I’ve made books full of comments to you about this, I think most important, I think Paul describes a technique which “some” pitchers use to develop higher velocity, I think your moving away from the technique as “the culprit” shows honest evolution.
Timing has always been a key factor…particularly for guys who throw at the highest velo’s and being faulty there is a road to injury.
I of course disagree that it necessarily needs “fixing”…but will concede that for pitchers that I will touch (Read that as more than likely HS guys…maybe some college players 1st and 2nd year), it IS important that if they throw at a above average velocity…to pay particular attention to timing and teaching the ability to “refocus” as the player when timing goes off (How do I re-sync timing on the bump?).
Being that hundreds of pitchers throw with highest velocity and maintain alignment of their Humerus with their shoulders (acromial Line), shows what Dr.Marshall has claimed all along, that using this very destructive mechanic is unnecessary at any height of the elbow at glove side foot plant.
I wonder why people think that lengthening ( only micro-inches) the Serratus anterior muscle the antagonist of the Rhomboids that help contract the Humerus backwards through the scapula has any positive flexion properties that could help, remember the Serratus anterior is an isometricly contractive muscle as Dr.Marshall points out.
He says this action has little to do with MCL(UCL) degradation but is a shoulder Killer! The action that destroys the MCL is being late and pronated at foot strike that later produces a hard bounce of the forearm to gain rotational full length of the Humerus outwardly.
Let’s hope as Chris goes into this subject he gives us all the kinematics applied anatomy that is used with Nyman’s preferred anecdotal observations and his own preferred anecdotal observations.
I really love (not) it when 2 people with no credentials on this subject go at it about this destructive mechanic. Maybe even Paul will join in but I doubt it being that O’Leary has mimicked him in expertise, experience, web marketing and anecdotal approach to become some of the top experts in this field because, they do read or research as they call it.
Let the guessing begin!
PS- “Nolan Ryan, and other durable pitchers did” Lets not use someone who ended his career with a catastrophic injury as durable in that he also was on the DL often during his career.
Nice article Chris, Dr.Marshall has taught you well.
"PS- “Nolan Ryan, and other durable pitchers did” Lets not use someone who ended his career with a catastrophic injury as durable in that he also was on the DL often during his career. "
Did you seriously just say that you don’t think Nolan Ryan was a durable pitcher!? The man pitched 5386 innings in the major leagues over a 27 year career that lasted until he was 46 years old! In today’s game, 250 innings will likely lead the league. At that rate, it would take a pitcher 22 years to surpass Ryan’s career innings total. Also, what, exactly, is your definition of being on the DL often? In 1967, while still in the minor leagues, he injured his elbow while trying to return too quickly to pitching after a stint in the army reserve. Then, in 1975, he had bone chips removed from his elbow during the offseason. In 1986, he partially tore his UCL, and missed some time, before returning and pitching very well to help the Astros to the NL West title. Finally, his UCL ruptured during his last major league game in 1993. So, basically, his teams worked him like a rented mule, and he would get hurt about once a decade. None of us on here will ever know fur sure what the cause of his UCL issues was. It could have been frayed as early as his first injury in 1967. Or, just maybe, it could have been from throwing 150 plus pitches in game after game, year after year, most of them above 95 miles per hour. What I do know is that only a handful of people in history have ever thrown as many pitches as him. Let’s be real here, Nolan Ryan was one of the most durable pitchers in baseball history.
The micro tearing of his MCL is definitely known! The scientific discovery is there! The fix is there for all to use if they wish to.
You may not believe it but it’s there and explained why a long time ago, it’s called “late forearm turnover” causing a rushed bounce back of the forearm (Valgus over stress). It’s as plain as day to some.
I can tell you that the many times I bought tickets to see him perform, only to learn he was being held back 2 or 3 more days to let his injured arm recover. He was in a state of continual inflammation from his mal-mechanics that could have been slightly changed to allow him to perform injury free and train “sport specifically” (not generally as he did and all do today) to withstand the tremendous stress that a paramount fast twitcher produces. I believe the fix would have reduced his tendency to walk batters also.
I was not putting him down as you took it, I was talking pure mechanics and why these guys pathologically fail. He produced the same injury all this argument is about and should not be titled as one who did not produce it.
I would like to ask Mr. O’Leary what his opinion is on the many pitchers who demonstrate what he would consider to be excellent mechanics, but suffered serious injuries regardless. A recent example would be Roy Halladay, who has what would seem to be “O’Leary approved” mechanics, but recently underwent shoulder surgery. David Price is another example, and he’s on the DL with a shoulder injury described as a triceps strain. As a Twins fan, I can name a couple of guys- Brad Radke and Jesse Crain, neither of whom threw with anything close to anyone’s definition of the “inverted w,” but both of whom suffered labrum tears in their shoulders. In addition, Tommy John himself had nothing “inverted” about his arm action at all, and was a finesse pitching lefty, and of course, he tore his UCL. I know the O’Leary and Nyman definitions of the inverted W, and I’m familiar with what Chris calls a timing problem, and one thing I’ve taken to doing is to watch pitchers on the MLB network, using the frame by frame function. The more I watch, the more I agree with Paul Nyman’s assertion that “there is no such thing as good pitching mechanics.” I’m actually not trying to argue anything here, I would just like to hear Chris’s take. I just like to learn, and find the biomechanics of throwing to be fascinating.
Not quite true. For number of years it was O’Leary’s contention that the inverted W itself would cause him problems as evidenced by the number of players that he showed who demonstrated “what he called or viewed” as the inverted W. His timing contention is relatively new but equally fallacious.
From the biomechanics and physiology associated with the arms external rotation numerous studies have demonstrated that the greater stress on the elbow occurs just prior to achieving maximum external rotation. It doesn’t matter whether the arm is in the high cock position or whether the arm is coming up from an inverted forearm position (inverted W if you will), maximum stress on the elbow (UCL) occurs just prior to maximum external rotation.
What O’Leary attempts to demonstrate in his “inverted W problem pitchers” is nothing more than bleeding off of rotational momentum i.e. hips are open to early oh what some might consider “rushing”. This is not an inverted W issue it simply an issue how the player learn how to throw the baseball. Opening too soon has the potential to bleed off or lose rotational momentum.
Hard throwing pitchers who demonstrate the inverted W and by inverted W not talking about elevating the elbow above the shoulders. Although I did try to dispel the myth that elevating the elbow above the shoulders was a guaranteed injury issue i.e. physiologically the scapula can elevate and therefore maintain the integrity of the shoulder joint.
What I said in my series on the inverted W and are repeated here again is that one of the reasons why inverted W pitchers can throw so hard is the quickness of arm action i.e. the development of momentum and because of this momentum in the arm moving rapidly creates the development stored elastic energy in the tissues which is vitally important for throwing a baseball. Which also ties into the whole argument regarding pronation which I will discuss more thoroughly in part three of my pronation series on baseballthinktank.com (I apologize that I just haven’t had time to finish part three and part four of this series).
I will at some point time create a part five to the inverted W what I will explain that the problem that O’Leary thinks he has found with the inverted W is really not a problem with the inverted W it simply a motor learning problem i.e. this is how the player has learned how to throw the baseball. No once taught the player to use the inverted W.
The other problem with O’Leary’s arguments is that players who exhibit the inverted W or should I say the combination of throwing the ball starting with the forearm in the inverted position and then going to a scapula load position and unloading the scapula are typically pitchers who exhibit above average velocity.
What O’Leary refuses to accept or understand is a simple rule of the universe i.e. you can’t get something for nothing. If you want to throw hard there certain things you have to do (subject your body two) in our to throw hard. Unfortunately throwing hard has its consequences the primary one being potential for injury.
The other point that O’Leary conveniently ignores is that there are many other pitchers who do not exhibit what would be called inverted W who also suffer injuries. Possibly the simple relationship is that if you try to throw above 85 mi./h each mile above 85 mph increases the probability of injury in a nonlinear fashion i.e. each mile-per-hour doubles the chance of potential for injury during the course of the player’s career.
What mitigates this is simply how efficient the players mechanics are i.e. their ability to generate and harvest momentum along with their physical conditioning (physically able to withstand the rigors of throwing hard0.
if you take the time to read some of the studies AND have any understanding of scientific method you can appreciate the following from one of O’Leary’s “key” studies in refuting the inverted W or should I say claiming that the inverted W causes timing problems:
[quote]“All these measures primarily occur during the stride phase of the pitching cycle,” Dr. LaBella explained, “which begins at the top of the leg lift and ends with the planting of the heel. The pain group had greater internal shoulder rotation at the initiation of external rotation in the stride.
“The pain group also had lower shoulder elevation at the initiation of elbow extension in stride. This occurs as the pitcher is separating his hands to remove the ball from the glove. Lastly, the pain group had lower average shoulder elevation from the start of the pitching cycle to the time of maximum shoulder elevation,” she explained.
Problems and potential
Dr. LaBella noted that the number of pitchers reporting pain in this study was unexpectedly small, which limited the researchers’ ability to analyze more than three kinematic variables. A larger study would be needed to examine additional kinematic variables.
Other limitations included the self-reporting of pitch counts and the fact that anthropometric and motion data were collected only at the beginning and may have changed over the study period. [/quote]
Of particular interest (to me):
[quote]The pain group also had lower shoulder elevation at the initiation of elbow extension in stride. This occurs as the pitcher is separating his hands to remove the ball from the glove. Lastly, the pain group had lower average shoulder elevation from the start of the pitching cycle to the time of maximum shoulder elevation,” she explained.[/quote]
How does this “square” with O’Leary’s claim of high elbow causing problems??
Which is why a guy like Reyes is particularly interesting…if you actually READ his player history (And I encourage everyone who thinks Prior has bad mechs to just take the time and understand the player), you find that he is a guy with a very small frame who used scap loading with the inverted w effect in order to make the bigs…he’s ALWAYS been a sore arm and finally his utilization of that technique brought failure…but Reyes?..he got what he wanted and that was to play in the bigs. What I think it shows is diametrically opposite of Chris’ constant encouragement to “copy” the mechs of The Great Greg or Nolan Ryan…oh sure Reyes could have thrown slower with a more efficient (To him) mech and not made his dream (Chris you seem to have big league contacts…what are the chances of his body type, in the mid-80’s making the show?).
Paul’s observation there is the truth…simple as that.
I’ve never said anything public about Halladay. However, he does two things that are of concern. First, he shows the ball to center field. Second, he pulls hard with his glove side elbow. Both of those things create a timing problem.
With respect to Price, I haven’t seen any video of him, but the stills I have seen look good. However, that only means so much. A triceps strain isn’t that big of a deal, generally.
Which makes the case, as I have said for years, that the biggest issue is timing, not one arm action, although arm action can hurt timing.
Pitchers get hurt for reasons other than mechanics. For instance, you could argue that the slider causes elbow problems.