Backward Chaining

Here are some exercises we do to improve control and mechanics:

Backwards Chaining Pitching Drills

Summary:
Backward chaining is a method used to help athletes improve by teaching a movement from the finish instead of the start. In pitching, backward chaining begins at release with the upper body and works its way to the lower body. Ron Wolforth, a well-known pitching instructor, has made a living using this method of teaching. In 2003, Alan Reed, created a study using backwards chaining, compared to the traditional teaching method. According to his work, he found the method to be extremely effective in teaching pitchers to be successful. If you are interested, check out his work on the Internet:

www.emporia.edu/hper/MSprojects/2002/regier/read/read.ppt

Objective:
To teach effective throwing techniques from release to the start of the pitching motion.

Drills:

Stage #1 Elbow Flexion- Elbow ExtensionT
he pitcher starts in a post stride position. The post-stride position occurs when the pitcher has successfully landed their plant foot after the leg kick. The pitcher’s foot should be slightly closed pointed at the pitching arm’s batter’s box. Their glove arm should be extended and pointed at the target. The pitcher’s forearm should be resting against their bicep, with the ball close to their ear. The pitcher will hold the ball very similar to a shot putter about ready to throw. When the pitcher is ready, they will forcefully pull their glove arm in a straight-line toward their hip. As this occurs, the pitcher will extend the pitching elbow and release the ball toward the target.

Stage #2 Elbow Extension- Elbow Flexion- Elbow Extension
The pitcher starts in a post stride position. The post-stride position occurs when the pitcher has successfully landed their plant foot after the leg kick. The pitcher’s foot should be slightly closed pointed at the pitching arm’s batter’s box. The pitcher’s glove arm and throwing arm will be completely extended. The pitcher’s glove will point at the target and their throwing arm will point toward second base. The pitcher’s glove should be elevated above the ball in the pitcher’s throwing arm. When the pitcher is ready, they will forcefully pull their glove arm in a straight-line toward their hip. During the straight-line pull, the pitcher will go from extension through flexion and release the ball. The flexion stage the pitcher moves through should resemble exercises done in Stage #1.

Stage #3 Hand Drop- Elbow Extension- Elbow Flexion- Elbow Extension

The pitcher starts in a “sit position” with their glove leg slightly off the ground. The “sit position” occurs after the leg kick, when the glove leg is coming down. The glove leg should be fully extended, with the pitching leg having exaggerated leg bend. The pitcher should place the glove, with the throwing hand inside, at letter height. The pitcher will swing the extended glove leg into foot plant toward the target. The pitcher’s foot should be slightly closed pointed at the pitching arm’s batter’s box. As the leg swings toward the target, the pitcher will drop their pitching hand out of the glove. The pitching hand, with the ball in it, will go down and then up. The glove hand will go the opposite direction. Instead of going down, the pitcher’s glove hand will go up and then move downward. The pitcher will go through Stage #2 and Stage #1 before release.

Stage #4 Leg Kick- Hand Drop- Elbow Extension- Elbow Flexion- Elbow Extension
The pitcher will start from the stretch position with both feet together and the pitching hand inside the glove. To generate forward momentum, the pitcher will lift the glove leg as high as possible, keeping their head over the pitching leg. As the leg lift comes down, the pitcher will bend the rear leg and try to straighten the glove leg before it goes forward. Stage #3 starts in this position. The pitcher should place the glove, with the throwing hand inside, at letter height. The pitcher will swing the extended glove leg into foot plant. With the momentum generated during the leg kick, the pitcher should try to forcefully swing the leg open. The pitcher’s foot should be slightly closed pointed at the pitching arm’s batter’s box. As the leg powerfully swings toward the target, the pitcher will drop their pitching hand out of the glove. The pitching hand, with the ball in it, will go down and then up. The glove hand will go the opposite direction. Instead of going down, the pitcher’s glove hand will go up and then move downward. During this drill, the pitcher will go through Stage #3, Stage #2, and Stage #1 before release.

Stage #5 Foot Pivot-Leg Kick-Hand Drop- Elbow Extension- Elbow Flexion- Elbow Extension
This is the last stage of the drill sequence, putting together all the movements a pitcher makes through their delivery. The pitcher will start facing the target in the windup position. To begin, the pitcher will take a short straight-line step backwards to generate force going towards the plate. The pitcher will pivot their pitching foot, making it perpendicular to the target. The pitcher’s glove leg will be lifted to maximum height. As the glove leg travels down, it becomes extended. At full extension, the pitcher will vigorously swing it toward the target. The pitcher’s movements will travel through Stage #4, Stage #3, Stage #2, and Stage #1.

Sounds interesting.