Today I am going to show you how to make any throwing drill fun while improving your velocity, accuracy, and mechanics.
To make any throwing drill fun and interesting while improving our velocity, accuracy, and mechanics we can manipulate the constraints of the activity, which in today’s case is changing the size, shape, and weight of the ball being thrown. Velocity, accuracy, and mechanics are maximized because any time the constraints are manipulated the athlete needs to make the adaptations, adjustments, and corrections necessary to hit the target. This improves the coordination and consistency of their mechanics which allows them to produce more force, hit the target more often, and provides a fun challenge.
Be sure to watch the video because I compete in a throwing challenge where if I fail I take a pie to the face.
When manipulating the size, shape, and weight of the ball being thrown you don't only have to throw baseball or traditional round balls. There are plenty of objects such as footballs, medicine balls, and Frisbees that can give you great visual feedback so you can easily make improvements in your velocity, accuracy, and mechanics.
For example when throwing a football, in order to throw a spiral you need a nice, smooth, tight, and clean arm action with a good release point. If the football doesn’t spiral that means that your release point is off, your arm action is long, or your body's movements aren't in sync. With the medicine ball, if you want to produce maximal force and chuck it hard and far with accuracy, you need to have the correct sequencing of throwing movements. The farther, harder, and more accurately the medicine ball goes the more efficient your mechanics become. If you're throwing a Frisbee is it going straight, to the left, or to the right? If the Frisbee isn’t flying straight with lots of carry then your release point, arm action, or mechanics are off. Every time the size, shape, and weight of the ball being thrown changes the difficulty of hitting the target changes. Each “ball” is a new challenge to overcome.
Throwing is throwing regardless of the object being thrown. Our ultimate goal will always be to hit the target and we can utilize different balls and objects to make throwing practice engaging and fun while improving faster. Don't knock it till you try it. The more tools that you have in your toolbox the more problems you'll be able to solve.
Here are the three key teaching points to remember when manipulating the balls being thrown:
1) Make whatever adjustment is necessary to consistently hit the target. As the player gets closer and closer to hitting that target their mechanics will improve because accuracy and better mechanics go hand in hand.
2) Get to the ball quickly, throw the ball hard, and give 100 effort anytime the size, shape, or weight of the ball is changed. Each ball is going to be a new challenge but keep in mind that better by definition is different and you get out of it what you put into it. Sometimes the balls that we struggle to hit the target with the most hold the key to our success.
3) When the size, shape, and weight of the ball is changed, the athlete must adjust their arm slot, release point, grip on the ball, how hard to throw the ball, and/or the way they move their body. This allows the athlete to become their own best coach so they learn faster and along the way they learn to maximize their velocity, increase their accuracy, and improve their mechanics.
The saying “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” really resonates with manipulating the constraints of a drill which in this case was the size, shape, and weight of the ball being thrown. By involving players and helping them problem solve through movement they can learn to throw harder, increase their accuracy, and improve their mechanics.
Be sure to watch the video because I compete in a Bear challenge where if I fail I get 8 soccer balls kicked as hard as they can at my body.