Whether you are involved in professional, collegiate, Babe Ruth or Little League baseball, it is important to review basic techniques early in the season.

At this point in time, I would like to circle around again with some advice from a professional. In the past, sharing some of my baseball articles with Paul Hartzell (a former major league baseball pitcher) he was kind enough to share some advice which is worthwhile to review to future young pitchers. He pitched six seasons for the California Angels, Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers.

In June 1977, Hartzell became one of the very few major league pitchers to be credited with two wins in one day, in defeating the Texas Rangers in both games of a doubleheader.

Paul’s advice (especially for young arms and legs) comes from all those pitches and outcomes…. they are as follows: The back of your lead foot as you deliver the ball should line up with the ankle bone of the foot in contact with the pitching rubber. It is important to point the ball of the lead foot towards home plate in line with the rear ankle.

Baseball players have many different characteristics and techniques but it is important to remember that what works for a major leaguer may not work for you. It is, therefore, important to learn proper basic techniques.

When you are throwing or hitting the ball, proper technique involves bringing your arms in toward the body. The body position is also important in both throwing and hitting the ball as we use the entire body including the upper body, hips, and legs.

Proper technique involves pointing your front hip and upper body towards the person you are throwing to, or the direction the ball is pitched. The motion goes from back to front, as the back motion follows front motion. There should be a 45-degree position of the feet as the front foot is in line with the back foot.

The front shoulder assumes the position of the back shoulder. A good method for developing this technique is visual imagery in which the athlete imagines each part of the technique from start to finish before it actually takes place. Many athletes can use this mental rehearsal procedure as a means of improving their technique to gain improved performance.

Prior to the actual practice session, or game, muscles should be

stretched or strengthened safely during warm-up. Utilize easy limbering movements until you feel the muscle is ready to go. In addition, a brisk and easy run around the entire field will aid your breathing and heart rate to respond to the all-out running in the field plays and base running.

Using proper techniques in body position and warm-up stretching and strengthening exercises may save you lost time from injuries.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a sports podiatrist. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and ‘88 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss has a practice in Darien and is affiliated with Stamford Hospital. For more information, visit his web site at www.stamfordhealth

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