Please excuse the grotesque title but marketing theory tells us that to get attention we have to say stuff that is fairly ridiculous…
With that out of the way I am going to proceed to reconcile and unify linear momentum and rotational momentum theories and hopefully gain cult status in the process.
First: they are both 100% correct
Second: they are both 100% INCORRECT
Why? Unless I missed it somewhere else, NO ONE from either camp has SPECIFICALLY discussed the VITAL importance of an aggressive foot plant. If you have, I sincerely apologize and I empathize when we see all this hoopla about Marshall, Mills, etc, and little attention to this very important and very teachable point.
Enough rhetoric and on to facts.
The body is a series of levers. Levers tend to move in rotational patterns. When these levers are coordinated they can cause us to move linearly (walking running). The chain can and does work in reverse.
Having hopefully wet your appetite I will direct you to an ugly looking website that has a fantastic illustration of how linear motion can be translated into rotational motion, and a pretty good explanation. However I will try to build on it and introduce some additional concepts that will hopefully ring true and cause everyone to throw 100 mph. Please open this link in another window.
Cool stuff eh? So who gives a wahoo? Onwards and upwards!
So why is an aggressive plant very important? What is a proper foot plant? and MOST IMPORTANT… what physical tools are REQUIRED to properly plant??? I will answer these questions in three posts.
1)Why is the plant so important?
Take the example in the Mad Max site. Lets say that instead of the block being stopped, it is in fact moving in the direction cart, but at a slower speed, say 2.5 mph. In essence, it is like the cart collided with a static block at 2.5 mph as opposed to 5 mph… therefore less momentum transfer! (physics geeks don’t call me out on this. I understand that a plastic collision gets into some rather messy math. just work with me)
Now imagine instead that we are looking at a stick drawing like the ones made famous by Tom House and the block is the front leg and the pole is the hips. If you are not strong enough, and the front leg is “collapsing” to use a common term, it is like your “block” is moving forward and you are losing velocity.
So here is where we reconcile the two schools of thought.
To maximize velocity, you must first have your cart moving as fast as possible, and then your block must be as close to Zero as possible. This will cause the hips to “deflect” if you will AROUND the plant leg, taking the upper body and torso with it. and thus:
CONVERTING LINEAR MOMENTUM INTO ROTATIONAL MOMENTUM!!!
So in quick summary:
YES-- move forward as quickly as humanly possible (see Lincecum as PRIME example). Mills and others are absolutely correct.
BUT-- if you dont have the front leg strength, hip flexibility, landing mechanics, torso strength and control, it doesn’t MATTER how fast you can move forward. It just WON’T transfer up the chain. In the next article we will discuss the mechanics of the plant, and hopefully stroke the egos of those that dont believe that striding is “really that important”.
Front Leg Freak
p.s. In post scripts I will discuss little tangents only loosely relating to the main article. In this one I am going to discuss the importance of velocity and the psychology of the scout.
Scouts are dreamers. They are generally smart baseball guys who were crap at baseball but wanted to affect the game at the highest level to stroke their egos. Before I get into too much trouble I would like to say that I want to be a scout for that very reason.
Scouts rarely draft on actual, “at that moment” ability. They TEND to draft on some magical quality called potential. If you are small, but throw “average” good (like 90 mph) sorry but you are SOL. BUT if you are 6’8", left handed, with a solid frame and throw 82mph, there is a significant chance that if you are seen and marketed properly, you will get signed. If you run a 6.1 60 yard you will get signed simply cause you are a freak. If you bat .390 in D1 college, have a hose and run like the wind (6.5 60y), but you are Canadian and under 6’, you are working as a personal trainer in Windsor. (a friend, not myself)
Everyone “knows” velocity really doesn’t mean anything in terms of effectiveness of a pitcher. But 90mph is the “buy-in” to the pro ranks. Throw harder and it doesn’t really matter what else you throw, or how accurate you are, “they can teach that”. Throw softer and you will need someone to REALLY love you and know you personally to ever see a pay check in baseball.