Any coaches ever had a pitcher with similar situation?


#1

my legs are a medical student’s delight…

im 26 yrs old, but i’ve already had 5 major surgeries on my left femur between 2004-2008.

So in chronological order:
1995 - pain in left hip, Xray reveals Legg-Calve-Perthe’s Disease damage to hip joint. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legg–Calvé–Perthes_syndrome)
Placed on crutches till 1997.

1997 - 2002 - return to active sports despite discomfort in hip.

2002 - pain in hip returns, accompanied by right knee, ankle, and shoulder pain, lower back pain due to prolonged limping due to shorter left leg (2 inches). Mild scoliosis.

early 2004 - Left femur surgically fractured and extended in 3 surgeries. (www.fitbone.com) placed on crutches till late 2005.

2006 - Fitbone implanted surgically removed. Resumes active sports gradually.

2008 - hip pain becomes unbearable. a Depuy ASR implant replaces the damaged natural hip in november 2008. (http://www.surfacehippy.info/asrhip.php)

my question is this… my legs are finally strong enough to withstand full contact sports. but i’ve lost a lot of the natural coordination after spending 4 of the past 13 years on crutches and the past 5 years constantly rehabbing.

are there any pitching drills that someone can introduce me to help my legs relearn natural throwing motions? I’ve been told that when i throw right handed i still look like i’m trying not to hurt my left leg out of a habit. But nobody really knows how to help me unlearn this 13 year old habit.


#2

Wow. You’ve sure faced a rough battle. I admire your persistence in returning to active sports.

I definitely don’t have experience working with someone in your situation. But I’ll make a couple suggestions for you to consider. First, I would suggest doing all of your work on flat ground until you’ve gotten comfortable with your delivery again. Second, the towel drill might be a drill that would allow you to practice your mechanics and get in lots of reps of your delivery without trashing your arm.

One question, it sound like pitching with one hand is more problematic than pitching with the other so, if that’s true, then why not just stick with the hand that causes the least issues? I know switch-pitching is rare and cool and all of that. But your needs seem to outweigh that. Not trying to pass judgement here - I ain’t in your shoes. Just trying to understand your situation and where you’re coming from.


#3

thanks for the feedback… i’ll try the towel drill part…

but the arm is not the main problem here…

my ambidexterity in sports has been around in other forms already since young… basketball wise, left handed dribbling and shooting, both handed passing (either hand) and post moves…
volleyball wise serving with either arm, spiking lefty, blocking righty. Cue sports both handed. the list goes on. I dont have a significant advantage on either side.

so the switch pitching thing was a natural move. I started doing it coz i got more movement lefty, and much more velocity righty (coz the right leg is stronger).

i stopped basketball coz i cant really jump so soon after surgery… and after spending so much time walking on my arms on crutches, my shoulders are also more durable and stronger than usual people it seems.
Prior to the surgery, almost daily practices of 50-100 pitches per side seemed fairly normal…

till after the surgery last november… i stopped walking for a month or two before getting back to baseball… then i realized i cant rotate my left hip properly… ie my left foot’s toes have trouble turning outwards counterclockwise towards home plate so my hips don’t rotate completely.

as the hip settles into the acetabulum, the rotation seems to be getting better but the 2 months of not walking seems to be slowing that relearning process. Needless to say after a huge surgery, the entire joint is stiff and inflexible, which might be part of the of cause of all that compensation…

I’ll try to take some videos soon…

once again, thanks for your advice… can u tell me more about the towel drill? doesnt really exist in asia… dont see many people do it… or even talk about it


#4

to more accurately answer ur qn…

i have been advised by my surgeon to choose baseball over basketball to preserve the implant by running less as a pitcher… but he also emphasized that its very good to continue the switch pitching for symmetry’s sake considering my past back issues.

Since i’ve started ambi pitching, he has also noticed symmetrical balancing out of my posture and elimination of habitual limping.

apart from those medical reasons, i simply fair better pitching to righties as a righty and lefties as a lefty. Not to mention the fact that i can throw more pitches in a game with both arms combined which helps the fact that my team has very few relievers.

hope that kinda answers ur headscratchers for now…


#5

I wasn’t really referring to your arms - just to one side vs. the other side. Maybe the lack of hip rotation on one side means you’re better off pitcher one way or the other. But you know your body the best.

Regarding the towel drill, try searching on this site for “towel drill” in posts by me. When I get more time, I’ll try to find one or type up a description.


#6

the hip can rotate… when i manipulate it manually or think about it consciously … but as that happens, i take my mind off other aspects of the delivery and control suffers.

so i want to relearn it the way i used to before the surgery
except that before surgery i pitched with pain…
now there’s no pain, just … my leg doesnt know how to rotate anymore

its like learning how to walk all over again…