One Drill to Improve Rhythm and Timing on the Mound

Written By: Lacey Waldrop

The Importance of Rhythm and Timing

Do you ever pitch and feel like you're working against your body? Are your arms and legs moving in one direction, or do they tend to divert from a straight path? This is where rhythm and timing come in.

Whether pitching, hitting or running, a body moving in sync will always out-perform a body moving inefficiently. For example, think about the pitching motion. Although the motion may seem strange initially, the body must work in a way that creates a force from the ground up. In this way, pitching is similar to every other athletic movement. The more efficiently the arms, legs, and trunk can work together to create this force, the more sound and powerful the movement will be.

Common Timing Inefficiencies

In young pitchers, I often notice a disconnect between the arms and legs when pushing off the mound. Ideally, the arms and legs move in a similar pattern and direction during the backswing. For example, as the pitcher begins her backswing, she should also be loading her glutes and hamstrings. As she begins to push forward off the mound, her arms should also swing forward. Below are two examples of loading and driving off the mound.

Good timing

Correct Timing

  • Arms and legs are pushing back together and driving forward together.
  • The glutes and hamstrings are loaded as opposed to only loading the quad.
Bad Timing

Incorrect TimingĀ 

  • The arms are still swinging backward while the legs start their forward drive.
  • Getting into a "sprinter's position" too early decreases the load of the glutes and hamstrings. This is not a bad loading position, but it is quad dominant.

Improving your timing

The following drill will help you improve your balance, rhythm, and timing. This drill will also help you create efficient and consistent movements within each pitch.

Pendulum Swings

Key Takeaways:

  • Begin by balancing on your drive leg (right for a righty and left for a lefty).
  • Swing your arms and stride leg backward and forward three times.
  • After the third backswing, you will complete your pitching motion.
  • Your arms and stride leg should always work together and move in the same direction.
  • Maintain your balance throughout the drill.

Staying Detail Oriented Throughout the Drill

As you work to improve your timing early in your pitch, it is also important to focus on the details. When completing the drill, think of ways to improve your efficiency. Are both arms working together? Could you raise your stride leg higher as you push off the mound? There is always a way you can improve while working on the efficiency of your motion.

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