If this is your first time on my website, WELCOME! My name is John Madden and I’m a former professional pitcher and now have the #1 Baseball Instructional Website and YouTube Channel in the world, so make sure you subscribe when you’re done reading this (you’ll see some of my vids below). During my professional career I was able to get my fastball up to 96mph…so it’s safe to say I know a little about pitching fast. In this post, 99 ways to improve pitching velocity, I’m going to share with you some ideas that I’ve learned along my journey to help you increase your pitching velocity.
Let me first start off by saying Velocity isn’t everything! You must be able to control the baseball, add movement to the baseball, and at the end of the day…GET BATTERS OUT!
But, velocity is the number one way we measure pitching these days. So, if you are a pitcher who has the control, movement, and ability to get hitters out, gaining velocity will do nothing but help you!
Some of these tips may apply to you, and some may not. Either way, I’m sure you will find some great tips within this article so make sure you read it to the end. By the way, #74 and #85 are musts.
How to Improve Pitching Velocity
1) Work on your load
Setting yourself up to be in a position to create as much energy as possible down the mound is very important in regards to increasing velocity. Forget the balance point! Load the hips and lead with the side of the butt!
2) Increase power through Leg Drive
All the energy you create when pitching comes from ground force. The better you can get at creating this energy and transferring it by driving (not pushing, not jumping, but driving), the more you’ll increase pitching velocity.
3) Leverage your linear energy
After you’ve created that good energy from ground force and leg drive, now you’ve got to leverage it so you can keep transferring it up the kinetic chain (your body). By pitching against a strong (and sometimes straight) front leg you stop your energy from leaking forward and continue up your body so that it will eventually transfer into the baseball.
4) Work on hand separation
By separating your hands correctly, you put yourself into a better position to increase hip to shoulder separation, which will improve pitching velocity.
5) Increase Hip to Shoulder Separation
There was a scientific study done that shows that 80% of pitching velocity comes from hip to shoulder separation. The more separation a pitcher gets from his hips to his shoulders, the faster that pitcher will throw. I like to think of it as pulling a rubber band back.
6) Leverage Rotational Energy
The same goes for your rotational energy as it did for your linear energy. We need to leverage it to keep transferring the most of our energy through our body and finish our delivery. To do this we need to “block off” with our front side or “come together” out front. Basically, it’s the opposite of thoracic extension.
7) Get in line with your force vector
If we’ve transferred our energy correctly and efficiently through our kinetic chain, then we should have finished on our force vector. To tell if you’ve done this correctly, look at yourself pitching from the open side at a 90 degree angle. Pause the video the instant the baseball comes out of your hand. If you have a straight line down your arm, down your back, down your butt, and through your heal, then you’ve done a good job!
8) Train a fast arm vs a strong arm
Yeh, it’s cool to have big biceps and the term “arm strength” has been around baseball forever. But do we really want a strong arm? Of course we want our arm to be able to handle the load we put on it, but what we really want is a fast arm. The last part of the pitching delivery is the fastest part. We need a fast arm if we want to pitch faster.
9) Work on deceleration
Deceleration is the act of slowing down your pitching arm right after release. The better you can decelerate, the more your body can accelerate and not injure yourself. Think of it this way… Would you rather drive a really fast car with good brakes or one with bad brakes? Of course, with good brakes! The same goes for pitching. So how do we work on deceleration to improve pitching velocity? Bands…
10) Gain weight
Remember that thing about ground force and creating energy? Well, F=ma, which is Force = mass x acceleration. So if you have two pitchers, one at 160 lbs and the other at 210 lbs, and they both generate the same amount of force, the heavier pitcher will have more acceleration, which will translate into better pitching velocity. So start eating!
11) Get in shape
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re too fat, or just plain out of shape, then you won’t be able to generate that amount of force. So weight won’t even matter. Focus on getting in tip top shape so that you can get the most out of your body.
12) Long Toss
Throwing long toss can help get that extra intensity out of your throws. While long toss is not the direct culprit for an increase in pitching velocity, the intensity output that it promotes and the progression of throws will add some mph if structured correctly.
13) Throw weighted balls
There have been scientific studies that show that using over weight and under weight baseball can increase pitching velocity. Most programs I’ve seen have used balls weighing between 2 oz and 2 lbs.
14) Get on a good pitching program
This list is great to find a few tips that you are not already implementing in to your velocity training, but what you really need is to follow a structured pitching program. Hint: Pitching 365.2
15) Do medicine ball exercises
Medicine ball exercises are great to improve pitching velocity. You can work on training both your linear energy and rotational energy with medicine balls. This is one of my best suggestions because the benefit you’ll gain from doing these is huge. This is a must for gaining pitching speed.
16) Do Skaters
Skaters are a great exercises to work on your linear energy. By learning to keep your knees inside of your feet and creating energy through angles, you will be stronger and more explosive in your pitching delivery, which in return will make you pitch faster.
17) Improve your thoracic extension
High velocity pitchers have great thoracic extension in their delivery. They also get a good scap load. If you work on your posture and thoracic extension you put yourself into a better position to improve pitching velocity.
18) Work on your scaps
As mentioned in the tip above, loading of the scaps is important in the pitching delivery. But even before we get into pitching we need to make sure our scaps are balanced. Many pitchers have an imbalance in their scaps. Do you?
19) Create a pregame routine
It’s not enough to just go out there and pitch. You must have a warm up routine and know how long it takes you to get ready to be at your best for your outting. If you under prepare for your appearance, you may sacrifice velocity. If you over prepare, you may tire yourself out and not be able to pitch at your highest speeds. So, have a pregame routine!
20) Speed up your delivery
The speed of your delivery is directly related to the speed of your pitch. If you are slow down the mound, then you will be slow to throw the baseball. If you are faster down the mound, then you will be able to throw the baseball faster.
21) Get more aggressive (intent)
So how do we speed up our delivery? We get more aggressive and decide to be faster and throw faster. This is called intent. If you have the mind set that you want to be fast and throw fast, then chances are you’ll get closer to your highest velocities. However if you are just up there and going through the motions and trying to be smooth, then you will pitch much slower than you are able to.
22) Get a good grip on the ball
I see way too many pitchers holding the ball too loosely. I know you always hear coaches say “don’t choke the ball” or “hold it like an egg”, but in my opinion, this is WAAAAY too loose. You need to have a good grip on the ball. With that being said, it is very possible to hold it too tight. But I see more pitchers who are too loose than are too tight. Find your perfect grip!
23) Pronate through the baseball at release
When you pronate, and before you move into deceleration, you reach your furthest point of extension. When you pronate through release you are unloading the last of your energy through your kinetic chain. It also puts you in a good position to decelerate your arm.
24) Improve your balance/posture
The better your balance, the better controlled you are. The more you can control your body, the better your can transfer your energy. Not too mention, consistency is very important for control. Have good posture, even when pitching!
25) Develop a recovery routine
Most of the time we think of gaining velocity by what we can do before hand. But what we do after pitching and after training is just as important to increasing pitching velocity as what we do before. So come up with a recovery routine so that your arm and body are fully recovered and ready to put in more work to gain even more velocity.
26) Learn more about pitching
If I would have known what I know now, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have been a 100+ mph pitcher. But I learned a lot of these things a little too late. Don’t make the same mistake as me and learn as much as you can as soon as you can. Because applied knowledge is power!
27) Get more sleep
Sleep deprivation has been known to decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. Basically, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game. Which is a recipe for slower pitching velocities.
28) Run more sprints and less distance
Which one do you want to be like? Nuff said!
29) Stop drinking alcohol
Not only will drinking alcohol dehydrate us (we know the importance of hydration…if not, see below), but it also interferes with the way your body makes energy. When you’re metabolising alcohol, the liver can’t produce as much glucose, which means you will have low levels of blood sugar. Pitching requires high levels of sugar to give you energy. Low levels of energy = low pitching speeds. High levels of energy = higher pitching speeds. So, stop drinking alcohol.
30) Drink more water
There was a study done that shows that a hydrated athlete vs. a dehydrated athlete has a better vertical jump. There is another study that shows that vertical jump is directly related to pitching velocity. You do the math!
31) Lubricate your joints
I used to take a supplement that was Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM and every time I was on it my joints felt better. I can’t explain it, but my wrists felt great, elbows felt great, shoulders and knees felt great. Of course, you should check with your doctor before using but I definitely felt a difference when I was on this supplement.
32) Implement more single leg exercises
33) Foam Roll
Foam rolling increases the mobility of the Fascia. The Fascia is a fibrous layer of connective tissue that surrounds all of the muscles in our body. Increased mobility means a better chance of increased pitching velocity.
34) Increase hip mobility
35) Increase internal hip rotation
A pitcher needs a minimum of 60 degrees of internal hip rotation. If he can increase his internal hip rotation, then he can improve pitching velocity.
36) Increase hip abduction
A pitcher needs a minimum of 95 degrees of hip abduction. If he can increase his hip abduction, then he can improve pitching velocity.
37) Increase hip extension
A pitcher needs a minimum of 60 degrees of hip extension. If he can increase his hip extension, then he can improve pitching velocity.
38) Increase trunk rotation
A pitcher needs a minimum of 110 degrees of trunk rotation. If he can increase his trunk rotation, then he can improve pitching velocity.
39) Increase back extension
A pitcher needs a minimum of 24 inches of back extension. If he can increase his back extension, then he can improve pitching velocity.
40) Increase external arm rotation
You ever see the pictures where the pitcher’s arm looks like it’s about to break. Well, that’s external arm rotation. A good rule of thumb is that you want your forearm to be parallel to the angle of the mound.
41) Work on ankle mobility and extension
This all goes back to leg drive. If you don’t have good ankle mobility and aren’t able to get full extension through your ankle, then you will be sacrificing pitching velocity.
42) Stay warm in between innings
You don’t have to be a genius to know that this is important. We’ve all had those long innings in the dugout and when we went back out there to pitch we weren’t warm anymore. If you stay warm, you don’t have to worry about getting warm every inning and wasting pitches and energy to do so. Stay warm!
43) Get into state
This is very, very, important. If you are not mentally and physically prepared to pitch fast, then you will not pitch fast. Simple as that!
44) Work on regular abs
Like sit ups, crunches, etc…
45) Work on rotational abs
Like Medicine ball twists, medicine ball throws, v-sit twists, medicine ball hand offs, etc…
46) Work on stability abs
Like planks, v-sit, side planks, etc…
47) Work on lower abs
Like leg ups, 6 inches, feet to sky, etc…
48) Get stronger, more powerful legs
If you haven’t already, read my blog post called How to build velocity producing TREE TRUNKS that will add MPH to your fastball.
49) Don’t throw when you’re hurt
Because you can’t pitch faster when you’re hurt and you’ll probably just hurt yourself even more.
50) Take it easy if you’re sore, tired, or tight
No reason to focus on gaining velocity on these days as you’ll probably just do more damage than good.
51) Know your body
Being able to FEEL is one of the most important things for ANY athlete. If you can feel what works and what doesn’t work, then you’ll be able to hit higher velocities more consistently.
52) Take time off from throwing
By taking some time off during a calendar year you are giving your arm and body the chance to recovery and get some down time. By phasing this you won’t constantly be tearing down your arm. Sometimes it takes some rest but hitting that restart button before you really push for some big velocity gains.
53) Stop trying to learn 100 different pitches and focus on a fastball and change up
I was drafted from a big D1 college by throwing 97% fastballs. If you want to throw faster, focus on throwing your fastball. Stop trying to learn every pitch under the sun.
54) Eat better
It is very important to eat healthy if you want to pitch faster. Food plays a huge role in how our bodies create energy and heal. This is obviously very important for pitching and gaining velocity.
55) Breathe better
If your breathing becomes more efficient, you’ll have more energy for the motor muscles to perform the task at hand. Try throwing as fast as you can after running a sprint. I bet you don’t come near the speed of which you can normally pitch.
56) Take supplements
There are some good ones and some bad ones out there. Do some research and find out which are the best for you. Make sure they are legal to take for your league. I used to take a men’s multivitamin, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, ZMA, L glutamine, and sometimes creatine.
57) Work faster on the mound
By picking up the tempo you not only keep your defense in the game but you can actually speed up your delivery. Which as we discussed earlier can increase your pitching velocity.
58) Decide to look good or to pitch good
Because you can’t do both. Well, yes you can! I’ve done it for many years! What I mean is, decide to train like a pitcher or a body builder. Have you ever seen a body builder pitch 90 mph plus? Nah bro! Know what your goal is and train to accomplish it.
59) Train faster to throw faster
This is an addition to the tip above. Know what your goal is and train to accomplish it. If you want to throw faster you have to train as a fast, explosive athlete.
60) Stay committed
All these tips are great, but if you only take a few and do them for one or two days, you’re not going to see any improvements in pitching velocity. But, if you stay committed and execute a plan, you can achieve a lot!
61) Clear your mind
If you’re out on the mound thinking about something else (a girlfriend, a test, work, etc…) then you’re not going to be zoned in enough to get what you need out of your pitching to throw as fast as you should.
62) Increase shoulder mobility
63) Do rice bucket exercises
64) L glutamine
This can fall under recovery and supplements because it’s a supplement that helps with recovery.
65) Work on your vertical jump
As stated earlier in this list, there was a study that showed vertical jump numbers are directly related to pitching velocity numbers. So starting working on your vert!
66) Work on your 60
There was also a study that showed that 60 yard dash numbers are related to pitching velocity numbers. You see the trend? Athletes who train to be fast and explosive can pitch fast and explosively!
67) Look good out there
If you look good, you’ll feel good, and you’ll pitch good!
If you can visualize yourself throwing gas, you have a better chance of throwing gas. Things that we visualize usually come to fruition.
69) Get Pitching 365
This list of 99 ways to improve pitching velocity is great for a few tips for increasing pitching velocity, but if you’re serious about gaining some MPH and just being an all around dominant pitcher, then you really need to get on my pitching program Pitching 365.2
70) Get Pitching Velocity Secrets
You can also add Pitching Velocity Secrets to your cart to get that little extra out of your velocity tank. They are both on sale right now, so be sure to get it while it lasts.
71) Join the Newsletter
72) Eat Oreos
This was a joke between some of my professional teammates and I and we said that for every sleeve or Oreos you eat, you gain a 1/4 of a mph. Obviously this isn’t true, but it goes back to pitching at a heavier weight. Remember, fat guys throw gas!
73) Find your pitching weight
You know I joke about the Oreos but in reality, you need to find YOUR best weight to pitch at. I pitched at weights between 215 lbs and 250 lbs throughout my career and found out that around 235-240 lbs I felt the best and threw the fastest. So pay attention to your pitching weight and which weight you throw the hardest with.
74) Get a hot girlfriend
Because hot chicks dig the fastball.
75) Learn YOUR style of pitching
Don’t try to pitch like Verlander or Kershaw or Lincecum. Try to pitch like yourself. Know what works best for you and be the best at that!
76) Do bands
77) Do dumbbells
78) Train on the vertimax
79) Train on the slide board
80) Train on Keiser equipment
81) Train like a mad man
You have to train smart, but you also have to bust your ass to make gains! Keep your head down and keep grinding! The hard work will pay off!
82) Be crazy
To be a high velocity pitcher, you’ve got to be a little crazy. Sometime you just have to get up there and pipe one right down the middle and say “here you go buddy, try to hit this!”. It’s ok to be a little crazy. In fact, Roger Clemens supposedly used to put BenGay on his jock strap to get him ready to pitch. *Not Recommended*
83) Take greenies
No! I’m just kidding. Don’t take greenies! But if you do have a favorite drink or food that gives you energy then be sure to have it on hand before your pitching appearance.
84) Do yoga
Yoga = flexibility = separation = pitching velocity.
85) Talk a little fun trash
86) Do some sensory training
87) Use The Rotater
88) Use the King of the Hill
89) Do battle ropes
90) Watch a Rocky training scene before you pitch
91) Listen to your favorite hype up music
92) Do deadlifts
93) Do squats
94) Do plyometrics
95) Get mad at something
96) Get Tommy John surgery
Just kidding! You never, ever, want to go under the knife, but what you can do is below…
97) Do Tommy John rehab
The rehab for Tommy John surgery is what has guys coming back better than where they were before they were hurt. So follow a Tommy John rehab program before your season one year to gain some mph.
98) Wear the bauer sleeve when you’re not at the field
This sleeve is awesome and if Dr. James Andrew endorses it, I’m in!
99) Make the decision that you want to pitch X mph
When we decide to do something that means we cut off all other possibilities. Think of it as setting the AC in your house. When you set your sights on pitching 90 mph, 100 mph, or whatever your number is, then you’ll always be working to get there. But if you just say “I want to pitch faster”, your internal thermostat doesn’t know when to shut off and may shut off too early. So have a realistic number in your head that you are striving for and give yourself a time limit to get there.
So, what are you going to do to improve pitching velocity?
It’s not enough to just read the 99 ways to improve pitching velocity. You have to actually do some of them. The best pitchers in the game aren’t there because they thought about it. They are where they are because they executed a plan. They made their dreams come true! You can do the same!
In my year long pitching program I’ve put it altogether for you. All you have to do is follow it. So, if you’re ready to take your pitching to the next level and gain the speed and accuracy you’ve been needing, then go get a log in right now and get to work! Click here to get Pitching 365