Baseball Pitching Skills List

Baseball Pitching Skills List

Pitching is an important part of baseball defense. Pitchers are some of the most well-known and admired baseball players, and pitching requires a unique set of skills. Keep reading for a list of the most important skills for pitching in baseball.

List of Pitching Skills

Below is a list of advanced pitching skills in baseball, listed in order of importance:

  • Pitch Command (Accuracy)
  • Pitch Velocity
  • Windup
  • Eye Placement
  • Leg Lift
  • Stride Direction
  • Ball Movement
  • Ball Spin
  • Follow-through
  • Mental Toughness
  • Arm Strength
  • Pitching Mechanics
  • Pickoff Moves

Pitch Command (Accuracy)

Pitch command, or the accuracy of your pitch, is the most important skill for a baseball pitcher. Poor pitch command will lead you to throw too many balls, walk or hit batters, and give hitters opportunities at easy pitches. Although speed is a close second, working on the placement of your pitches is the best thing you can do to improve as a pitcher.

Pitch Velocity

Pitch velocity is nearly as important as accuracy. While fastball speed is impressive, speed on breaking pitches distinguishes elite pitchers. Additionally, pitch speeds have continued to increase in professional baseball, making velocity a key factor in evolving the sport. Factors like movement, delivery, and repertoire matter, but having a scorching fastball is the best way to get noticed as a pitcher.


Without a good windup, a pitch often lacks power. However, in modern baseball, some pitchers have begun to elect against using a windup in their pitches in order to avoid telegraphing the pitch too much. In order to wind up effectively, a pitcher must start with their body square to the catcher, take an angled step with their stride leg, turn their rear leg and step next to the rubber, and then lift their leg to begin the delivery of the pitch. A proper windup form will lead to a smooth, well-flowing pitch.

Eye Placement

Knowing how and where to look while you are pitching is just as important as your windup since the eyes are what direct the pitch. If you’re pitching, keep your eyes on the catcher’s mitt during your windup. As you turn, this will involve watching the catcher out of the corner of your eye. Keeping your eyes on the target of the catcher’s mitt is key because your arm will naturally follow the direction you are looking in. As with aiming your hips at the hole in golf, keeping your eyes focused when pitching improves your overall accuracy.

Leg Lift

The leg lift flows naturally from a pitcher’s windup and is designed to increase the power and momentum of the pitch. By lifting your leg while pitching, you increase the kinetic energy in your muscles, pumping them up for the ultimate motion of the pitch. Important elements of a successful leg lift include keeping the heel beneath the knee, lifting your leg to at least a 90° angle relative to the hip, and keeping the leg relaxed throughout the motion.

Stride Direction

Stride direction is a must-have skill for any pitcher. A good stride will allow a pitcher to maximize their pitch velocity, reduce the stress on their arm, and throw balls where and how they want. A stride should not go too far across the pitcher’s body, as this will throw off the aim of the pitch and potentially cause undue stress on the arm.

Ball Movement

Ball movement is crucial for confusing hitters and getting strikeouts. While a wicked fastball may strike out a batter their first time up, they will be prepared the next time, requiring a different pitch to catch them off guard. A truly effective pitcher will have several pitches with different types of ball movement. Mixing breaking balls, fastballs, and off-speed pitches are the key to striking out big-league sluggers.

Ball Spin

A high rate of ball spin increases the ball’s movement and makes it harder to hit. The faster a pitch spins, the more unpredictable its movement will be to the batter. Increasing your spin rate will make it harder to hit not only your curveballs and sliders but your fastballs too. Every pitcher reaches a natural ceiling of the spin rate as their skills progress. If you focus on improving your spin rate, you can break through this ceiling and increase the overall effectiveness of your pitches.


The follow-through is a key part of pitching in baseball. Pitchers must be wary of releasing the ball too early, as this will reduce the power of the pitch and potentially also ruin its accuracy. A great follow-through will send the ball directly at the intended target and will succeed in putting whatever curve or spin the pitcher desires onto the ball. The key element of following through is to simply pitch until the natural motion of the arm ends.

Mental Toughness

Of all the positions in baseball, pitching requires the most mental toughness. It can be easy to get stressed out or in a bad state of mind while alone on the mound, especially if you are losing. Adopting healthy habits and developing your mental toughness can help you stay focused, confident, and in control. There are many small challenges and distractions while pitching a game, and mental toughness will help you work through them and concentrate on your technique.

Arm Strength

Arm strength is an important skill to develop, as it is directly related to your pitch velocity. The stronger your arms, the faster and more accurately you will be able to deliver pitches. Biceps, triceps, and shoulders should all be trained to increase power throughout your pitching motion. Equally important is strengthening your wrists and forearms, as they will help you grip the ball and have a more accurate delivery.

Pitching Mechanics

To become an elite pitcher, you must have proper pitching mechanics. Although there are many styles of delivery, there are a few principles of mechanics that every great pitcher follows. First, you must achieve hip and shoulder separation. Next, you must develop linear power as well as rotational power throughout your throwing motion. Finally, learn to drive with your lower body, using it to dictate the direction and intention of your pitch.

Pickoff Moves

Pickoff moves are a key defensive technique that pitchers must master. A pickoff move is used to keep a baserunner close to the bag and prevent them from stealing a base. Occasionally, a pitcher will get a runner out on a pickoff. Most pickoff throws do not beat the runner to the base, but they are useful for keeping the runner close by and on their toes.


What are the basic skills of pitching in baseball?

The basic skills of pitching in baseball are accuracy, speed, proper movement, and arm strength. Without a good combination of these skills, a pitcher will not be able to execute throws effectively. These skills are often natural to human beings, but in order to cultivate them to a point where they are suitable for pitching, one must practice constantly, often through pitching drills.

How do you become a better pitcher in baseball?

You can become a better pitcher by practicing often and performing certain pitching drills designed to increase specific skills inherent to pitching. Some popular pitching drills include the Balancing Drill, the Tap Drill, the Down Angle Drill, the Wall Drill, and Fielding Practice. These drills all help enhance a person’s vital pitching techniques.

What is the best type of pitch to use in baseball?

By far, most baseball analysts agree that the best type of pitch is the standard fastball. A fastball makes use of many important pitching skills, including a proper windup, accuracy, arm strength, follow-through, ball spin, and pitch velocity. All of these skills come together to create the perfect fastball, which is one of the most intimidating pitches any baseball player can throw.