We would all love to be able to throw a dodgeball harder. While velocity is determined somewhat by genetics, there are ways to significantly increase the speed of your dodgeball throws. There are two basic pitching mistakes I see in weak throwers:
- Stride length way too short.
- Not enough follow-through on throws.
You do not need to be overly large to throw hard. Tim Lincecum is a perfect example; below are two slow-motion videos of his windup:
Note the absurdly long stride-length that Lincecum gets. Lincecum is all of 165lbs, but he throws in the low-to-mid 90s with help from his pitching mechanics. Steven Ellis on stride length:
After your knee is lifted to your chest, you will start to stride forward. The proper technique to do it (for a right-handed pitcher) is with the side of your front foot facing the target and his toe pointing at 3rd base. This enables will enable you to keep your hips closed throughout the "expansion" of the lower body off the mound and to the target. A lefthander should stride with his toe pointing at 1st base.
It's also important to stride out with the front foot low to the ground. This keeps a pitcher's shoulders relatively level.
Notice ... how each pitcher is striding toward the plate leading the way with the side of his front foot -- NOT his toe, which opens the hips too early.
In general, your stride length should be at least 80 to 90 percent of your height. (It'll be shorter off of flat ground.) Some pitchers may find it beneficial to stride longer, up to 100% of their height.
I see weak throwers stride roughly 12-18 inches. It should be at least twice that. Slowly start to increase your stride length as you throw - an extra half-inch or an inch each time you practice. You do not want to take it too far too fast, as if you are not used to striding long you could suffer a groin pull. You need to develop the require muscle memory needed to lengthen your stride. Ellis recommends the following:
One drill I did in practice to work on my stride was to head down to the bullpen and mark off in the dirt a spot that I wanted my front foot to attain when I strided. I usually marked this spot slightly farther than my regular stride, to encourage me to really get out there. Then I'd perform 20 or 30 repetitions of my mechanics (without throwing) to work on striding out and hitting that mark with my front foot.
Try it to see what works best for you.
The other fault I see is a lack of a follow-through on throws. The thrower starts upright and stays upright after the dodgeball is released. Notice in the Linceum videos how Tim's back ends up nearly parallel to the ground. That's more depth than most baseball pitchers, but all will have some deviation from being upright. I would work on stride length before worrying about follow-through - you will find as your stride length increases you will naturally follow-through more.
Try it out and let me know if you see any increases in velocity.