2 questions about my mechanics (video's included)


#1

I live in the Netherlands and it is really hard to get good advice about pitching around here so I would really appreciate any comments you may have about my mechanics. Everything you see here I thought myself in the past year using books and great websites such as this one.

As said I would love any comments you may have but there are two questions that have really been bugging me for a long time:

  • my teammates tell me I have good control and mechanics but that my mechanics are too “clean and smooth” and it’s relatively easy for them to time their swing to the way I pitch. Is there any way I can give my fastball more “pop” or be more deceptive?

  • My velocity (70-75 mph measured with a radar ball, our club doesn’t own a radar gun) is good enough for the league I will be playing in next year but just like many others I would like to add more velocity. Do you see any mechanical opportunities to increase velocity? I work out 4 times a week based on exercises in a book by Tom House and I throw as much as I can.

Okay enough talk, here are the video’s:

http://www.xs4all.nl/~peek/pitches/first_base_view_fullspeed.avi
http://www.xs4all.nl/~peek/pitches/first_base_view_slowspeed.wmv

http://www.xs4all.nl/~peek/pitches/third_base_view_fullspeed.avi
http://www.xs4all.nl/~peek/pitches/third_base_view_slowspeed.wmv

http://www.xs4all.nl/~peek/pitches/home_plate_view_fullspeed.avi
http://www.xs4all.nl/~peek/pitches/home_plate_view_slowspeed.wmv


#2

No comments? Perhaps I am asking the wrong kind of questions?


#3

Your questions are fine. It takes time to do a good analysis and I haven’t had time yet. But I’ll get to it.


#4

Nice video. I predict you’ll get alot of feedback. They’re just collecting their thoughts.

I’ll mention two things in the “for what it’s worth” category. I’m not a pitching coach but my son has been pitching for eight years and has been exposed to many different systems and theories.

  1. Your glove side forearm and elbow angle is unique. Don’t know that I’ve seen a pitcher keep his glove tucked as much as you do. House talks about a balanced approach where both sides are always equal in angle. In other words maybe get the glove out over the landing knee a little and then tuck.

  2. Seems like you might benefit by loading up more on the pivot foot and turn the hips a little more closed before exploding to the plate. It appears you drift or fall more than drive at first. That might cause your throwing arm to be a little behind the rest of the delivery.


#5

Thanks alot guys. I didn’t mean to sound impatient. I appreciate people taking the time to look at this.

[quote=“Dino”]

  1. Your glove side forearm and elbow angle is unique. Don’t know that I’ve seen a pitcher keep his glove tucked as much as you do. House talks about a balanced approach where both sides are always equal in angle. In other words maybe get the glove out over the landing knee a little and then tuck.[/quote]

Ah, I will reread that section of House’s book (pitching edge).
I like the book but sometimes it’s to difficult to comprehend for
a foreigner who hast been playing baseball all his life.
I used to point my glove to the target and not tuck it in immediately. It would end above or in front of my landing knee, as I believe it should but that way I didn’t feel as if could drive my front elbow in to fuel the final part of my rotation.

[quote=“Dino”]
2. Seems like you might benefit by loading up more on the pivot foot and turn the hips a little more closed before exploding to the plate. It appears you drift or fall more than drive at first. That might cause your throwing arm to be a little behind the rest of the delivery.[/quote]

Yes, this is exactly the part I don’t “get”. I’m not really sure how to
"load up". I believe another pitcher in my team does this by putting his weight back and keeping his weight back more during the first part of his stride. His front shoulder is also higher than his other shoulder during the first part of his stride.

For people who like to know, this video was shot with an Ixus 40, it has a mode for shooting 60 FPS movies although it is limited to 320x240. That’s why I regret shooting the homeplate view from 60 feet.


#6

Sorry for your long awaited reply. I know how you feel. Anxious to try something that may help you.

Well first, When I get the chance, I’ll pos a couple videos of me. I just haven’t had the chance lately with school and all. But when I get around to it I will take care of it.

Anyways, I have a question of two for you before I give you what I think of your mechanics. How old are you? Do you play highschool baseball? And how tall are you? Weight? Not very relavant to the subject, but recently I have been recording stats of alot of the pitchers I come in contact with.

As for you mechanics, pretty good for self-taught. I was lucky to have a pitching coach to help me growing up and planting seeds in my head on what is good and bad. I still keep in touch with him. Analyzing your videos, (quality and angles were great) you have a sound base in mechanics. From the looks of it I think you are taking too large of a stride by about 6in. The other thing I see that Dino mentioned is that you seem to fall off the “what would be a mound” rather than push of explode. You want as a pitcher, push off or explode as most refer to it and get your arm moving faster. It seems your arm is behind your body. There is nothing really wrong with you tuck really. Simply a prefererence thing. My tuck by mere quincidince is almost exactly like Pedro Martinez’s. You tuck can be a problem with balance and control, but if you hit your spots already don’t worry about it.

There is nothing I really see major wrong with your mechanics. I am at the point where I am teaching myself also. I have a help in the past, which has helped so much. Never forget what you learn, trust me. With a good push off the mound you can get your arm speed up and gain a few MPH. Look at Billy Wagner’s mechanics. He has I think one of the top 5 best mechanics in the MLB. So fluid and pure.

With a little adjustments you will be fine. You are doing fine so far. Keep on pitching. If you need help IM me at KeenanB13 or E-mail me at KeenanB13@aol.com. WhiteSox101 :wink: Hope this helps.


#7

Nice start to your delivery. There’s very little drift forward on the initial leg lift, which helps keep your weight centered. Good job!

I’m just going to talk about your finish. Others can comment on other aspects of your delivery.

You don’t brace up particularly well with your stride leg as you release the pitch. Instead of bracing up, your knee stays bent and becomes more bent. So your “follow through” looks as though you’re simply walking toward the plate. And I suspect you’re losing a bit of pitching velocity because of it.

Without throwing, work on this aspect of your pitching mechanics by bracing over your front leg as opposed to collapsing over it. Then when you have it down, introduce throwing. It’ll become natural with practice and time.


#8

Overall, I think your mechanics look pretty good. If you’ve developed yourself based on reading books, you’ve done a great job picking out the best practices from those books. Which book influenced you the most?

Here’s some specific things:

(1) Posture and balance look pretty good.

(2) You could probably stand to get the hips going a little sooner/faster to build up more momentum. That might translate into a little more velocity and getting into foot strike quicker will help prevent you from opening the shoulders too soon. (This is Tom House stuff.)

(3) As Dino already pointed out, you’re front arm/glove could be extended out over the front foot more. It will hold this position only for a moment at foot strike. Then, as the shoulders rotate, the glove will turn over (and elbow will swing down and in front of the torso). The chest will move to the glove. (This is Tom House stuff. too.)

(4) Your front foot starts to open early in the stride and that will cause the hips to start opening early too. Some folks believe that rotating late into foot strike will give you a more explosive rotation of the hips. And that will translate into a more explosive rotation of the shoulders. (This is NOT Tom House stuff but I believe there is some merit in it.)

(5) You seem to get good hip and shoulder separation.

(6) Your shoulders do appear to start rotating a tiny bit early. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be much delay between hip and shoulder rotation. The shoulders come around at about the same time as the hips. Try to keep the shoulders closed longer while keeping the head and shoulders stacked upright and tracking forward with the torso. This will let you use the body to throw more and take some stress off the arm. It will also get your release point closer to home plate.

(7) Finishing your follow through with your glove toward the 2B side of your body makes it next to impossible to defend yourself against a line drive hit back at you. I try to get my pitchers to keep the glove in front for self-defense.

Just so you know where I am coming from (in case you couldn’t tell :roll:), I am a Tom House certified pitching instructor. So, yeah, I am biased from that angle.

By the way, if you want to learn the latest Tom House teachings, get his latest book, “The Art and Science of Pitching”. It is much more in line with what he is teaching these days than is “The Pitching Edge” though a lot of that is still valid.


#9

Well a side from the crappy indoor kitchen camera sitting on shelf, this is all I could do for now. Don’t focus on my back leg there was a chair in the way. The main reason I filmed it was to focus on my front leg and leg lift/direction. Any comments on it. Don’t pay attantion on anything else. I will post a video of my outside with a better angle and you can judge the real thing. Just my front leg. Any comments? Uhh positives? Negatives? I pitch 80-82mph 2-seamer. Good control. Comments? Thanks.


#10

Uh oh. What I posted contradicts this statement. Basically, there are two philosophies at play here. One philosophy (what I call the “old school” philosophy :P) says you should keep the weight back and don’t drift. The other philosophy says you should get the hips going sooner and faster as this is where all momentum built up during the delivery originates and doing so helps with your timing.

[quote]I’m just going to talk about your finish. Others can comment on other aspects of your delivery.

You don’t brace up particularly well with your stride leg as you release the pitch. Instead of bracing up, your knee stays bent and becomes more bent. So your “follow through” looks as though you’re simply walking toward the plate. And I suspect you’re losing a bit of pitching velocity because of it.

Without throwing, work on this aspect of your pitching mechanics by bracing over your front leg as opposed to collapsing over it. Then when you have it down, introduce throwing. It’ll become natural with practice and time.[/quote]
I agree with your description of this pitcher’s finish. It could be a functional strength issue - too often we look at mechanics to fix problems when often there is simply a lack of strength to perform the mechanics (although this pitcher looks pretty healthy). So, in this case, if there is a strength issue I would look at the front leg not being strong enough to brace or the lower back not being strong enough to keep the torso upright longer. Or both.

I also think there is a possibility the pitcher is simply too upright when the shoulders rotate. Getting the hips going, building up more momentum. and lengthening the stride might lower is center of gravity and make him less top heavy.


#11

Forgot to address your questions…

[quote=“Peekster”]As said I would love any comments you may have but there are two questions that have really been bugging me for a long time:

  • my teammates tell me I have good control and mechanics but that my mechanics are too “clean and smooth” and it’s relatively easy for them to time their swing to the way I pitch. Is there any way I can give my fastball more “pop” or be more deceptive?[/quote]
    When I watch pitchers who have been trained in Tom House mechanics, they all look very smooth and effortless when they throw. That’s part of what Tom House mechanics are about. The smooth part means you have good timing and you should have better consistency. The effortless part means you are using your body to throw and putting less stress on the arm. House is all about performance AND health.

As for giving your fastball more pop, doing what I said in my other post - specifically the items relates to hip and shoulder rotation - will help you maximize your velocity.

As for being more deceptive, the delayed shoulder rotation item keeps the ball hidden longer. And getting your release point closer means the batter has less time to see the ball once it becomes visible.

That should be good. Work on FUNCTIONAL strength and flexibility with a lot of focus on the core.


#12

Well not a good video for what I am posting it for but this is all I have for now…If you can pause at 2 seconds when my arm is fully extended. You can see part of my tuck and get and idea of how I really pitch.


#13

Why do you think this?

Be carefull with this item as it can mess up your timing. I believe there is a push at the beginning of the stride to help initiate momentum. But I feel that if you push too much at the end of the stride, that can get you into foot strike too quickly and put you in a position where you can’t get good hip rotation.


#14

I agree. Check out some of the vids I posted above. But read the text**.

Well you stride should only be 2/3 of your height and he looks like he stretching out too far not getting his hips into the pitch enough. Meaning it looks like his pushing the ball with his arm more than using momentum that he is wasting during overstriding. That is my opinion.

As far as “push” you want to iniatiate like you said I don’t mean you have to rush your pitch trying to gain power.


#15

Uh oh. What I posted contradicts this statement. Basically, there are two philosophies at play here. One philosophy (what I call the “old school” philosophy :P) says you should keep the weight back and don’t drift. The other philosophy says you should get the hips going sooner and faster as this is where all momentum built up during the delivery originates and doing so helps with your timing.[/quote]

I know, I know: I’m coming from the “Bill Thurston” school of pitching. But I think you’re right, Roger, on the lower body strength. I see that a lot with the kids that I work with. Body weight squats, walking body weight lunges, and more explosive tuck jumps can help improve strength in this region.


#16

I have my players do walking lunges (with shoulder twist for flexibility) as part of our warm-ups. But what are “explosive tuck jumps”?


#17

I’m not sure what point your replying to here nor which videos you’re referring to you. The videos of you?

I don’t agree that the stride should be some percentage of your height. Instead, I agree with Tom House on this one. He says your stride should be as long as your functional strength and flexibility allow while still being able to maintain posture and balance and getting good hip rotation. Nolan Ryan’s stride was longer than his height.


#18

Very true, I am not dissagreeing with you just putting in my 2 cents. You are very right, and what works for me may not work for everyone else. Yes the videos of me. There is that K-ball video and if you pause around 2 sec where my arm is compleatly extended you can see how I tuck my glove. And on the one video you can see how my leg lift is. Thats all. No the whole motion of me just the leg lift is what I filmed that for.


#19

[quote=“WhiteSox101”]Well your stride should only be 2/3 of your height…[/quote]That would be 66% of your height. I’ve seen virtually no pitching “authority” or “guru” state this as a goal for stride length. Maybe Chris would agree but not too many others. Although there’s no real agreement on this, Glenn Fleisig of ASMI recommends 78 - 88 %. Others will recommend 80 - 90%. 66% is far too low. Here’s Fleisig’s quote:


#20

Wow that’s a lot of feedback! I will try to adress the issues one by one:

My background
First of all, baseball over here isn’t the same as baseball in the US. There is no professional baseball in the Netherlands and it’s not really a big sport over here although our national team is pretty decent in games against Cuba, Taiwan etc. I study in university but there are no university teams here. The sport is played as a (serious) hobby. I used to play a couple of years when I was a kid (8-12yrs), I used to pitch as well but can’t recall any special exercises or drills. I started playing again two years ago when I met some guys who were interested in the sport and we started playing in the park. Now we have our own club with students as members. I am now 28 years old so probably to old to get to the highest level but I just try to be the best pitcher in the league I will be playing in next season, starting in April. I just love throwing and hitting spots. This will be my first season since I was a kid. I weigh 203 lbs and I am 6.3 feet tall.

Self tought mechanics
I was influenced by The Pitching Edge and Bill Thurston’s video’s as posted by Steven on his blog. You can’t buy any pitching books here, have to get them shipped from the US. I thought myself by looking at myself in the reflection of a couple of windows while I was trying to reach certain parts of the pitching cycle such as the flex-T position or getting my knee up to my belly button. When I find something I believe will work for me I practice that part every day just in my room, between study till it gets automatic and then I use it on the field and see if it makes a difference. I also videotape myself and analyse them on my PC an throw against a wall. I try to keep things as simple as possible, that’s why I pitch from the fixed position for instance. I also work at no more than 1 or 2 things at a time. For example: if I am trying to learn a change-up I will not work on improving my mechanics at the same time. The hard part is being patient (for instance working on proper mechanics/fastball first before developing a curveball) and watching your own pitch counts.

stride lenght
It’s funny because I always thought my stride was too short. I tried extending it but that didn’t feel right. The stride lenght you see in the video is the lenght I am most comfortable with.

pushing off the rubber
I tried actively pushing off the rubber before but it disturbed the way I am building up speed (forces) to release the ball. When I do push off I suddenly get a “kick” from pushing which is out of sync with the rest of my movement/mechanics. As a consequence I lose control.

bracing front leg
I will defenitaly work on this through stenght training and maybe also pointing the toes of my front foot more in, as suggested by Bill Thurston’s video.

hip-shoulder seperation
Thanks Roger, I understand that this part is important but I never really understood it. I am also a bit confused by (5) and (6) in your post. I always understood that good shoulder-hip seperation ment first rotating hips and start rotating shoulders when hips are already nearly fully rotated. Is this what you mean? To me, what you say in (5) and (6) seam to be in contradiction with each other.

getting the hips going sooner and opening front foot at the last moment
I will experiment with this to see what works for me.

use glove as protection against line-drives
I will pay attention to this, thanks.

Thanks for the video WhiteSox101, it is always nice to see how other pitchers do it.