This is part of a series. To go to part 1, click here.
Players get shoulder soreness and injuries as a result of only using their throwing shoulder rather than the whole body to produce the pace and power needed to deliver a strong and accurate throw.
Here are 3 more tips to improve your throw with that in mind:
1. Effective use of the front arm
The most overlooked part of throwing is definitely the use of the front arm. The front arm has 2 functions in the throw:
- Speed up the rotation of the upper body (by transferring momentum)
- Aid the accuracy and direction of the throw
If a moving lever like the front arm reduces its radius then it speeds up. So throwers should bring in their front arm to their side.
Shorten your lever and bring the front arm into your side.
As the front arm then slows and stabilises against the body, all the momentum it has produced is then transferred up the kinetic chain of the body, through the shoulder girdle and into the throwing arm.
This is called 'momentum transfer' and is the same process as a fast bowler uses to get his/her bowling arm to move quickly.
The more efficient you are at pulling your front arm into the side of your body, the more effective your momentum transfer will be into your throwing arm. This maximises your throwing speed.
2. Thumb Down to Up
To add even more zip into the throw you can use the 'thumb down to up' technique with the front arm during the pull into the side of the body phase.
When lining up the throw, your front elbow should point at the target. The value of the thumb pointing down at this juncture is to help maintain shoulder alignment with the target.
From this point, the hand turns over so the thumb point up, the elbow driven into the body to shorten the lever and your upper body has maximised it's rotation force before transferring the momentum/speed into your throwing arm.
The shoulder is a rotational joint so the thumb down to up acts as a starter motor in creating maximal rotations as well as helping keep the shoulders aligned when aiming at the target.
3. Ball Away
Most throwers present the ball towards the target when lining up a throw. Top throwers (the most accurate and fastest throwers) present the ball away from the target at this point. The value of this is three-fold:
- The wrist provides another link in the kinetic chain, thus creating a whip like finish to the throw. Extra pace comes with that snap of the wrist.
- The cocking of the wrist helps to store maximal amount of potential energy in the throwers forearm.
- When the thrower rotates the shoulders he will be able to throw the back and top of the ball towards the target ensuring that all forces go through the ball. Most throwers who present the ball to the target throw across the side of the ball which in effect is throwing a "slower ball" which isn't a lot of use when the aim of the game is to beat a batter with pace and accuracy and run him out.