Do you get your kids throwing overarm to practice serving? Then you’ll know that there is a problem; a lot of throwing (including for sports like baseball and cricket) is done horizontally. Whilst this is good for coordination and practicing an overhead release, it doesn’t replicate what’s needed for the serve.
Once the children master the fluid overarm action with good rhythm and technique, it’s important to learn to throw on a more vertical arc to tilt the shoulders and the push out the lead hip. That’s because the serve is an ‘up and out’ action where vertical drive becomes as important and linear or forward momentum.
Next time you work on throwing, throw for height first and distance second.
Tips to get players throwing vertically:
- Ask players to throw for height rather than distance!
- If you coach on indoor courts, get kids to throw the ball along the arc of the roof without hitting it.
- If you coach outside, stand players close to and either side of a high fence and get them to throw over it to each other. If you coach indoors and have dividing curtains between the courts, get them to stand close and either side of the curtain and throw over it
- Stand players at the baseline with the front foot on a bench or chair. This tilts the hips and gives a more vertical arc.
The pictures below show the developmental stages of the throw; I’d love to tell you where I got them from, and I’d like to give the author credit, but I honestly can’t remember so if anyone knows – please let me know.