Could flying open be a result of reverse-rotation?

my coach thinks that my flying open is a result of my reverse rotation. Here is what he wrote:

I have reviewed this video plus went back to look at your other videos from the past.
I think I see the what is going on which can be a simple thing to fix.

Because you have a high inside knee kick you cross the plain of the pitching rubber which creates a very aggressive coil. This creates the opposite reaction which is a very aggressive unwind of the coil. This opens the hips too soon and you fall off toward 3rd. The result is loss of velocity and possible miss of your target.

There are some drills that we can do to fix this.

The other challenge I see is arm slot. Your elbow at some point drops below the shoulder which will cause arm problems because you only use the small muscles.

Here’s my video in case you haven’t seen it:

What do you think about his observation???

Having an aggressive uncoil is not a problem unless you take too long getting into foot plant. In that case, you can get over-rotated at release and fall off to the side. My suggestion to you would be to start your hips forward a bit sooner and and faster to get into foot plant quicker. You might also start with your knees bent a bit more to create more motion forward and less motion down (you do drop quite a bit).

Regarding your arm slot, I don’t see a problem with it. You don’t seem to get much external rotation but I’d wait and see what increasing tempo and timing does to your arm action.

The camera is something like 15 frames per second, so it often doesn’t capture my arm at full external rotation. I do however have a still shot of my arm reaching full external rotation (laying back 180 degrees) if you want me to send it to you. I tried picking up the tempo once, but the relationship between my lower and upper body was still the same, just sped up. I still opened up too early.

Reverse-rotation will tend to lower your arm slot, not cause you to fly open.

Your flying open is more a function of your glove side arm action. You pull your glove in too soon.

Many pitchers reverse-rotate their hips but don’t fly open.

This indicates that your coach doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Your elbow level is fine.

It looked like you were pushing the ball a bit but I’ll take your word for it.

Then something else is the cause. I’ll agree with Chris’s comments about your glove arm. Ideally, your glove arm is in an opposite and equal position with your throwing arm at front foot plant. That gives your shoulders the timing to delay rotation until the hips have rotated. But, in your case, your glove arm has already vacated that position at foot plant and it even looks like your shoulders have rotated at foot plant. Furthermore, your glove ends up out to your side instead of turning over and stabilizing in front of your torso. All of these things lead to opening up early and falling off to the side. So, I think you should continue to increase your tempo and also work on your front side management to stabilize the glove in front. Getting into foot plant quicker will make it easier to be in the opposite and equal position at foot plant. (You only need to be there for a moment but the timing of it - at foot plant - is what’s important.)

[quote=“Roger”]
Then something else is the cause. I’ll agree with Chris’s comments about your glove arm. Ideally, your glove arm is in an opposite and equal position with your throwing arm at front foot plant. That gives your shoulders the timing to delay rotation until the hips have rotated. But, in your case, your glove arm has already vacated that position at foot plant and it even looks like your shoulders have rotated at foot plant. Furthermore, your glove ends up out to your side instead of turning over and stabilizing in front of your torso. All of these things lead to opening up early and falling off to the side. So, I think you should continue to increase your tempo and also work on your front side management to stabilize the glove in front. Getting into foot plant quicker will make it easier to be in the opposite and equal position at foot plant. (You only need to be there for a moment but the timing of it - at foot plant - is what’s important.)[/quote]

So my question is if there is any “trick” to help me keep my glove from opening up early. What should the glove arm motion look like, ideally? I know I’m flying open horizontally, should it be coming straight back into my body instead? Throwinched said something about imagining grabbing a pole coming out of his front foot or something, but he didn’t elaborate on this idea, do you have any similar tricks or ways of thinking about the front arm to make this easier

You say I kind of “drop” with my front foot rather than moving out horizontally as much. I move out horizontally, but my front foot is too high off the ground and I still need to get into plant which doesn’t give my upper half enough time to stay closed. Could this issue be solved by keeping my stride foot close to the ground as I stride out, to allow me to get into foot plant quicker?

Thanks for the help

I’m not convinced (video frame rate too low to really tell) that you have a problem with falling off to the side. That’s the result of rotation and many pros do what you’re doing. Opening early with the shoulders may be an issue, though. Two things I will say:

  1. Your front foot points to the target very early, possibly putting pressure on the hips and maybe shoulders to follow suit. Try leading with the side of that foot until you are just about to turn over to land.

  2. You “swing” the glove out and around. This swinging action may just be causing the shoulders to open early. Look at the video clips of the pros that you can find on this site and study their glove side. There’s more focus on the upper arm/elbow than there is on the glove itself.

The only trick I know is to get into foot plant quicker so that you’re not having to hold the glove arm up in front for an artifically long time. You’ve just got to try to keep the glove in front of you. You could use the towel drill to get in lots of reps to practice stabilizing the glove in front.

Ideally, once you extend the glove out front, it never comes back - at least, not before release of the ball. Th glove will turn over and your elbow will tuck down as your shoulders rotate. But the glove will stay out front and your torso will move to the glove. Look at some of the video clips on this site. Pick a point in the background and identify the furthest point forward the glove reaches. You will see that the glove never really moves back from that point prior to ball release.

The NPA recommends making the glove arm mirror the throwing arm. So, if the throwing arm extends straight back, the glove arm should extend straight forward. If the throwing arm hooks, then the glove arm should hook (as if grabbing a pole). If the throwing arm bends a certain amount, the glove arm should bend the same amount. One arm can be up and the other down - that’s ok. But the forearm-to-upper arm angles should be the same. This is the opposite and equal position which promotes both balance and proper timing by causing both arms to take the same amount of time to do their thing. If the glove arm is quicker than the throwing arm, you open up early.

Not “with your front foot”. Your total body drops quite a bit. Just watch your video and pay attention to the top of your head as you stride. I see a big drop. To me, this means that you must direct significant force downward to end that downward motion (lest you end up on the ground) while you are also directing force forward. Loering yoru center of gravity will help you direct more force forward. Furthermore, tall and lanky guys can often aid their balance and posture by lowering their center of gravity.

I’m not convinced that your upper half won’t have enough time to stay closed. Rather, it won’t have time to open up early - it will only have time to open up right on time.

BTW, I agree with DM in that I don’t see a big “falling off to the side” problem in your video. But I do see you opening up early.

Try just sticking out your glove and bringing your chest to the glove rather than trying to pull your glove into your chest.

One drill that helps keep your glove up in front of you and not falling off to the side is to try to release the ball as close to the glove as possible. In other words, at half speed or so, make sure you have the glove up in front of you and throw the ball with the release point as close to the glove as possible. Then as you speed up your tempo, a little at a time, allow the glove to ‘find’ a normal position at chest height or so, but [and this is critical] between your shoulders. Not off to the side. Not down. If you can accomplish this small but taxing modification it will assist in the timing and sequencing of shoulder rotation. In other words you’ll stay closed a little longer.

Remember, as Chris said, you move to the glove, not the glove to you.

Also, as Roger said, start with a lower center of gravity. Bend your knees and bend at the waist. NPA suggests " free throw knees and batting stance back.’ IOW, bend your knees like you’re shooting a free throw. Bend at the waist like you do in a batting stance. Together these two thoughts will assist you in finding a natural, lower body position. From this position you will be better able to create maximum forward momentum. It will also improve your timing and sequence since you’ve removed from the sequence, the initial dipping down.

Just some ideas to kick around!!

Cheers;

O

Ok first of all thank you for the great responses, I will need some time to soak all of this in. I had a pitching lesson today with my coach and a pitching instructor who pitched professionally for a couple years. The instructor and I only had 30 minutes together, so things felt kind of rushed, but here is what he said. Interestingly, he didn’t even notice my “flying open.” Rather, he focused almost entirely on my elbow position and arm slot, as well as my leg action.

First, we played catch, then he had me throw about 5 pitches from the stretch, just to watch me. Then he talked to me about how I was “throwing sidearm,” and proceeded to make submarine motions with his arm to show me what I was “doing.” He told me that my elbow was dipping too low for his taste, and that I need to get it up, and try to get “on top of the ball.” He had me doing the stride drill to work on staying on top of the ball. Then he told me to throw like I would if somebody said to throw over the top, from the outfield. I did a crow hop and threw the ball as overhand as I could, and they both nodded in agreement that this was an improvement. My elbow and shoulder felt like crap, but I can’t tell if this was because of the drills or not, because I was already slightly sore from the day before. He went on about how a high elbow will increase velocity, etc. I still think what he really means is arm slot, he doesn’t want me throwing low low 3/4. My coach is in complete agreement with him, so I will be going back there and doing this stuff all over again, and my coach will make sure I practice it with him as well.

After the low elbow thing, the instructor talked about my counter-rotation, essentially saying the same thing that my coach talked about earlier. He went on about how my leg was swinging out rather than moving linearly. He told me to move straight down and out, rather than swing into foot plant. He says I need to move straight towards the plate, and not swing around into plant like I am doing. I found it hard to disagree with him on this point.

The instructor didn’t see this, but my coach talked to me about my glove arm flying open, and about how it shouldn’t be pulled to the side, but stabilized in front. I agreed with this, and he showed me a chair drill to practice this on.

Finally the instructor had me doing my arm action in slow motion, making me point the ball to the center field (yes Chris, bad :)), and then rotate my shoulder like I would if I was pitching full speed. I thought this was ridiculous, because there’s no way I can accurately go through my motion in slo-mo. He saw that in slow motion my wrist was slightly cocked at release point, and jumped on it, talking about how I need to stay behind the ball. I don’t think I actually do this cocking of the wrist, but I’m not quite sure b/c my camera can’t capture it.

Anyway to summarize his suggestions:
No counter-rotation
Leg action must change to down and out
Elbow (arm slot) must come up
Glove arm must stabilize
Wrist must not cock or bend

I’m going to find out what ended the instructor’s career, I wonder if it was an arm injury??? If not, I heard he was quite a good pitcher in his day (he was drafted in 2002, so he had a short career). I’m going to do what the coach tells me to do for now, but whether it sticks or not depends on whether a) it seems to work for me, and b) what you guys think about it. Maybe some other factors too.

Ahhhh, so many conflicting ideas!! WHAT DO I DO???

bolded part
It completely boggles my mind how this guy could think that you moving slow is the same as actually throwing. Did he ever do a slow drill then try to replicate the exact motion throwing? It is impossible!
He is stuffing you into a cookie cutter but you won’t fit!

I’ve found that for these types of coaches, they misrepresent what they are trying to explain with phrases like ‘get the arm up’ and so on and so forth. What you really have to learn from these people is how to play the game and what the life was like.

My pitching coach played AAA and ML baseball for several years and I do believe he knows how a pitcher’s mechanics should be but I do not think he knows quite how to explain it. Thankfully, I’ve learned from the NPA the details of the pitching motion.

What you SHOULD do in these pitching lessons is:

  1. Show up EARLY and WARM UP by yourself (warm up means dynamic arm/leg exercises to make you start sweating.)

  2. Say yes sir/etc but do not have a conversation with the coach. Every minute you spend asking questions and getting bullsh|t answers is a minute you spend not working on your craft.

  3. Take CONTROL of the lesson. Call your pitches (type/spots).

  4. Have someone film you with a quality camera so you can watch yourself in slow motion (instead of acting like a retard).

Don’t hate on the guy because he gives you vague unreliable conventional wisdoms. He does know something about baseball if he played professionally whatever that may be.

Spencer, thanks for your comments. I would argue that he does have some valuable information to offer, but it will be difficult for me to separate the good quality advice from the useless “cookie cutter” advice as you put it. On this specific slow motion exercise, I completely agree with your response, it really had no meaning and served as a waste of time IMO. As for my coach, if I am to not do something that the instructor tells me to, like the high elbow, I better provide him with a good reason against it (thanks again Chris :lol:). I’m definitely going to request to be video taped either next session or the one after that. It’s really the only way I can see any improvements. Also, the instructor didn’t even notice me flying open when I threw at full speed, maybe a video would clear that up. Anybody else care to comment? I appreciate and will take into account everything said here on these forums. Always an open mind :slight_smile:

You throw sidearm, not submarine. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. Yes, I like a higher arm slot, but some guys do well sidearm like you.

Many great pitchers (e.g. Maddux) swing their legs out. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it.

[quote=“LankyLefty”]Anyway to summarize his suggestions:
No counter-rotation
Leg action must change to down and out
Elbow (arm slot) must come up[/quote]

These are pretty drastic changes that I’m not convinced are good or necessary.

Lefty,

Others in this thread have given you some of the NPA’s very good advice; i.e., stabilize your glove out in front, over your stride foot, and bring your torso forward to the glove (not the reverse) and… don’t change your arm slot or arm action for anyone. If you look carefully, you will find that every humanly accessible arm-slot is represented among elite pitchers from knuckle-scraping-on-the-ground submariners to near-12 o’clock over-the-top pitchers. Sidearmed or low 3/4 pitching is absolutely fine and has nothing intrinsically to do with longevity, injury, or effectiveness. If you doubt that, take a look at the career stats for Randy Johnson, Walter ‘Big Train’ Johnson, Carl Hubbell, and Pedro Martinez–four very good sidearm pitchers, no? If you optimize your mechanics leading up to the point where your shoulders rotate open toward the plate, your arm action will take care of itself. Roger is absolutely correct that your glove-side arm and throwing arm should look “opposite and equal” at footstrike and any imbalance at that point that should be adjusted in the glove-side arm, not the throwing arm. Note, of course, “opposite and equal” arms does not mean one single configuration for everyone…it means only that the angles at your wrists and elbows should be the same for both arms, and elbow-to-shoulders-to-elbow should be about 180 degrees, a straight line from elbow-to-elbow. Thus, Andy Pettitte looks a lot different from Randy Johnson at footstrike, but they both have “opposite and equal” arms at that point in their deliveries.

My only really new advice to you in this thread is this: You should absolutely fix the mound you are using at home. Then, you should take some care to maintain it in good condition. Your current mound of dirt looks like a nearly flat plateau for a distance of 3’ or 4’ in front of the rubber, at which point it appears to slope downward far too abruptly. Additionally, the gully your stride foot lands in looks like a geological disaster.

Flat-ground throwing would far better for you than pitching off of your home-made job in its current condition, IMO.

“…and elbow-to-shoulders-to-elbow should be about 180 degrees, a straight line from elbow-to-elbow.”

------Sorry, this was confusing and incorrect…it would be far more accurate to say that at footstrike your two elbows and your shoulders should be in the same x,z-plane.

To answer the original question, I definitely think that reverse rotation of the shoulders can lead to flying open of the front shoulder.

[quote=“laflippin”]"…and elbow-to-shoulders-to-elbow should be about 180 degrees, a straight line from elbow-to-elbow."

------Sorry, this was confusing and incorrect…it would be far more accurate to say that at footstrike your two elbows and your shoulders should be in the same x,z-plane.[/quote]Now I’m really confused. No surprise there. I’ve yet to see a pro who has the elbows aligned through the shoulders in a straight line at footplant. What about the scap loading that happens there?

Right, DM, I was attempting to correct my ill-conceived words about a straight line through the elbows and shoulders.

On the other hand even if extreme scapular loading make a pitcher’s elbow-shoulders-elbow look like W, those body parts will still be in a single plane in a good delivery, right? It’s the x,z-plane (i.e., the one that is roughly parallel to the surface of the ground.)

ok just concerning my mound at home, it has rained a lot here so it gets real muddy and torn up. I try to fill in the large holes before each session if I can. I guess we should stay on topic for this discussion, but we can start a thread about whether poor mounds seriously affect pitching performance if you would like.

Oh, and Palo20 could you elaborate please?

Also, concerning my arm slot and elbow positioning, I think this is the one issue that I have almost definitely locked in my decision for. 1) throwing low 3/4 feels natural. 2) I have never had more that sore arms, i.e. no arm injuries from throwing this arm slot. 3) I’m extremely effective from this arm slot. 4) like laflippin said, mlb pitcher have had HOF careers with this arm slot, throwing upper 90’s.

Only thing that might make me think twice is my curveball will not have good bite to it from this arm slot, as its a pitch that you need to get on top of.