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The Fundamentals of Throwing  

Throwing is the single most important defensive skill. Throwing errors turn a routine out into one or two base errors. If a fielder doesn't field a ball cleanly the runner gets one base but, if the infielder overthrows any base the runner gets at least two bases. Failer to hit the cutoff man usually results in the loss of the force play on the next hit. If your players understand the mechanics of throwing and drills are practiced daily to implement these mechanics their success at throwing will greatly increase.

The foundation of a good throw is the grip. Grip the ball with the index and middle fingers across the seams where the seams are the widest. This grip allows for a four-seam rotation giving optimum friction, carry and a true hop. The thumb should be under the ball, not resting on the side. The thumb acts as a launching pad for the throw. The ring finger rests against the side of the ball. Finger tips and thumb should be in contact with seams. Spreading the index and middle fingers slightly, will provide a stable axis, helping to eliminate tailing of the ball on long throws.

Directional Side
The directional side is the glove side of the body, which includes the shoulder, elbow, hand, knee, hip and foot. Directional side has two main considerations - the shoulder and the stride.

In correct throwing position the front shoulder is closed and pointed at the target. You know that the shoulder is in correct position when the glove is elevated and extended it points directly toward the target. The player should be conscious of the front shoulder and feel that he is throwing over it.

Stride give us lateral control of the throw. Draw a line from the pivot foot to the target, the striding foot should land slightly to the left of this line for right handed throwers and slightly to the right of this line for left handed throwers. The most common mistake is stepping across the imaginary line to the target when making a throw.

Players must understand that the ball is released off the tips of the index and middle fingers, thus imparting backspin rotation upon the ball. To prevent a slider or screwball effect the ball must be released with equal pressure on the index and middle fingers. To acheive maximum rotation on the ball, the wrist must be supple and drive downward as the ball is release. If the release point is to early the throw is high, if the release point is to late the throw is low.

Arm Action
Correct arm action utilizes the full arm. Shoulder, elbow and hand inscribe a circle. Elbow should be shoulder high in most cases. To assure proper arm action the hand should be on top of the ball the fingers should be on top of the ball and the thumb underneath, at time of release.