Mirror Drills for Pitchers

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by: Ryan Smith

Is your pitching instructor asking you to fix a part of your mechanics, but you just can’t grasp what exactly he sees and is trying to convey to you?

Watching your mechanics in front of a mirror can not only help you to see the flaws, but also to help correct them. The reason why a mirror is such a great tool is because most of us learn better through visuals. A coach may have the perfect way of explaining a mechanical flaw to you, but you probably will not fully understand exactly what he sees unless you see it for yourself.

Baseball training facilities rarely have mirrors so that you can watch yourself during a throwing session. That is why the responsibility falls upon you to work on this outside of your normal practice opportunities. Give yourself five minutes in front of the mirror with your windup. You’ll see exactly what your coach is trying to explain.

Now that you have the visual, how do mirrors help you make fixes? Have you ever wondered why weight rooms and aerobic rooms have mirrors? It is not just so Mr. Flexor can check out his triceps. People use the mirror to watch their form while they perform the exercise. If they understand the proper techniques of the lift or exercise, then they use the
mirror to execute the intended movement. Without that visual, it becomes much more difficult to properly move the weight and can make the exercise less effective or even dangerous.

Watching your pitching mechanics in front of the mirror will work the same way. The idea is that you will be able to make the slight adjustments based on the immediate feedback that the mirror provides.

You can purchase a full-length mirror at any department store for around $20. Make sure you set it up in an area that allows you to go through your full windup. A basement, garage, or large room in your house should work.

Whether you are in front of a mirror at home or at the gym, review with your pitching coach the areas that he wants you to improve. Now that you are set up in front of the mirror, with plenty of room, go through your full windup five times. The first two or three times, just try to get a sense for your overall motion. Does it look the same way it feels? The answer to this question most often will be no. We may not lift our leg as high as we think we do, or we may see that our arm comes through in a different slot. The exciting thing is that you are noticing a difference between what you actually see, and what it feels like.

More often then not, your pitching coach is asking you to watch the way you separate and swing your arm back, the position of your arm at release, or the way you finish. These faults tend to be revealed the most, or are the easiest to
recognize when watching in front of a mirror. After you have gone through your motion several times at full-speed it is now time to go to work.

If your problem is the takeaway, practice only the takeaway over and over. Lift your leg, separate your hands, and raise your arm in preparation for going to the throwing slot. Go through just that portion very deliberately and slowly. Feel the movement and really try to have your brain process it for muscle memory. Now go through the movement at full speed. This will serve as a closer test, but you can still make adjustments during the movement based on the immediate feedback you get from the mirror.

This is just one example of how a mirror can help you to correct a portion of your throwing mechanics. Devote some
time to this training tool. The mirror doesn’t lie, and we don’t have to worry about how someone else is verbalizing what they see.

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