Calling all mech gurus .. Take a look (video included)


#1

Hi all,
Like most everyone else here, I’m aiming to improve my delivery. I’ve listened to many coaches and agreed with few … mostly as a result of the fact that what I see on ESPN varies so much from common ideas and “tips.” I just found this site today, read plenty on this board, and was inspired to run out today and make some videos (yes, sadly without a catcher). Sorry about the quality, my pre-21st century video cam leaves me no choice but to record the TV with a digital camera in order to get this online. Videos are at a reduced speed … thankfully :lol:
All and any opinions welcome!
http://rapidshare.de/files/28466526/MVI_0004.avi.html
http://rapidshare.de/files/28466749/MVI_0003.avi.html


#2

you dont have a very big stride, could be because your not on a mound, and you also end up with your toe pointing towards home plate…jus a couple things, ill look a little more thoughorly later


#3

you need to open your hips before your shoulders, it looks like your hips stay closed forever, you need to get a longer stride length, open your hips before your shoulders, your arm action looks great, you clearly do the W motion very well, now you just have to get your lower body correct, dm59, roger, chris olearly, all give good advice, they’ll help more


#4

Thanks Tanner. Most of what you wrote I can definately see too … and it probably lingering muscle memory of drills rammed into my muscle memory by coaches and Tom House books. “HIGH ELBOWS, LAND CLOSED TO RESERVE ENERGY” BLAH BLAH BLAH.
I’ve always thought “W position”, ala Prior, is a huge mechanical flaw (too bad a past Coach of mine REALLY advocated it). I’ve really been consciously trying to get that out of my delivery. Below or even seems to be a far safer and more powerful position.
I just now found the link to Chris O’Leary’s website … glad to find out I’m not the only one who sees bringing elbows above the shoulder as a potentially shoulder ruining action. If I were you, Tanner, steer clear of that “W” arm-position stuff.
I do think the short stride you see in those vids are a product of not being on a mound (or not throwing right at game-like intensity). I’ve measured it before at about 80% of my height … about where I think you’d want it.
Definately looking forward to more responses!


#5

[quote=“countrypoet”]If I were you, Tanner, steer clear of that “W” arm-position stuff.[/quote]Countrypoet. Are you even clear on what the “W” position is? If you were, I doubt very much you’d be advising someone to not do what the vast majority of major league pitchers do. Now, I think you’re referring to what this board has come to call the “M” and other places call the “inverted W”. This is the arm action that many, especially Chris, believe to be harmful.

It’s all just theory and opinion though, as EVERYTHING on this forum is.

That being said, some people actually back up their statements with either video of pros, credible articles or references to people like Tom House, Paul Nyman, Dick Mills (yes, even he has some valid points), Glen Fleisig, etc.

Now, since you obviously think the W is bad (although I’m guessing you’re referring to the M), what arm action have you been TOLD is best? Also, what backup do the people who told you this provide for their stance?

There’s a lot of OPINION out there and fuzzy logic when it comes to baseball in general and pitching in specific. It’s hard to know who to believe.

On this board, I’d listen to really only 2 guys (other than myself, of course :smiley: ), and those would be Roger and Chinmusic, although old Chin hasn’t been posting much lately. Maybe you can coax him out. We’d all benefit from that.

Roger’s certified with the NPA, which is basically a Tom House driven set of mechanics. As for Chinmusic, I’m not sure his background but he seems to be quite knowledgeable with a well rounded exposure to pitching “ideas”. As for myself, I’m similar to Chin. Several years of daily study from as many angles as possible. I’m very familiar with Dick Mills and Paul Nyman, John Bagonzi and have even dove into the Mike Marshall world. I have also debated these issues at length with many very knowledgeable people. I also study pro videos, of which I have many, over and over and have done that for several years now.

I’d suggest that, before going too far with questions here, that you browse old threads for a while. Most things have been beaten to death already here. Once you’ve done that, then some discussion will be more effective for you because you’ll know the terminology and concepts.


#6

What’s with this Rapidshare site anyway. I’m not going to jump through the hoops they throw in front of you just to view these videos, I’m afriad. Sorry! :evil:


#7

Hi dm59, what’s is the “W” position and the “M” position? Do you have any photos of major leaguers doing it so I can take a look at what it looks like?

Thanks.


#8

KreGg
The M and W are variations on the same arm action theme. The W, or horizontal W, refers to the position of the arms when viewed from overhead, as they are at shoulder height. The M refers to an arm action which delays the backward rotation of the upper arm (humerus) in the shoulder socket (external rotation) such that the forearms point downward with the elbows raised usually above shoulder height. The M’s then rapidly externally rotate over the 270 deg (or thereabouts) and then on like everyone else to release. The W’s begin external rotation earlier. They BOTH go through the horizontal W position, it’s just how you get there and beyond that differs.

The common theme I mentioned is that there is a bend in the elbow and a “lift” on the way back, as opposed to “slingers” who keep the throwing arm straightened out and reach back and up at the top. They then transition into and through full external rotation (forearm laid back to horizontal as the shoulders have squared to the plate) in a different way. Both are legitimate arm action methods. The W’s (Clemens, Ryan) and M’s (Prior, Smoltz) are far more prevalent in the bigs. The slingers are there (Freddie Garcia) but not in the same numbers as the M’s and W’s.

Chris’ problem with the M’s is that the elbows are above the shoulders when external rotation happens. He believes this is not conducive to shoulder health but I’m not convinced that it’s a problem and there was a thread not too long ago that discussed this but I can’t remember which.

PM me with your email address and I’ll send you video of each.


#9

What are you talking about? Click the free download, it takes 30 seconds to a minute in line because it’s such a busy site, but has good download speeds, then type in the 3 letter code(they do this so people can’t have a bot download a ton of stuff, as a bot can’t type in those letters i don’t think), and that’s it.


#10

What are you talking about? Click the free download, it takes 30 seconds to a minute in line because it’s such a busy site, but has good download speeds, then type in the 3 letter code(they do this so people can’t have a bot download a ton of stuff, as a bot can’t type in those letters i don’t think), and that’s it.[/quote]

I agree with DM. If it’s more than a mouse click, it’s more hassle than it needs to be.


#11

dm59, thanks for replying. As for the confusing of “W” and “M” positions … I’m definately guilty. I suppose I haven’t read enough stuff that utilizes that specific terminology to realize how you, dm59, would interpret it. I was indeed talking about the “M” position, as you call it. The terms used in speaking on the subject of arm action is certainly not standardized in any kind of way (outside of the world of these books many ascribe too), therefore I think it’s fairly easy to get mixed up with regard to defining “M,” “W,” “inverted W,” etc, etc. I’ve heard coaches call the “W” position what what you call an “M,” visa verse and every whichaway around (yet ANOTHER reason why pictures and video do the BEST talking, in my opinion).

With regard to these questions … what I’ve been TOLD and what defense was used for those statements is pretty irrelevant, in my mind. As I’ve already stated, I’ve worked with quite a few of coaches from many levels. While their amount of “pitching guru stature” might vary from lifelong local sandlot dweller to renowned top collegiate coach to author on the subject, the fact remains that each of them “study” pitching deliveries and, like you say, have their own “fuzzy logic” and “opinion” … and despite my interest and willingness to learn, I dont feel I’ve reached my max ability. Thats really all that needs to be said about that.

But, I posted these videos in hopes that I’d catch a set of eyes connected to a brain that would form, again, THEIR OPINION and let me know about it so I can give the suggestion a shot. I hope that makes sense …


#12

If the rapidshare thing is inhibiting anyone who wants to from downloading … try this:



#13

Things I noticed:

(1) You have minimal movement - especially early in your delivery - which helps you stay balanced and be quick to the plate.

(2) You appear to stay balanced until late in your delivery.

(3) You appear to stay too upright through your delivery for my liking. This prevents you from getting your release point as close to home plate as possible.

(4) You don’t have a very high knee lift nor do you take your knee back very far. This limits the length of your stride.

(5) In order to lead with your hip, your torso leans back slightly which creates inappropriate head movement away from your target.

(6) Your stride doesn’t appear to be as long as it should be. (You look like a big guy.)

(7) At foot strike, your arms fail to get into an equal and opposite position at the proper time. Specifically, your glove side upper arm never gets to a point where both of your upper arms are aligned and pointing at the target at foot strike. They get there momentarily before foot strike but they need to be there later at foot strike. At foot strike, your glove-side elbow is behind you and your glove ends up to the side as well. This leads to timing problems as it opens the shoulders too early, messes up your balance, pulls you out of your stride too early, and prevents you from delaying shoulder rotation. In other words, it destroys the timing you need to have a nice long stride and to keep the shoulders closed longer.

(8) You don’t appear to have much delay between hip and shoulder rotation.

(9) Your shoulders are over-rotated at release.

(10) You fall off to the left slightly at the end of your delivery.

I would focus on two things.

First, a bigger knee lift will help you lengthen your stride. Make sure the hips get going sooner and/or faster so you don’t end up slower over-all to the plate.

The second thing is getting the arms to an equal and opposite position AT FOOT STRIKE. This means the forearm-to-upper arm angle is the same in each arm and the upper arms align with each other and with the target. Forearm positions can differ (e.g. one up one sideways, etc.). Do not change your throwing arm - make the fix in the glove arm. This should help give you the timing to keep the shoulders closed longer so you’re squared up at release. The glove should end up somewhere over the front foot. Leave it there. As the shoulders start to rotate, swivel it over so the pocket is facing your and firm up the glove arm. Then bring your chest to the glove. Try to keep the glove out and in front of your chest - not out in front but to the side. It doesn’t have to be perfectly centered but try to do so in your practice (i.e. over-exagerate it).


#14

YES! Now THAT is what I’m talking about!
Thanks, Roger!
I’ve read and reread what you wrote. And I’m really seeing alot of it … I specifically dig this comment:

In looking at the video, its clear my shoulders rotate early. I had thought that flying out action with my top half was just compensation for my unathletic hip rotation … however, point 7 in your list REALLY tells me something. Its pitch black outside where I am, but I just dry-threw a dozen or so in my living room with that in mind… I’m DEFINATLEY going to give that a shot.

I think what you say there at the end of your post about stride length helping hip rotation is definately true. That, with the front arm delaying the front side shoulder from rotating I THINK should result in a greater seperation between hip and shoulder rotation … that should all equal MORE VELO! YEAH!

Money, dude. Thanks for taking the time to think about and post all of that.

Don’t let Roger speak for all of you, fellas! After reading through a bunch of posts today I’m really looking forward to more comments for the board’s famous long-winded posters.


#15

One thing that jumps out at me is your follow through. You really have to emphasize throwing through the ball and reaching for that back pocket. Some backwards chaining would definitely help and breaking down your mechanics by going backwards can help you out a bit.


#16

And you expected anything less from Roger??? Nice work Rog.

I’d like to reinforce something Roger wrote. That being the lack of hip/shoulder separation. You’re bringing the hips and shoulders at the same time, almost no separation. This is a HUGE velocity robber. HUGE!!!

The question is “how do you do it right?”

There are those out there who say it’s a non-teach. I don’t agree, totally but I do agree that it can happen by simply focussing on delaying the shoulder turn for as long as you can. An aggressive sideways drive during the early part of the stride and good rotation late and into landing, not after, can result in good hip/shoulder separation but I believe the most effective is to, yes, delay shoulder rotation but also to have good intent to rotate the core assisted by effective leg action.

It’s this lower body action I believe you need to work on, beginning with a longer stride. Don’t just stride for the sake of getting your front foot out there though. It should happen as a result of a sideways drive toward the plate accompanied/fueled by the back leg extending and rotating. In your videos, at footplant, your back foot has just barely started to rotate and the heel has just come off the ground. Most pros have their foot completely rolled over onto the laces by this time.

Next is the torso flexion forward into the follow through, getting you completely off the back leg and over the front one. Check out video of pros and you’ll generally see the kind of finish you should strive for as a RESULT of the lower body drive into footplant, that stopping and the upper body coming forward while rotating. It’s like riding a bike and slamming on the front brakes. The bike stops but you don’t. You inherit the momentum. Similar for pitching. The front leg braces and stops the front hip while the rest keeps going.

As for the arms being equal and opposite at footplant, this is something Tom House has long recommended but, for the life of me, I can’t understand the importance of it. I just looked at several MLB pros and don’t see it happening. Some, yes. All, no. My own OPINION is that this is barking up the wrong tree. Very little benefit. There are many other things that give more bang for the buck. Sorry, Roger, I agree with most of what you say but this one seems a bit too theoretical to me, given what I see in videos of the pros. House pushes this, I know, but it just doesn’t resonate as something that is so vitally important, just like with the head moving off the target line a bit. These 2 things of House’s teachings don’t seem to be borne out by the pros. Too many examples of successful pitchers doing otherwise.

In short, Countrypoet, things look very smooth and really not bad. Just get that nice drive sideways longer, the hip/shoulder separation and flat back finish and you’ll see improvement. Oh, and the other stuff Roger mentioned also.


#17

KreGg
Did you get my latest PM? I’ve been having some trouble with this lately.


#18

Thanks, man!

[quote=“dm59”]I’d like to reinforce something Roger wrote. That being the lack of hip/shoulder separation. You’re bringing the hips and shoulders at the same time, almost no separation. This is a HUGE velocity robber. HUGE!!!

The question is “how do you do it right?”

There are those out there who say it’s a non-teach. I don’t agree, totally but I do agree that it can happen by simply focussing on delaying the shoulder turn for as long as you can. An aggressive sideways drive during the early part of the stride and good rotation late and into landing, not after, can result in good hip/shoulder separation but I believe the most effective is to, yes, delay shoulder rotation but also to have good intent to rotate the core assisted by effective leg action.

It’s this lower body action I believe you need to work on, beginning with a longer stride. Don’t just stride for the sake of getting your front foot out there though. It should happen as a result of a sideways drive toward the plate accompanied/fueled by the back leg extending and rotating. In your videos, at footplant, your back foot has just barely started to rotate and the heel has just come off the ground. Most pros have their foot completely rolled over onto the laces by this time.[/quote]
I agree with all of this. But I’d add that you can’t just arbitrarily stride longer or delay shoulder rotation unless the other parts of your body do their job to give you the timing and put your body in the position required to do these things. Or, you’ve got to learn to make some other change in order to accomodate the flaw(s). Lots of pros have done this (can you say “K-Rod”?).

The only thing I’d add here is to point out that “the front leg braces” doesn’t necessarily mean that it “straightens”. The front leg can firm up in a bent position and that’s what I prefer.

There are two aspects to the “equal and opposite arms” things. One is the balance issue and I don’t think anyone can argue that getting the arms into an equal and opposite position (as I defined it previously) won’t help with balance. But the second aspect is that of timing. I had a hard time understanding how equal and opposite arms helped with timing so I contacted the NPA and asked them. Even their answer wasn’t that great. It basically said that not getting the arms into equal and opposition position at foot strike usually resulted in the glove arm doing something that lead to timing problems. In other words, it resulted in some abbreviated arm movement that happened so quickly that it invited early rotation of the shoulders. This is not an absolute. But it is a common problem that I’ve witnessed many times. Getting into the equal and opposite position, you create the timing necessary to help keep the shoulder closed longer. So I’m buying into the equal and opposite arms thing more and more.


#19

I’ve heard you say that the upper arms must be equal and opposite and that the angle from the upper arm to the forearm must be the same on both sides. Now, one could say that the pros who don’t do this are simply compensating for poor mechanics because they’re great athletes. I’ve heard that a lot. I think that’s true to a point but I also think it’s a convenient retort to someone showing many examples of successful MLB pitchers who do not show the mechanical components that the “gurus” out there (Tom House, Dick Mills, etc.) say are “good mechanics”.

This is one of those things, I believe. House has always said this but I just don’t see it in the pros.

This really does depend on how you define “equal and opposite”. I’ve had this debate on another forum a year or two ago and I found that the definition got stretched to the point where you really couldn’t NOT be equal and opposite. No matter what position you looked at, someone said that it was.

Looking at Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson (2 NPA/Tom House guys) Roger Clemens, Mariano Rivera, etc., I see a throwing side forearm that is travelling upward and backward (external rotation) and a glove side that is doing various things, from being relatively straightened out (Randy) to tucked in, to shoulder height and horizontal. Variability really.

Roger, I’m going to send you a Word document later this evening with screen shots of these guys at footplant to illustrate what I’m seeing.

What I see is the throwing hand moving quite rapidly through some form of high cocked position and the glove side doing something less violent and dynamic with varying positions of upper arms to forearms.

My proposal is that this equal and opposite thing isn’t happening in the pros in any ubiquitous fashion and that there are a myriad of other things that are so much more important to focus on. This one’s a small issue with tenuous benefit and very difficult to find real examples of. Again, one can stretch the definition as far as possible to make it fit.


#20

DM,

I hear what you’re saying. And I certainly don’t want to accept some definition “equal and opposite” that isn’t very precise. But I think I disagree with your opinion on the importance of this issue. Since the emphasis here is on timing, I feel this is a very important issue.

But let’s talk in more generic terms. Would you agree that there are certain arm motions (particularly glove-side arm motions) that work against a pitcher? They might cause the pitcher to lose balance or the pitcher’s shoulders to open up too soon, etc. And would you agree that there are certain arm motions that don’t cause these kinds of problems? Assuming you can agree with these notions, how do you distinguish the good motions from the bad? What do the good have in common? What label do you apply to the common so that it can be referred to? I think part of what we’re dealing with here is just the fact that a name has been applied and this name may be defined in too restrictive of a manner. But the underlying intent is still valid.

I believe that the term “equal and opposite” describes one arm motion that does not cause problems. Are there others? Probably. And those would be acceptable as well. But I’m assuming House and the others at the NPA have seen this equal and opposite position as a commonality among the big league pitchers they’ve analyzed so they’ve settled on it. Remember when I asked them about this their answer didn’t really say equal and opposite was the best - they said that to do otherwise would lead to timing problems. This leaves open the possibility that there are other good arm positions and those may, in fact, be what you’re seeing in some of the pros. I’m open to other arm positions as being ok. But unless some more commonality can be identified and labeled so we can have a tangible target for pitchers to work towards, equal and opposite will have to do for me.

I look forward to seeing the pictures you’re going to send me although I bet that for every picture you send me of a pitcher not doing equal and opposite, I can send you a picture of a pitcher doing it. :wink: Tis the nature of this business.