The Athletic Throwing Program is designed to enhance the athletic ability in a pitcher’s throwing.
At the Arsenal, we believe that athleticism is vital to being a great thrower.
Years ago Pat Murphy, ASU Head Baseball Coach and now Milwaukee Brewers’ Bench Coach, told me that he wanted only to recruit RHP that played other positions, preferably shortstops… He wanted athletes on the mound, not “pitcher only” types. He wanted his LHP to be two-way guys, so he recognized the importance of athleticism in pitching.
Murph’s top pitcher during his tenure at ASU was arguably Mike Leake. Mike came to ASU as a SS/Pitcher and left ASU as the top pitcher in the country. Mike was an excellent defensive SS and not a bad hitter, but his athleticism on the mound and his mastery of his pitching skill-set allowed him to go straight to the Big Leagues without spending a day in the Minors.
What is athleticism as it applies to throwing?
Our belief at the Arsenal is that it is the ability to make accurate and strong throws from different positions and the thrower’s athleticism allows him to have “sync” throughout the movement. This also means to have proper connection from the ground, up the kinetic chain with the ability to create force application with dynamic balance (the ability to stay in balance while moving) with good direction. Athleticism refers to the relationship between movements and strong positions; this is “sync” which is the speed, fluidity and power of these movements.
Mature, physically developed pitchers that move well through positions are considered to be athletic.
Good athletes can pick things up more quickly and can make physical changes and adjustments easier. Good athletes are typically better at defense; fielding, bunts, covering 1B and picks to the bases.
The Athletic Throwing Program (ATP) is a drill series that encourages dynamic and athletic movements into throwing drills. Many of the drills are just typical baseball moves, backhand and forehand spin, flyball catch and others are more specific, athletic moves designed to squeeze the air (time) out of the throwing process. Jumping, skipping, bounding with various footwork patterns can be used to create drills that enhance athletic throwing.
One of the techniques we use at the Pitching Arsenal™ is to have our pitchers execute an athletic pitching drill into a throwing pad, rotate to the next pad then do a different athletic throwing drill. We might have anywhere from 8 to 12 different drills and make 2 to 4 rotations through this athletic throwing “gauntlet” each session. This is a great way to create athletic movements in the pitcher-athlete. The transfer effect of these movement patterns in the Athletic Throwing Program, to the delivery, is significant. We are building athleticism into the delivery through the execution of these drills.
If you want to get into the athletic throwing ‘gauntlet’ this fall, click here.