Front toss is a must for all hitters. Whether it is done as a part of a team practice or an individual lesson, hitters need to see the ball coming at them. I’m not a big fan of pitching machines for batting practice, but I do love me some front toss.
One of the things that many people say to me is that they feel like front toss is “too easy” which makes it less applicable to real hitting. Some like the idea of a pitching machine because it allows for a higher pitch speed than the typical coach throwing front toss.
I have a couple thoughts for you to ponder if you think that front toss is too easy.
We all struggle with the challenge of creating a high enough pitching speed to challenge our better hitters with front toss. Well the best way to create the simulation of high pitch speeds is to move the tosser much closer to the hitter. Of course you need to use a protective screen to keep from getting killed, but by shortening the distance, you give the hitter the same timing challenges that a higher speed pitch would create.
One of the challenges is getting hitters to understand that the reaction time they are dealing with is the most important factor is getting them ready to face faster pitching. Many hitters fail to see the connection between reaction time and speed so we need to educate them.
For example, when you can front toss at about 25 miles per hour (which isn’t that difficult) from a distance of 15 feet you are simulating a pitch traveling at about 62 miles per hour. Once a hitter understands the math they start to see the benefit that front toss offers.
Well a pitching machine can throw 62 MPH so why not use that instead, says the doubter. Yes, good point but the reality of a pitching machine is that it lacks the timing mechanisms that a hitter can gain from doing front toss. Hitters really need to see the arm action that they get from front toss and if a coach can get good at a windmill delivery then you have the best of both worlds.
Now there is one negative for coaches throwing a lot of front toss. After about 40 years of doing front toss, my right shoulder is ridiculously bigger than my left. When I tried to get a new suit a few years ago the seamstress got very frustrated because she couldn’t figure out what to do with one shoulder that was a 34 regular and another that was a 48 large.
Small price to pay. I know it’s worth it when I see these kids hit!