Space-Savers: Three Indoor Pitching Drills

Written By: Lacey Waldrop

Improve your Pitching Technique Indoors this Off-season

Oftentimes when talking about off-season training, I hear that it's too cold to get outside or there just isn't enough time to practice. Although I can't argue that the temperatures have dropped and there's not much daylight left once school gets out, there are plenty of simple drills that you can complete indoors. The fact is, you don't always need to throw full distance to improve your mechanics or your speed. Instead, spend a few days a week completing the following drills to enhance your form.

All you'll need for these drills is eight to ten feet of space and a net or tarp.

Elbow Leading Arm Circles

I don't actually call this drill "elbow-leading arm circles", but it's something important to emphasize for a correct and efficient arm path. Many pitchers have heard the term "whip", but often it's taught incorrectly or poorly understood. You can only create a true whip when your elbow leads your arm circle in the downswing of your motion. If instead, you are pushing the ball down or "palm-down" at the 9 o'clock position your arm will remain stiff and straight, leading to a lack of whip.

As you master your stationary arm-circles, it's important to achieve the same form during your full pitch. There are a few key factors that contribute to arm whip, so keep these in mind as you work on incorporating this arm path into your pitch.

  • If you land with too much of your weight forward and your front shoulder drops below your back shoulder, you will have a hard time leading with your elbow. This often contributes to "pushing the ball"
  • To combat this, ensure your initial drive off the mound is solid and focus on stabilizing your core when landing. Your head should be aligned with your back hip at landing
  • Below, are two great examples of proper alignment prior to landing (Rachel Garcia) and post-landing (Monica Abbott).
Rachel Garcia - UCLA, Team USA
Rachel Garcia Alignment
Monica Abbott - Tennessee, Team USA
Monica Post-Landing

Stop and Go Variations

Stop and go's have always been one of my favorite drills to help pitcher's understand their body positioning. This is a great drill to work on positional awareness, as mentioned above. You can complete normal stop and go's into a net, or for an added challenge, add a glove snap to finish instead of throwing the ball into a net. Both of these variations are helpful, but I find that an additional glove-snap can help younger pitchers who have a poor understanding of when to release the pitch. I will caution you, young pitchers tend to miss their glove during glove snaps, so it's still helpful to throw in front of a net.

Landing Position Checklist:

  1.  Lower-body positioning

    • Hips are underneath you at landing position. If your head is forward, you will have a difficult time creating proper sequencing.
    • The front toe should land somewhere between 0 and 45 degrees towards the catcher. You should be able to complete a proper lunge from your landing position.
    • Back heel should be up so that you can drag from the top of your toes rather than with the inside of the foot.

  2. Upper-body positioning

    • Arms should be loose and relaxed with a slight bend.
    • Palm and ball should be up towards the sky, allowing the elbow to lead the whip.
    • Your glove should be in line with your body.


  1. Initiate a slight rotation of the hips prior to the arm pulling down. You can initiate this sequence by pulling your front hip backwards (left for right-handed pitchers, and right for left-handed pitchers). This will allow you to start creating proper rotation.
  2. Maintain a proper whip through your pull by leading with the elbow and maintaining proper posture.
  3. Go full speed. If you miss your glove, you miss your glove. It's not the end of the world. Learn to make adjustments as you continue trying this stop and go glove snap variation.

Barefoot Pitching

This is something I have seen from a few different pitching coaches recently, and I decided to try it with my own clients, particularly pitchers who struggle with crow-hopping or have a crashing ankle as they go into their drag. Pitching with no shoes on will allow the pitcher to feel which part of their foot they are driving through, landing on, and dragging with. The more a pitcher can feel what she's doing, the easier it will be for her to understand what adjustments need to be made.

CAUTION: Do not throw at top speed while barefoot. You will fall. Trust me, I speak from experience.

2 thoughts on "Space-Savers: Three Indoor Pitching Drills"

  1. Rob Schweyer says:

    I would just like to comment that neither Rachael or Monica have their hands “Palm up” when coming down in the circle!?!?! When doing a jumping jack, do the arms fall while leading with the elbow and palm to the sky? Or do they fall with natural probation from 12-6 in the circle?

    1. Admin says:

      I’m not sure if we’re looking at the same photos, but both of their hands are clearly palm up. Rachel’s is slightly on the side of the ball, but I would still consider that palm up as opposed to pushing the ball towards centerfield. If you see any other photos of her, she is leading with her elbow as she pulls down her circle. Pronation and internal rotation happen after the release of the pitch, just like they do in the overhand throw. Also, while doing a jumping jack you are only working one plane of motion, while pitching requires moving through all three planes of motion, so the exercises are very different and don’t really correlate.

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