity in the pitching delivery. In will certainly Carroll"s 2004 book Saving the Pitcher; he questioned the usage of the forearm in the pitching motion.

During the acceleration stage, the pitcher"s forearm will certainly pronate, providing the ball its last bit of energy. Dr. Joshua Dubin explained in his Injury management Update on Pitcher"s Elbow, exactly how a flexed wrist will activate the forearm flexors during the release of the baseball.

Even the most inexperienced pitcher have the right to tell that the forearm lends to force throughout the pitch. By keeping a hand ~ above the cram forearm and also moving the throw fingers, a pitcher can feel the movement inside the forearm.

By occurring the forearm muscle, pitchers will be able to powerfully pronate your arms throughout this phase in the delivery.

Source: Kreber 2011; Ellis 2015

21. Develop leg stamin to improve ground reaction forces

Leg strength is all vital to an effective weight shift. It"s the lower half that initiates movement down the hill and also creates energy in the system.

And it"s the lower half that put the brakes on to transport the produced energy increase the chain and convert direct momentum into rotational momentum. The much more abruptly the brakes space applied, the greater the power that gets moved (and that deserve to translate to far better velocity and also less wear and also tear ~ above the arm).

The much more efficient this is, the much less other components of the body must be recruited.

Leg strength likewise figures right into stamina.

Remember, over the food of a game, a pitcher"s lower fifty percent starts and then brakes over and over again...

Start–brake. Start–brake. Start–brake.

Maintaining tempo to placed a continual amount of power into the system and consistently placing on the brakes to carry a constant amount of power up the chain all assist to develop a consistent, repeatable delivery. But without stamina, all of this deteriorates as the video game goes on. I also agree strong legs administer a stable base to aid maintain posture and also balance.

So come me, leg strength doesn"t just relate come one or two points — it figures into a the majority of things that all can contribute to better performance and also health.

22. Build rotator cuff strength

Underdeveloped musculature in the rotator cuff might lead to difficulty controlling throwing-arm deceleration, causing boost in horizontal adduction across the torso.

The rotator cuff is a an essential contributor come the overhand throw. Pitchers must maintain a strong and healthy rotator cuff if they want to be successful on the mound. In fact, in an outline of kinetic motions by the Lexington Clinic, they found that the shoulder is responsible for 21% the the force placed top top the ball. If a pitcher can strengthen this muscle, that is basic to see just how pitch velocity have the right to be added.

A university of Hawaii evaluation of literary works can ago up this claim. It was reported the Toyoshima carried out a study and also concluded that 53.1% of one overhand litter velocity was because of the activity of the arm. In another 2001 study by Galloway and also Koshland, your worked concentrated on detect a sample in shoulder or elbow focused activities.

Their findings argued that shoulder-centered activities were shown with straight or bent finger paths. Because the pitching motion requires straight and also curved finger action, strengthening the shoulder and corresponding tendons should carry out optimal velocity results.

Sources: Calabrese 2013; Keeley 2008

24 reasons why many pitchers shed velocity

Since we"re on the subject of boosting pitching velocity, I acquire asked every the time around when a pitchershould gain his mechanics analyzed.

The answeris as soon as possible. Exactly how long perform you wanta pitcher to build negative habits that room moredifficult to deal with the much longer you wait?

Here is a quick list of every the mechanically faultsthat no only minimize velocity, but additionally increase the threat ofpitching arm injuries.

Foot place on rubberWeight shiftHand breakArm actionBack foot position prior to hand breakLead foot actionPostureEarly hip rotationLow elbow or high elbowCompletion of ago leg driveLanding position - body alignmentLanding leg stabilityBracing action of prior leg and hipEarly tribe rotationBall relax positionFinish positionStride lengthBack foot activity at sphere releaseAmount the trunk skinny at round releaseShowing back pocket or number to hitterPoor eight cocked place at landingBall in close come head at landingHow the sphere comes out of the glovePosition of ago leg prior to weight shift

Those are most of the mechanically faults you will see. And there are pitching drills draft to fix every among them.

Don"t forget, it"s essential to psychic the arm is not the resource of power however the an outcome of power emerged by the larger muscles of the body. If you aid a pitcher enhance his mechanics, the will obtain velocity almost instantly.

Just display him how to relocate off his earlier leg, or transition his weight properly, or rise his stride length — and the included elastic power will perform the cheat in pulling the arm v at much higher speed.

Or display him how to relocate his body an ext explosively so that his reduced body mass increases his tribe (and then his arm).

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Many pitchers just need to know that in bespeak to throw harder, you have to obtain the body to be more explosive while getting into the optimum position to throw at foot plant.

This ide was once defined to me as having a “fast belly button.” i really favor this idea. The faster a pitcher can get his belly switch from facing sideways to dealing with the hitter, the quicker his arm will certainly go and the higher the radar readings will certainly be.