Okay, LOOOoooong overdue…

Finally back with Step 3 for building your own velocity program… This is very often the #1 Missing Ingredient in a pitcher’s development… And this, in my opinion, is mainly for two reasons, or two trends that have become commonplace these days:

  1. An increased fear over pitchers hurting their arms (hint, less throwing is not always better… if we want the arm to handle the stresses of pitching we must first introduce and prepare the pitcher’s arm for those demands). At the same time, travel ball has become a behemoth, and kids are pitching competitively in games MORE while actually throwing (conditioning their arms) LESS…
  2. Pitchers (and coaches and parents) buy into the idea that “good mechanics” alone will lead to more velocity. Not only is this not the case, it often has a nasty unintended consequence… pitchers who become stiff and overly mechanical – deliberate and disconnected rather than fluid and explosive.

In steps ONE and TWO we talked about the Getting a Baseline, Developing Good Movement Patterns (through dry work and drill work) and getting crystal clear on your goals… So without further ado…

Step THREE: Training the INTENT to throw HARD

Audio Post with transcript below:


Once you’ve got that baseline – you’ve got that clear goal in your mind and you know what you need to work on in terms of your motion – you’ve now got the basic framework in place…

You’re doing your daily dry work to get comfortable with your delivery, you’ve got your drill work to start developing those powerful movements…

And make no mistake about it, adding that element of consistency is just the biggest factor.

Here’s how I would recommend working on it:

In the first week you’re just going to be getting comfortable with these movements. You’re not working on throwing full speed; you’re going to start off kind of slow, just try to get comfortable with these movements. Do them as many times as you can during that week: doing your dry work without a ball; doing your drill work every day; not doing a ton of throwing; mixing in with your throwing, but you’re not throwing a hundred percent so you’re not wearing your arm out.

Once you get comfortable with those movements and you’ve established the mechanics, a key element if you really want to increase velocity is simply this:

Adding more POWER behind those movements.

You could have technically “good mechanics”, but if there’s no power behind those movements… you’re not going to see BIG, meaningful velocity gains. You might increase a little bit, but you’re only tapping into part of that.

That’s where the conditioning piece of the equation is huge: getting stronger, getting faster, getting more explosive, and just learning to throw with that INTENT to throw the ball harder … Throw the #&%*! out of the ball (for lack of a better word).

And that’s where too much coaching on “pitching mechanics” at a young age can actually work against a pitcher. I’ve seen it time and again.

You probably have too…

I think when kids learn pitching mechanics at too young of an age sometimes, they get caught up in the idea of:

“If I can just get this down and learn this set of perfect mechanics I’m going to automatically throw harder.”

It sounds good in theory, but that’s just not the way it works.

Yes, you want to have good mechanics in order to be powerful and move well, but once you have that delivery down you’ve got to have some horsepower behind those movements. You’ve got to move explosively…

Much like hitting, the act of pitching is one of “Controlled Aggression.”

[h3]The Act of Pitching Is One of Controlled Aggression[/h3]

I forget where I first heard that phrase. I’m pretty sure it was pertaining to a hitter’s swing, but regardless… It’s just as true of pitching, and I certainly didn’t coin the phrase.

The pitching delivery is like nothing else… 0 to 90 in one second… You’re an explosive athlete.
So basically, when you think of your pitching delivery and how you generate power (and transfer it to your arm) you’re trying to get your body moving as fast as you can to home plate (while staying gathered and loaded)… So when you reach footplant and launch, that ball’s jumping out of your hand.

That takes some power.

That said, MAX-effort throws takes its toll on your arm, whether that be pitching, long-toss or just flat-ground throwing the bleep out of the ball into a net.

So you want to be smart about this… A lot of this is common sense, but here’s a simple rule of thumb:

One or two days a week is going to be a “velocity” or “high intensity” throwing day for you.

Here’s what that means (it does NOT mean you go all out on EVERY throw)…

Once you’ve gotten your body and arm warmed up and firing on all cylinders, you get 10-20 throws that you’re just trying to throw this ball as hard as you can, without worrying about your mechanics.

You’ve put in the work already to assure that your delivery’s in decent shape. Now we’re just focusing on bringing that intensity…

You’re not thinking mechanics… You’re thinking something more like:

“I’m just trying to throw that ball right through the glove.”

If you’re stretching it out to say 120 feet or 150 feet, your intent is:

“I’m just trying to throw this on the line as hard as I can – Boom! Get it there!”

[h5]Important Tip: BREAK IT UP INTO BLOCKS[/h5]

When we’re doing this, we break it up into sets. It’ll be 5 throws, hard as you can. Then take a little break. Then throw a couple easy to prep your arm again. Then go back into your velocity throws.

Five throws. BAM! Hard as I can.

Then you’re taking another little break.

Five throws, hard as I can, each one with everything behind it.

And take time between throws so you can really recoup and get ready to put everything you can into this throw.

So you’re getting two velocity training days a week where you’re stretching yourself. You’re pushing yourself. You’re asking more of yourself.

That’s how your body grows.

If you’re trying to get stronger and lifting weights, you don’t just lift the same exact weight every time and expect to actually get stronger… You’ve got to increase amount of weight you’re putting on the bar. That’s how your your muscles and your body gets stronger. I’m oversimplifying, I know, but at the most basic level, by forcing it or challenging it to lift heavier weight, your body gets sent a signal… your brain gets sent a signal (the ol’ mind-body connection at play):

“I’ve got to learn how to lift more weight. I better grow!”

It’s the same with velocity. You don’t learn to throw faster by practicing slower all the time.

You can do that early work where you’re practicing your motion slowly to just get comfortable with it. But together with that, if the goal is to increase velocity, also you have to demand of yourself…

“Okay self… Throw this ball HARD.”

Very often, that little shift in emphasis, in focus, in intent, is the missing link between guys who have “pretty mechanics” but see their velocity peeter out… And the guys who blast threw those ceilings and see big time gains.

And like everything else, that will start to become more natural to you the more you do it.

Okay, that's all for this post, would love to hear your thoughts.

Stay tuned for Parts 4 and 5 (soon to follow) where we'll dive into the important roles of TRACKING your progress and Conditioning Your Arm and Body for the demands of being a high-velocity pitcher.

Okay, so mixing it up a little with today’s post. I get asked a lot about pitching mechanics…

“Where should the front foot land in relation to the back foot?”

“What’s the right way to break your hands?”

Drop and Drive or Tall and Fall?”

“What about the back foot?”Pitchers-Drag-line

That last one can be a little tricky… As I’ve written before, people often make too big a deal about the back foot lifting early (before ball release). That said, it CAN be very telling.

It can tell you if a guy is “jumping” instead of driving down the mound…

Whether he’s blocking himself off and not getting his hips open (a nasty little breakdown that compounds as it moves up the chain).

Or whether getting out over his skis or stuck back on his heels…

And you can tell a LOT by a pitcher’s drag line… That line in the dirt created when the back foot leaves the rubber. You can often tell the same thing by looking at a pitchers spikes after a game… Where is the toe getting scuffed – more over the big toe, or off to the side of the foot by the pinkie?

And here’s where it would be easy to get bogged down in technical jargon… Rather than go down that path, I thought it might be helpful to show some examples of guys with pretty good track records…

See any similarities?

Different pitchers with different styles… But some important things you see with all of them.

Oh, and be sure read to the end…

I’ve got a surprise in store for the FIRST person who can correctly name these big league pitchers:


Mystery Pitcher #1 (his nickname wasn’t “spaceship”)


Pitcher #2 (no hints, you should be getting to know this guy by now)

Arrieta Back Foot

Pitcher #3 (the lanky lefty slinger)


Pitcher #4 (not Kong)


Pitcher #5 (I hear he’s a mean golfer)


Pitcher #6 (POWER… ’nuff said)



Okay, that’s all for now. In a future post I’ll plan on diving in a little deeper… Specifically on your drag line and what that can tell you about whether you’re leaking power. Hint you see some of it in this high school pitcher below…


In the meantime, enjoy the pitching clips (props once again to @PitchingNinja for a couple of these). Soak them in… A good visual (mental blueprint) can go a long way towards developing a more powerful pitching delivery.

I get asked this question a lot. Looking through my email inbox, seems everyone (pitchers, parents, coaches) wants to know the secrets to increasing velocity.

“How do I help my pitcher, my son (whatever the case might be) throw harder so he can compete against tougher competition.

And as I was about to set on putting together a new in-depth blog post on the subject, a thought came to me.

What if, instead of the typical email or blog post, I did something different?

What if I just took out my phone, pressed “record” and just started talking…

What if I walked you through the process of creating your own velocity program, step by step, the same way I would if you were right here with me?

Sound good? Great. Then you’ll love this

But FIRST – important note. I do NOT endorse “velocity programs” for young pitchers. 

This isn’t for pitchers 10, 11, 12 years old… Kids should develop a sound foundation, learn to love the game, develop as athletes, and be allowed to grow into their own velocity potential (learning the basics in the 5 Power Moves is a good place to start, incidentally).

That said, if a pitcher wants to play and compete at the next level, there’s no denying this fact… Velocity matters. And the vast majority of amateur pitchers are leaving MPHs in the tank.

So let’s get right to it. Take a listen:

Okay, the question is, “How do I get a young pitcher to increase velocity – how do I help him increase his velocity? He can already throw strikes pretty well but he doesn’t throw particularly hard, and I feel like if I could just get him to throw harder and help him throw with more velocity, he’d be a whole lot more effective because he can already do that other part of it.”

It’s a very good question, and a very difficult question to answer because, without actually seeing that pitcher, it’s tough to pinpoint it to one particular thing… Because yes, mechanics are definitely a big part of maximizing velocity… but while mechanics are important it’s tough to say what does THIS individual pitcher need to work on without actually seeing him pitch.

[h4]STEP ONE: Get a Baseline (Take Video and Get a Radar Reading)[/h4]

Let’s say a pitcher is working with me who really wants to get from 73 MPH to 80+ MPH. So we sit down and talk it over

“Okay, now let’s set a plan to help you increase velocity by 5, 10, 12 miles an hour,”

Whatever it might be. The first thing I would always start off with is getting that initial video analysis. Doing a full breakdown of his mechanics. Being able to SEE it on video is key because you can really slow it down and see what’s going on in his motion.


[h5]From there you can ASSESS…[/h5]

What does he most need to work on right now. Because most pitchers, especially most young pitchers, are leaking power somewhere in their pitching delivery. You can usually get 3 to 5 miles an hour with one or two adjustments in their pitching motion but to make a blanket statement like, “Well, he needs to get his legs into his delivery more,” you’d have to look at that pitcher and see what is he doing right now. Then we can set a plan and say, “Okay, based on how you’re currently moving, here’s some things you can do right now… You’re losing some power here. Here are some key areas that we could focus on.”

Together with that video analysis, another thing that’ll be important if the goal is to increase velocity is to get that baseline velocity reading…

(The Pocket Radar is a great option if you’re looking for a highly accurate radar gun that won’t set you back $1,000).


Where is he at now in terms of his velocity? Get that on record. Get a radar reading of his current velocity so you know what his current velocity is, his current max velocity. So you can say,

“Okay, right now he’s throwing 79 MPH. The goal is to get to 85.”

Now he knows what he’s starting at and he knows what he can shoot for.

Then when looking at the video you can say,

“Okay, clearly he’s not getting his body into it as well as he could so getting to that 85 mile an hour mark is very realistic,” or

“Right now his mechanics look great, he’s just throwing 75 so maybe there’s some other part of it that is leading to it.”

Maybe it’s a strength issue, maybe it’s a power and mobility issue, maybe he needs to get more explosive as an athlete, maybe he’s just undersized and needs to add some mass and add some weight to get more momentum and power moving down the mound…

All these things come into play, but the first step is always getting that baseline. Doing that motion analysis to look at his delivery, look at his mechanics essentially and see where there might be some energy leaks, some power leaks. Then getting that radar reading so you know where he’s currently at.


Stay Tuned for STEP 2 in this 5 Part “build your own velocity program” series… where you’ll learn two ways to gain velocity before you ever set foot on the mound.

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