100 MPH mechanics


#1

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.


#2

I certainly believe that you hit 100+ MPH on a flat ground throw, but seeing a few of them every week, I have an idea of what it generally looks like for most body types. I really doubt the video attached is close to 100 MPH to be honest - not to go all coachxj on you.

Can you simply get a radar gun and do flat ground throws until you hit 100 then upload that video?

Here is a pattern of a former client of mine who has hit 99 MPH on flat ground throws. This one is an overload weighted ball throw but it’s similar enough to his 98+ MPH mechanics:


#3

[quote=“kyleb”]I certainly believe that you hit 100+ MPH on a flat ground throw, but seeing a few of them every week, I have an idea of what it generally looks like for most body types. I really doubt the video attached is close to 100 MPH to be honest - not to go all coachxj on you.

Can you simply get a radar gun and do flat ground throws until you hit 100 then upload that video?

Here is a pattern of a former client of mine who has hit 99 MPH on flat ground throws. This one is an overload weighted ball throw but it’s similar enough to his 98+ MPH mechanics:

[/quote]

No, I don’t have access to a radar gun to use on my own time. This throw was maybe done at 85-90% in 15 degree weather in our outdoor hitting facility. I feel it is pretty close to the mechanics used during the test, although at a lower intensity. We don’t even gear up to max effort long toss for another couple weeks in our throwing program, so I don’t think I’d be able to fulfill that request even if I had access to my coach’s radar gun.

One day when I can get that video for you it will be interesting to see the changes that take place between an 85-90% throw and a true max effort throw.


#4

In that video, it looks like you are throwing from a higher arm slot. Is this true and if it is, is that intentional?


#5

We actually video taped our velocity today and 3 of the 4 guys touched 100 MPH. The more I watch high level throwers, its the ability to connect momentum through rotation.


#6

Would really love to see a video of one of your max effort throws for 2 reasons:

  1. I have never seen a flat ground throw of 100 mph + so I would love to see what kind of intent/ mechanical efficiency it would take.

  2. I remember lurking around these forums when I was still in high school about 5 or 6 years ago and I remember your username lankylefty. I also remember you posting some videos or pictures or something, and if it is true you transformed yourself into a 100 mph arm that it just about the most impressive thing I’ve ever heard.

Looking forward to seeing a video


#7

Speaking of 100 mph, I looked up all of the pitchers who threw 100 mph or over last year (no rounding up if it was 99.9). Interestingly, almost 50% (7 out of 16) were 6’ or under (and obviously, some “listed height” is overstated for pitchers). So, the “height excuse” that some make doesn’t seem to fly. You can throw hard with proper training, mechanics and strength (or other factors) as opposed to saying “I’m not tall enough to throw hard.” Not saying genetics doesn’t have anything to do with it (I’m sure there are other genetic/athletic factors that go into throwing hard for a smaller pitcher, including weight/mass), but, my point is that you don’t have to be freakishly tall to throw very hard.

• 104.0, Aroldis Chapman, Reds, reliever (102.7 max 2012) 6’4"
• 102.8, Bruce Rondon, Tigers, reliever (rookie) 6’3"
• 102.3, Henry Rodriguez, Nationals, reliever (now Cubs AAA) (101.4 max
2012) 6’1" [I’ve seen him listed at 6’ or below in some places]
• 101.5, Kelvin Harrera, Royals, reliever (102.8 max 2012) 5’10"

• 101.4, Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals, reliever (100.9 max 2012) 6’2"
• 101.3, Carlos Martinez, Cardinals, starter (rookie) 6’
• 101.0, Gerrit Cole, Pirates, starter (rookie) 6’4"
• 100.8, Nate Jones, White Sox, reliever (101.1 max 2012) 6’5"
• 100.7, Fernando Rodney, Rays, reliever (100.4 max 2012) 5’11"
• 100.6, Jose Dominguez, Dodgers, reliever (rookie) 6’
• 100.2, Andrew Cashner, Padres, starter (102.0 max 2012) 6’6"
• 100.2, Greg Holland, Royals, reliever (99.7 max in 2012) 5’10"
• 100.1, Jeremy Jeffress, Blue Jays, reliever (99.8 max in 2012) 6’
• 100.1, Nathan Eovaldi, Marlins, starter (98.5 max in 2012) 6’2"
• 100.1, Matt Harvey, Mets, starter (99.2 max in 2012) 6’4"
• 100.0, Danny Salazar, Indians, starter (rookie) 6’


#8

Great info McLoven.

I always go back to the players I’m familiar with from the south and players I’ve had in the past.

Sonny Gray, Rex Brothers, Billy Wagner, Craig Kimbrel, etc…

None of these guys are over 5’10 yet throw the ball in excess of 96 MPH.

Here’s a great article by Paul that explains why this happens, really good read.

http://baseballthinktank.com/the-case-for-the-inverted-w-part-2/


#9

Thanks, that’s excellent. Paul’s presentation at Pitch-a-palooza was extremely well done too…very detailed and helpful in putting everything together, mechanics-wise.


#10

Coontm9 and Mcloven,

first of all, I don’t belong in the same sentence as those guys you listed!! They throw 100 from the mound, I did it with a crow-hop!! Huge difference!! Those guys could all probably eclipse 105 or even 110 from a crow hop!

Regardless, I have made a lot of progress, hitting 93 from my slide step on flat ground and 94 off the mound this fall.

Lantz, I’d love to speak with you sometime about your facility and training methods. It looks like you have a pretty good handle on how to train your guys!