[quote=“dusty delso”]if you think keep your arm loose and the elbow flexed, the bones and connective tissue should provide enough support to thow effectively. i have better luck having pitchers think this than i do when they are trying to muscle the ball. i have some slow motion footage of clemens and mariano rivera and their arms just flop after they throw the ball.
may not be what you actually do but the concept works for me.[/quote]
There is a certain tension built up in the arm simply through the act of gripping a baseball. The rag loose feeling is simply the arm in a relaxed state; this is not to say there is no tension. If there were no tension at some point in the motion, the ball would drop out of your hand at that time. The fingers are connected to the forearm, which is connected to the elbow/upper arm/shoulder group.
Nothing happens in a vacuum, and that includes muscles and muscle groups. Tension in the fingers translates to tension in the entire arm and shoulders. The best pitchers minimize this tension to the point where it is only enough to hold on to a 5 oz. ball, and then allow the naturally relaxed state of the muscles to transfer the energy (built up in the pitching sequence) to the ball near release. At that point, with the exception of the change-up, some force is applied to the ball again by the fingers to impart spin (backspin on a fastball, topspin on a curve, sidespin on a slider, etc … or no spin in the case of a knuckler) for a split second. It is my layman’s belief that it is this last bit of “oomph” applied to the ball that leads to most pitching injuries as it places an incredible amount of stress on the soft tissues at a point of highest applied-force.
Anyway, I understand what both sides are saying, and I think both are right. If you’re doing it right, the arm will “feel” rag loose, regardless of what science or reason may tell us to the contrary.