6 weeks after hitting 102 in post-fall velocity testing from a one-step crow-hop, I filmed this video which is my best approximation of what that throw looked like. My first two throws were 98 and 99mph respectively with the 5oz ball. I was surprised, because in-game this fall I had been 90-92 consistent, and on flat-ground airing it out from the stretch I had been able to hit 93mph.
This 5-8mph jump in velocity is the product of a very aggressive shuffle step, overemphasizing keeping the shoulders closed and throwing over a very firm front leg while maintaining a loose and whippy arm action. I think a true max velocity throw is also a product of pure muscular strength and explosiveness of the upper body musculature (lats and core, especially). We have 3 other guys on the team that hit 98 or 99 mph, and all have what I would consider more efficient mechanics, with better arm whip, a more fluid energy transfer, better separation and consistently better velocity. However, my upper body is significantly stronger than all three of theirs despite all of us being in the 6’3"-6’4" 200-220lb range. I am led to believe that mechanical efficiency is a primary factor in consistent velocity, but the ability to recruit a maximal number of motor units and draw upon additional muscular strength for just a few throws may aid in maximal testing velocity.
I also wanted to put this video up because I think people will find it interesting (as I do) and it may spur some discussion.
As to what these throws felt like…an impossible question to adequately answer with words. There is significantly more activation of the front side obliques when you stay optimally closed through landing…it is these muscles that help to laterally tilt the trunk and begin trunk rotation…also keep in mind that this is an incredibly quick shuffle step, despite being slowed down for the .gif image. From initiation to release takes about 0.9 seconds given that this is a 120FPS clip. As such, there is a big initial “push” off the back leg just to get the system moving laterally, but this step doesn’t correspond to what the back leg actually does in the pitching motion. While the first motion of the back leg is a push (i.e. a crow-hop push-off) the second contact of the back leg aims to harness that incredible momentum and direct it through the front hip joint as you would in a regular pitch. From there, the front leg puts on the brakes and the upper body is catapulted over the front side (engaging the lateral core muscles, NOT bending forward with your six-pack muscles), creating an enormous amount of torque about the trunk provided that the proper position (shoulders FULLY closed) can be attained at landing.
Overall it feels pretty powerful, but a true max effort throw is not something I would want to be doing very often like this. It feels like you’re trying to throw your elbow and shoulder out of their socket. There is almost inevitably a grunt that goes along with it. Very taxing. I don’t think most people ever really throw over 96 or 97% of their true max in games, just because it really does take an entirely new level of effort that couldn’t be repeated for very long.