Delaying shoulder rotation?

This is something I’m try to understand so that I can learn more about pitching. I have heard people on this site talk about trying to delay the shoulders after plant could someone explain how a pitcher goes about this and why it is prevelent in pitching mechanics?


Separation of the shoulders from the hips is where approximately 80% of pitcher’s throwing velocity actually comes from.

Let’s do a thought-experiment: Pretend you are grasping a rubber band at its two ends. Holding one end stationary, put some twist into the rubber band by rotating the other end. After you put some twist into the band, hold it steady for a moment then let go of one end.

What happened?

When you twisted the rubber band you caused it to store potential energy (that it received from the work you performed). When you let one end go, the potential energy that you stored in the rubber band was allowed to do the work of rapidly untwisting the rubber band.

Obviously, the more twist you put into the rubber band, the more energetic its untwisting motion is going to be when you release it.

Delaying your shoulder rotation as long as you can while your hips rotate forward after footstrike allows you to put the maximum amount of ‘twist’ into your torso. The more potential energy you can store up in this way, the more of it will be available for doing the work of throwing the baseball when your shoulders do rotate forward.

To train the kinesthetic feel of hip/shoulder separation and delayed shoulder rotation, I like something called the Rocker Drill–its from the NPA and Tom House.

What is the rocker drill and can you explain it please?

Also as soon as you plant you can’t really hold back can you from throwing or is it only holding back for 1 milla second to reach max hip rotation then bringing the arm through?

Yes, really good pitchers can get their center of gravity (think: belly button) out to about 80% of their stride length before their shoulders explosively rotate forward.

You are correct, the time between foot strike and delayed shoulder rotation is measured in milliseconds, but its more in the range of 30 - 50 milliseconds than single-digit milliseconds. So, how do you train for optimization of a movement that is too fast to see clearly with the unaided eye?

Well, first, I’d want to convince myself that the phenomenon is real–so, I’d look at some of the most recent published work that covers this level of detail: for example, “The Art and Science of Pitching”.

If you find that you believe what you read is well-supported by good research, then you’ll probably want to also read about the drills that are suggested for helping to train hip/shoulder separation.

I really hesitate to try to describe the NPA’s drills with just words–personally I think you’re a lot better off reading their material yourself, and using the pictures they also provide, to learn their drills. Even better, find a way to get some hands-on training from the NPA.

Something I do to get more hip/shoulder seperation is put all weight on the inside of my foor while striding and turn it over agressivly and I get pretty good hip/shoulder seperation.

Good mechanics give you the timing to delay shoulder rotation in a natural manner so that you’re not really consciously trying to hold back. Getting it going and having a faster tempo really helps as it shortens the amount of time the shoulders need to stay closed. Poor mechanics, on the other hand, destroy timing and make it difficult - if not impossible - to delay shoulder rotation.

Thanks for all the help I’m starting to add to my knowledge of the game alot in the last week and I think I’ve going to be able to incorperate alot of things to help transfer energy and reach my goal of 78-80 mph.

ristar. enough thinking.

now train.

thoughts without purposful, directed actions are dreams.

dreams are important, but not worth much without execution.

pitch less, throw and train more.

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
T.E. Lawrence

key phrase: may act.

“just do it” - nike

Awesome quote Spencer, I will have to write that one down and post that somewhere.

You know, I really hate it when people make fun of me for having big dreams and talking about them all the time.

A few years ago, I stopped saying ‘if’ I go pro and now whenever I talk about it, I always say ‘when’ I go pro… and you know what? I really believe it. I don’t just think I can do it. I know I will do it. (And from the looks of it, the prospect of me getting drafted seems very probable.) People always leave dreams as they are… just dreams. They don’t believe in themselves.

You have to be almost delusional…

[quote=“dusty delso”]key phrase: may act.

“just do it” - nike[/quote]

“Impossible is nothing.”

Adidas > Nike :wink:

Edit: sorry to be off topic; today in practice, I got better at delayed shoulder rotation. There, on topic.

I found it interesting that, looking back at Mike Epstein’s book on hitting he devotes two pages to a discussion of hip/shoulder separation in the pitching motion and goes on to compare the same phenomenon as the primary source of power in the hitting motion.

There’s also a somewhat obscure guy, now deceased, named Jim Dixon, who also clearly recognized and wrote about the importance of hip/shoulder separation for generation of power in hitting and pitching.