Does your dog have a BASIC stay? (I do NOT mean holding a stay while you throw the toy). What I would do, in that case, is put the dog in a sit stay, walk out a few steps, and PLACE the ball or stick on the ground. Walk back and release him to get it. When he masters this, the ngo to walking out and dropping the ball or stick, then walking out and tossing it gently a few steps in front of you, etc- basically, take things in tiny steps.