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Best way to learn/teach hip and shoulder separation
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GuKre
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PostPosted: Jun 25, 2009    Post subject: Best way to learn/teach hip and shoulder separation Reply with quote

Hi. I've been trying to learn how to do it myself and also teach some little guys about hip/shoulder separation.
Although it doesn't seem that complicated and it isn't that difficult to understand or show it it's pretty tough to actually execute it.

My questions are:
1- What is the best way to rotate the hips? Should I focus on turning inward the back foot? Maybe focus on the back knee? Should I focus on the back hip and leave the foot/knee alone? Or on the front hip? Or should I focus on the pitching arm side shoulder (focus on keeping it back) and just rotate the hips naturally?

After a while it will get second nature, but the first time trying you will have to focus on something.

2- Is there any drills to help with that?
3- Is there any sign that I should look for? I mean, looking at the video in slow motion it's easy to see if someone is getting separation, but not always I have a video device with me. So if I could look for signs that maybe someone is not getting separation would be cool.

And those of you pitchers who have achieved good hip/shoulder separation, pls tell me how you learned, what you focused on etc.
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chew1109
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PostPosted: Jun 25, 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

srtech out that back! rotational back stretches helped me out alot.. swimming also helped me longate the spine and create flexibility with my back/spine.
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Roger
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PostPosted: Jun 25, 2009    Post subject: Re: Best way to learn/teach hip and shoulder separation Reply with quote

GuKre wrote:
Hi. I've been trying to learn how to do it myself and also teach some little guys about hip/shoulder separation.
Although it doesn't seem that complicated and it isn't that difficult to understand or show it it's pretty tough to actually execute it.

Actually, it's a bit more complicated than you're probably thinking. There are a number of things that can make it difficult to get good hip and shoulder separation - things like dropping or flying open with the glove, postural issues, anything that causes timing problems - early shoulder rotation.

Quote:
My questions are:
1- What is the best way to rotate the hips? Should I focus on turning inward the back foot? Maybe focus on the back knee? Should I focus on the back hip and leave the foot/knee alone? Or on the front hip? Or should I focus on the pitching arm side shoulder (focus on keeping it back) and just rotate the hips naturally?

Any of those might serve as cues that could work for different pitchers. But I like to put the focus on the glove arm to make sure it's still in the equal and opposite as close to foot plant as possible as that allows the shoulders to stay closed longer. The longer the shoulders stay closed, the more separation the hips can achieve.

Quote:
After a while it will get second nature, but the first time trying you will have to focus on something.

2- Is there any drills to help with that?

Search this site for "knee drill" and "rocker drill" in posts by me. These drills would allow you to put some focus on separation.


Quote:
3- Is there any sign that I should look for? I mean, looking at the video in slow motion it's easy to see if someone is getting separation, but not always I have a video device with me. So if I could look for signs that maybe someone is not getting separation would be cool.

The key is to pick the right time to assess separation. You're basically looking at hip rotation right before the shoulders rotate - slightly after front foot plant.
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kelvinp
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PostPosted: Jun 26, 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

i say the easiest way is just practicing staying closed
stay closed until foot plant
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GuKre
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PostPosted: Jun 26, 2009    Post subject: Re: Best way to learn/teach hip and shoulder separation Reply with quote

Roger wrote:

Any of those might serve as cues that could work for different pitchers. But I like to put the focus on the glove arm to make sure it's still in the equal and opposite as close to foot plant as possible as that allows the shoulders to stay closed longer. The longer the shoulders stay closed, the more separation the hips can achieve.


Hmm this seems a little awkward to me... from everything focusing on the glove arm would be the last thing I would think... From what I've seen, you use a lot of NPA recommendations. I just bought Tom House's The Pitching Edge book (2nd Edition), is this a good one?

Quote:
Search this site for "knee drill" and "rocker drill" in posts by me. These drills would allow you to put some focus on separation.


Same here... as I'm having trouble with using the lower body and have guys to use it, wouldn't doing drills (knee drill) to isolate the upper body and not use the lower body at all be counter-productive?

Thanks.
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Lights Out Pitching
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PostPosted: Jun 26, 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

The knee drill can be done to practice "showing the numbers" or "tighten the rubber band". That will help you get hip/shoulder rotation if you like doing that. CC Sabathia uses this technique. Some pitchers like to use more hips. If so, you need to do what roger was saying and just practice keeping your shoulder closed. It is just what works for you.
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Roger
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PostPosted: Jun 26, 2009    Post subject: Re: Best way to learn/teach hip and shoulder separation Reply with quote

GuKre wrote:
Roger wrote:

Any of those might serve as cues that could work for different pitchers. But I like to put the focus on the glove arm to make sure it's still in the equal and opposite as close to foot plant as possible as that allows the shoulders to stay closed longer. The longer the shoulders stay closed, the more separation the hips can achieve.


Hmm this seems a little awkward to me... from everything focusing on the glove arm would be the last thing I would think...

Good question. It took me a while to get this myself. I agree focusing on the glove side is not intuitively obvious. But, just "trying to stay closed" is gonna be difficult if you've got something else going on that competes with your ability to stay closed. A glove-side tilt makes it difficult to separate hips and shoulders. Try it. Stand up and lean to your glove side and then try to rotate the hips as far as they'll go while keeping the shoulders closed. It's much more difficult than if you maintain good posture. Getting good separation requires good timing as well. Flying out with the glove tends to destroy timing by pulling the shoulders open early. Getting good separation means delaying shoulder rotation long enough for the hips to fully rotate first. It really is a timing thing.

Quote:
From what I've seen, you use a lot of NPA recommendations. I just bought Tom House's The Pitching Edge book (2nd Edition), is this a good one?

That book has some things in it that are still valid but it's not his latest. The Art and Science of Pitching is his latest book that describes his mechanics model. Fastball Fitness describes training protocols but also has an excellent section that describes how each part of the body contributes to velocity. His latest book is called Arm Action, Arm Path, and The Perfect Pitch: Building the Million Dollar Arm. It attempts to use science to debunk a lot of the common traditional wisdom teaches we hear a lot. I originally thought this latest book would be optional reading but I'm just about finished reading it and I think it should be required reading for pitchers. If you can afford it (none of these books are very expensive), I would recommend getting all three of them.

Quote:
Quote:
Search this site for "knee drill" and "rocker drill" in posts by me. These drills would allow you to put some focus on separation.


Same here... as I'm having trouble with using the lower body and have guys to use it, wouldn't doing drills (knee drill) to isolate the upper body and not use the lower body at all be counter-productive?

Ok, so it takes good timing to maximize one's separation. How much separation one is able to get is dependent on their flexibility and will differ from pitcher to pitcher. But it also takes some neuromuscular patterning. In other words, you've got to be "wired" to do it. For many young pitchers, this is a real hurdle. For not as young pitchers, it still might be somewhat foreign. In these cases, getting it figured out is the first step. The drills I mentioned put your body into positions and movements where you can start to feel what separation feels like. Once you've got the parts working, then you can start to work on optimizing them.

So, I've given you some up-front stuff in the form of drills and some timing stuff that starts with the glove side. If you do things well - good posture and balance, good momentum, good timing starting with good glove side management, etc. - hip and shoulder rotation should take care of themselves.
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tonyjh34
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PostPosted: Feb 14, 2011    Post subject: The Rocker Drill Reply with quote

I have seen Tom House's Rocker Drill and I had some questions/issues with it.

First he says that it all happens after foot plant. That the knee moves in and the hips start to rotate, the shoulders move back to "show the numbers"

Question I had was does this all really happen after foot strike or does it happen slightly before foot strike?

Reason why I ask is when I look at slow motion video of pitchers their back knee turns in toward the plate before foot strike along with the shoulders looking as if they are loading up. According to the Rocker Drill, the knee and hips don't do anything until the stride foot plants.

So am I confused or is the timing of the Rocker Drill inaccurate?
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laflippin
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PostPosted: Feb 14, 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

All drills that isolate part of a high-speed human motion are inaccurate to some degree.

IMO, the salient questions with respect to the Rocker Drill are: (1) How inaccurate is it? (2) Is the inaccuracy, with respect to an actual delivery, enough to render the drill useless, or even counterproductive (3) Is there any other good way to get the kinesthetic experience of hip/shoulder separation near foot-strike?

Many pitchers do begin to open their hips when their stride foot is a couple of inches from planting on the ground. At the speeds they are moving at that point in the delivery, the timing difference between foot-plant and a couple of inches before foot-plant is unlikely to be more than 5 to 10 milliseconds, using the frame rate of a typical high-speed (200 - 300 fps) video camera as a 'clock".

If you wanted to modify the Rocker drill slightly to make it more realistic than it currently is, one might start from the set position, proceed into foot-strike, rock forward, rock back and return to the set position every time....rather than the current drill which usually includes 3 or 4 cycles of rocking forward and back with the hips opening and closing, before finally throwing the ball.

Personally, I don't think 5 - 10 milliseconds of possible timing error is enough to worry about but on the other hand nothing is etched in stone--if you have a better solution for coaching hip/shoulder separation let's hear it.
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tonyjh34
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PostPosted: Feb 14, 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Rocker Drill is good for teaching hip/shoulder separation. I was questioning the timing of the hip/shoulder movement to be off since I see pitchers start to pop the hips and shoulders before foot strike. Cause in his video for the Rocker Drill he says after foot strike and releasing the back foot is when the hips rotate and the shoulders move back to show the numbers. I see pitchers in slow motion video doing that as they are getting close to foot strike not after landing.


Am I wrong?
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laflippin
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PostPosted: Feb 14, 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Many pitchers do begin to open their hips when their stride foot is a couple of inches from planting on the ground. At the speeds they are moving at that point in the delivery, the timing difference between foot-plant and a couple of inches before foot-plant is unlikely to be more than 5 to 10 milliseconds, using the frame rate of a typical high-speed (200 - 300 fps) video camera as a 'clock". "

-------------No, I don't think you're wrong. I just don't think the timing discrepancy is enough to be concerned about, but that's just my personal opinion.

Nevertheless, if you wanted to modify the Rocker Drill to incorporate the hips opening just before the stride foot touches down, I think it might be possible...instead of doing 3 or 4 cycles of "rock forward/rock back" you could return to the set position, stride (with hips starting to open a little before foot plant), plant, rock forward, rock back, return to the set...and repeat.

My question about a better solution was sincere...hip/shoulder separation is not an easy teach for those kids who don't just seem to naturally get it, so I am always interested in how coaches approach this.
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tonyjh34
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PostPosted: Feb 14, 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still in the process of reading House's Million Dollar Arm book, really good so far.
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