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What are the intricacies of the baseball stretch?

Elvis Elvis

Pitching out of the baseball stretch position is pitching in its simplest form. However, it’s not as simple as just getting up on the mound and chucking the baseball toward home plate.

To get the most from pitching out of the stretch, incorporating proper pitching mechanics will go a long way toward increasing your velocity and protecting your arm.

Starting from the baseball stretch position.

Anytime you prepare to take the mound, approach it from the backside of the pitching rubber. Place your push-off foot parallel up against the front of the rubber while turning your body so that your glove side is closest to home plate.

Spread your feet approximately equal to or slightly greater in shoulder width apart so you begin with good balance.

Your hands should start at approximately chest height. When you begin to throw from the baseball stretch, remember to keep your motion simple. Lift your glove side elbow, pointing it toward home plate and drop your throwing hand down so that the ball is down near the backside of your thigh with the ball pointing backward.

At the same time, your glove-side knee should raise so that your thigh is parallel to the ground – while you maintain balance on your throwing-side leg. Your body should now be vertical, aligned and balanced.

It is from this baseball stretch position that you’ll use your legs and body to increase your pitch’s velocity while decreasing the wear and tear on your arm.

What are the intricacies of the baseball stretch?

Transitioning into your pitch.

Once vertical and balanced on your throwing-side leg, bend your throwing-side knee and lean forward with your glove-side shoulder leading the way. Your throwing arm should now go from throwing position one (ball pointing backward down near your thigh, arm straight but loose & flexible) to throwing position two.

To transition from throwing position one to two, if right-handed (opposite if left-handed), your arm should rotate clockwise and upward behind and above your head so that the ball remains pointing backward and your arm remains somewhat straight.

It isn’t until you begin to whip the ball forward in a counter-clockwise direction (if right-handed) that your hand and the ball reverse from pointing backward to pointing forward toward home plate. It is also at this time, as your arm comes toward home plate that your elbow should go from being straight and flexible to being bent and powering forward.

Use your body to save your arm.

As you bend your throwing-side knee and bend forward with your glove-side shoulder, you want to push-off with your throwing-side foot, using the spring that you’ve created in your bent knee.

The combination of these baseball stretch mechanics helps to maximize your body’s momentum toward home plate – adding velocity to your pitch while reducing the wear and tear of your arm as you are no longer relying entirely on your arm to create the necessary momentum to throw hard.

Baseball stretch landing point.

As you’re pushing off hard with your throwing-side foot, you want your glove-side foot to land so that it is straight and pointing toward your target out in front of your body.

Upon landing with your front foot, your body should be totally aligned perpendicular to the pitching rubber. Your front foot should be aligned with your waist, which should be aligned with your back foot.

And, your timing should be such that your throwing arm is in the second position and in total alignment, ready to begin its thrust forward, as your front foot lands.

Snapping your wrist, following-through, and ready to field.

At this stage you’re ready to release the ball. As you bring the ball forward, rotating it from pointing backward to forward, you want to snap your wrist when your hand is pointing toward your target and you’re ready to release the ball.

Your hand and arm should continue on its path after releasing the ball, completing what is referred to as its “follow-through”. This means that your throwing arm should continue down toward your front, glove-side knee. This continuation helps your accuracy and helps to protect your arm as you don’t abruptly stop a momentum-filled body motion.

As you are throwing your weight forward onto your front foot, you want to follow-through with having the rest of your body come forward as well. Drag your throwing-side foot so that it aligns with your front foot, shoulder width apart, and in a virtual straight line with 1st and 3rd base. You should be bent at the waist at this time and your weight should shift so that is it now evenly distributed on each leg as you complete your follow-through. You should now be in the perfect position to field any pitch hit back at you.