Timing is an essential mechanical variable for pitchers. Youth pitching athletes need to hone their timing and make sure it is fast enough for performance. There are many ways to improve timing through lessons and practice. In this article, we’ll discuss pitching timing and some key things to know.
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Why is Timing Important for Youth Pitching?
Timing is one of the most important mechanical variables for pitchers of all ages, including youth pitching athletes. If you’ve been part of our pitching lessons or watched our exclusive videos, you may have heard the phrase “go forward fast” or “go freakin’ fast.” That’s because good timing is essential for pitching performance.
It’s important to remember that throwing is a natural impulse for the human body. Generally speaking, anyone throwing something, whether it’s a rock to catch dinner in prehistoric times or a player throwing a baseball, the most natural thing is to throw a ball in about .15 to .25 seconds.
Now, pitching is not a natural movement, but it’s still critical to go fast and get your timing right. Otherwise, you may lose forward momentum and create other issues with your mechanics. In general, pitchers should get their timing to one second or under between leg lift and foot strike. Players who are slower will start the throwing movement before the foot is down, which creates a lot of mechanical inefficiency for the body.
How to Improve Timing
So, how can youth pitching players improve their timing? As we mentioned, ensuring you get into foot strike within one second is key. That’s why we often say “go forward fast,” as it can help players think more about their timing. Additionally, it’s important not to follow some conventional wisdom that slows timing down. For instance, if someone tells you to stop at the top, stay back, or stay over the rubber, you probably shouldn’t follow the advice, as it will make you slower. Basically, you want to go forward as fast and as far as you possibly can.
The other thing we should note is that timing is one of the dependent variables in pitching mechanics, along with sequencing. This basically means if you’re efficient in all other nine mechanical variables, your timing and sequencing will naturally improve. These other nine variables are:
- Balance and posture
- Lift and thrust
- Stride length
- Equal and opposite
- Torque retention
- Stack and track
- Swivel and stabilize
- Pitch grip and the angle of the wrist and forearm
- Release point
Pitching instruction for youth pitching athletes can help you become more efficient in each of these variables, which may also improve timing.
Pitching Lessons from National Pitching – Tom House Sports
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