Throwing Fastballs for Beginners
If you want to own the best pitch in baseball, you want to develop a fastball. That has always been and probably always will be the surest means of setting a batter down. And to develop a fastball you have to develop a strong and supple arm. You can begin to do that right away.
Your first move should be to make a habit of always throwing with the full length if your arm. Infielders and catchers, often have to get their throws off in a hurry, with a quick snap of the wrist and forearm starting near the ear. That is not pitching.
Pitching requires a reaching back to get the whole length of the arm into play. It requires the kind of throw you use when you want to heave a rock or a stick just as far as you possibly can. Notice that when you do that you actually lean back a little to stretch your arm out behind you. That is the beginning of the pitching motion. And you do not retract your arm as you throw, as you were pulling down a shade. You let it out to its full length, until it sweeps down across your body so that your throwing hand ends up along side your opposite leg.
Use that motion in all your throwing and throw hard and often (but not too often) but never throw hard with an arm that has not been warmed up. many sore arms have come from impatience and overuse. It takes some two dozen easy throws, even inn warm weather, to get the circulation started properly in your throwing arm. Take care to go through this routine of getting your arm ready before throwing hard and you will be far less likely to come up with a sore arm at the start of your career.
Another habit you should adopt right away is that of taking a step as you throw, This too eases the strain on your arm and helps you get your full weight and strength into the pitch. Even when playing catch, always take a step forward with every throw. Also, when you are playing catch or practicing, get int he habit of picking out a target and throwing at it.
If you have no one to play catch with, you can mark a target on a fence or a wall somewhere and throw at it. Don't baby your throws for the sake of hitting the bullseye. Just put your eye on the target and let fly. If you try to "steer" the ball or aim it as you pitch, you will not be using your full strength and you will be cramping up your arm. Strength and speed should come before control. And the fastball should come before the curve.
You learn control, not by cutting down in your speed in order to control your aim,but by throwing hard and often at a target and learning gradually how to manage the point of release so as to ht the spot you aim at. Your eyes and muscles, working in unison, will gradually make the proper adjustment. Never cut down on the speed of your pitches for the sake of getting better control right away.
You are going to uncork a lot of wild pitches as you learn the job. Don't worry about them. Let the ball fly. Let it break the fence boards or dent the wall or so sailing out of the lot. The important thins is to cultivate that speed and to make your hard fast one hit the target. Keep at it and you'll get there eventually.
The first kind of control you should try for is what is called "up-and-down" control. Try to get the ball into the lower part of the strike zone, below the batter's belt. To help you do this, you can pick out a target on the catcher's body-a knee, a spot on his leg--and keep your eye on that.
In a game, the catcher will be offering you a good big target with his glove. Keep working on your up-and-down control without worrying at all over the in-and-out control. That can come after you have found out how to keep the pitch low. If you take care never to throw except at some sort of target, you will always be working on your control.