There are many different definitions of long-toss by many different people. When I talk about long toss with our players, we talk about stretching their arms out as far as they go, not worrying about the height on the baseball during their throw. Every time a player plays catch, the distance he is throwing needs to be extended farther and farther until he can throw 350+ feet without a bounce to his partner. If you are able to throw a ball this far without bouncing, you are generating a lot of velocity. Playing long toss like this not only stretches your arm out, but also teaches you to throw with your lower half as well.
After your throws begin to lose distance, begin to work back to your partner, moving in about 10 feet every throw until you reach about 70 feet. Continue to keep your arm speed as high as it was at max distance. You will really need to focus on getting on top of the ball. This phase of the long toss is where you gain extension and velocity.
Playing long toss on a daily basis is the #1 way to gain a significant amount of velocity. There is no excuse for a player to have below average arm strength. Unlike throwing off of a mound, you can play long toss EVERY day without injury. Many youth and high school pitchers are “overworked” on the mound. However, these same pitchers typically have underdeveloped arms because they do not spend enough time strengthening their arms through playing daily catch and long toss.
Playing long toss each day is a critical part of your development as a baseball player. Arm strength is one of the 5 tools coaches and scouts look for. A strong arm is the easiest way to stand out from the rest of your competition! Playing long toss will not only help your arm strength but will also help keep your arm healthy!