Arm Position at Front Foot Strike


#1

I’ve noticed that my son (15 yo) has his arm much less “cocked” when his front foot plants than pretty much every MLB pitcher for whom I’ve ever seen slow-mo video. Their arms are usually almost completely “cocked” at that point, with their forearm virtually perpendicular to the ground and their hand right next to their ear (approximately). When my son’s front foot plants, his forearm is parallel to the ground, and it only comes up to the “cocked” position after footstrike. Is that incorrect? Does it pose an injury risk? Is it robbing him of some velocity? I’m going to try attaching a screen shot from a slow-mo video of my son right at the point when his front foot plants, and a picture of David Price at footstrike as a comparison.


#2

For some reason the only picture that posted was the Price one. Here is the one of my son.


#3

I wouldn’t know sorry , but if anyone can see if I have something wrong I’ll appreciate it


#4

Fernandez at front foot strike


#5

look syndergaard too


#6

actually many pros do that but there are guys who say that this is more stressful to the arm. basically the Arm is in IR and to throw it has to get to ER. the theory is that if your arm is still IRed it Needs to ER very dynamically which is supposed to cause more stress.

however they Jury on that is still out. there are a few studies which suggest that this is tougher on the arm but there are also studies which say it doesn’t matter.

thus I can’t really tell you what is true.


#7

I understand all of that but throwing hard I have come to learn is in the arm, not the legs or the body ,just look at Yordano Ventura his arm is a whip


#8

You can’t say throwing hard is in one or the other. Throwing hard requires high arm speed, a strong lower half to propel you down the mound, and the ability to separate the two halves and then release that stored energy in controlled manner and in shortest possible amount of time.


#9

Thanks for the responses. My main concern is the injury risk - although it seems like having your arm “cocked” at front foot strike would help with both velocity and accuracy. My son tends to miss high and arm-side. He also consistently releases the ball too “early” (close to his head instead of out front, by his plant foot). I can imagine how having a “late” arm action might be associated with one or both of these problems.

If this is something that should be fixed, does anyone have advice on drills or workouts to address this?


#10

According to Chris O’Leary, this is “Flat Arm Syndrome” and it creates a “timing problem” that increases the risk of injury. Go to his website here and here and read about it and make up your own mind. The photo below pretty much captures what O’Leary is talking about, comparing the arm positions of Seaver and Ryan at foot plant to the arm position of Fernandez (TJ at 21 years of age) at foot plant.


#11

Southpaw - Thanks a lot for the referral to O’Leary’s articles. Lots of great info in there. I think my son’s timing problem - if he has one - is a result of him dropping his arm all the way down by his right (drive leg) knee and then letting it hang there for a split second before starting the throwing motion. It seems to me that if he either didn’t drop his arm down so far, or started his throwing motion earlier (didn’t let the arm hang down at all), maybe that would give the arm time to get up to a fully “cocked” position by the time his front foot plants. Here is a slow-mo video I posted a few months ago of him throwing a couple of pitches (not very good quality, I’m afraid). The second pitch might be the better one, because the angle shows his foot plant a little better than on the first pitch. I’d love to get your thoughts (or anyone else’s) on whether I should be worried about the “Flat Arm Syndrome” based on that video. Thanks.


#12

He also has a rather short stride, doesn’t he? if his stride is longer he has more time to get his arm up with the same Hand break. the Hand break and arm pendulum tempo has to be synced with the lower Body. so either stride longer (or slower) or break the Hands earlier or move the arm quicker.


#13

Dominik - Yes, his stride is pretty short. That video is a few months old, and we’ve actually been working on lengthening his stride. But, he’s also been told he needs to speed up his lower half - both to generate more velocity and also just to be quicker to the plate (to control the running game). So, lengthening AND speeding up his stride may wind up being kind of a wash in terms of syncing his upper and lower halves.

The other issue with his arm path is that he also plays 3B - and may actually prefer 3B to pitcher. He uses the same full arm action (dropping the ball all the way down by his right knee) when he plays 3B, and several coaches have already told him he needs to develop a much quicker, shorter arm action if he wants to play 3B in college. I’m just wondering if he would be better off overall (for both positions) if he shortened up his pitching arm action also, so that it wouldn’t be so drastically different than his 3B arm action?


#14

[quote=“Brenkj, post:11, topic:19693”]
whether I should be worried about the “Flat Arm Syndrome” based on that video.[/quote]
If O’Leary is correct, and if your son is flat-armed at foot-plant, yes. However, I am not clear on precisely when O’Leary’s “foot-plant” occurs: at the instant any part of the foot touches the ground?; or, when the foot is firmly planted on the ground? If the former, your son appears to be flat-armed at foot-plant. If the latter, however, your son appears to be less flat-armed at foot-plant, as shown in screen grab below. He appears to be half way between flat-armed and cocked.


#15

Southpaw - that’s a great point. I watched the video again with that in mind and it does look like his arm is in a decent position once his foot is firmly planted on the mound. Plus, he has been working on increasing his stride length since that video was taken a few months ago, so that should help a bit. I’ll take some more slow-mo video next time he throws a bullpen and post it in the Video Analysis forum to get everyone’s thoughts on whether he’s “on time”.

Thanks.


#16

It looks to me like his stride is too far open. His plant foot is on the third base side of the rubber but his stride foot lands about the middle of the rubber. I’m not sure what kind of issue this poses if anything at all just speaking something I saw.


#17

You have to be careful about still frame shots and where arm positions are… I agree with southpaw that he’s a bit more cocked than flat arm at foot strike… Also comparing to positions of guys like Ryan is difficult as his motion is different, he’s an up,down and out guy (with momentum) which creates more time for his arm to be in position. Be wary more about how his arm gets there, down up and around or straight up (like an infielder). But don’t have him throw more like an infielder if he wants to pitch, that will surely mess him up. (unless he wants to be a Kieth Folk change-up guy)

I can only tell you what I have experience with, and not through tons of study of mechanics… But the bottom half is for timing and separation, it’s in the top half that speed comes from (hips through wrist), the top half is where you speed up to create velocity and that’s not during break and coming around, it’s after you’ve cocked the arm and prepare to throw, you don’t want to speed up the bottom half to compensate for the top. I truly believe having strong legs is for support and storing energy, you’re not jumping from the rubber to create more speed.

The only things in his delivery that seem off to me are his stride and his trunk, the stride may be too short and not enough forward lean creating that other separation and arm lag.

Most of the time if it feels right, it is, if he feels awkward during delivery, it’s probably off.


#18

Thanks dfboiler. After I started this topic, I went out and took some more slow-mo video of him (the video in this thread is about 6 months old), and posted it as another topic in the Video Analysis category. He’s striding out further now, but he has also sped up his lower half (to try and control the running game), so the end result, I think, is that the arm actually lags a little more now than in this older video, despite the longer stride. Either way, I’d be interested to get your thoughts on that newer video if you’re so inclined.

Thanks.


#19

Good evening! If you take a look at any of the greats with a long injury free career you will find that their arm is totally up at about a 90 degree angle at foot strike with the ball pointed towards 3B for a righty. Take a look at the mechanics of Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens in particular. Jake Arrieta is one of the better ones mechanically today. I did an analysis of his mechanics you can check it out here. Thanks!

https://nexgenbaseball.com/2017/01/20/jake-arrieta-pitching-mechanics/


#20

Good article…