Dick Mills


#1

Has neone ever checked out dick mills web page, he seems so sure that everything he states is right and anything that goes against what he doesnt say is wrong. Has neone found success with his programs. Has neone found nething that they didnt like


#2

he has some good theories, but, he also has some bad ones, i like dick mills, but, his programs supposedly helped his son, and his son ended up hurting his arm, weird… :?


#3

[quote=“Tanner Lorenz”]he has some good theories, but, he also has some bad ones, i like dick mills, but, his programs supposedly helped his son, and his son ended up hurting his arm, weird… :?[/quote]Have you ever noticed how many other pitchers, trained by every pitching coach in the bigs, has had elbow or shoulder problems? It seems to be a rare individual who hasn’t had elbow or shoulder issues after pitching at a high level. It’s very much in vogue to bash Mills and many use his son’s issues as proof that Mills is wrong. People also like to say that Mills’ program isn’t of any value because his son hasn’t made it to the bigs. How many actually do make it? Mills often states that his son’s velocity dropped when he stopped working the program and was trained by college coaches. He says they changed his mechanics and his training methods.

Now, I don’t agree with some fundamental things Mills preaches but I do agree with some others. I just think it’s not really that accurate to look at his son and judge his program because of that. Why has Mark Prior had injury troubles? Chris believes he has the answer. Others may or may not agree. PItching just is a VERY high risk activity with respect to the elbow and shoulder, among other things. Nasty action, this.

Back to Mills’ program and attitudes. I have serious doubts about some parts of his program/teachings re: mechanics (such as rotating after landing, not before). I do like his recommendations about training specificity. I don’t like his attitude and abrasiveness. I don’t like how he’s treated me over the years (recently in particular). His whole thesis is that sports science points to certain things and that the baseball world is ignoring those because it is dominated by “belief” not “science”. He co-wrote a book with a fairly reputable sports scientist that is based on this thesis. I have difficulties with some of the statements in that book. He’s convinced that he and his co-author have it all figured out with science to back up their assertions. They actually do a pretty good job of defending that in their book.

My $0.02 worth.


#4

DM, can you explain Mills’ ideas about rotating after landing? What part(s) of the body supposedly rotate after landing?

And to think Tom House has been accused of being too scientific. Go figure.


#5

[quote=“Roger”]DM, can you explain Mills’ ideas about rotating after landing? What part(s) of the body supposedly rotate after landing?[/quote]Hips and shoulders. He maintains that you cannot generate significant amounts of rotational power or velocity, whichever term you want to use, around the back leg and that “rotation happens around the front leg”. So, the evil he calls “early rotation” is anything that’s not around the front leg. He treats this as an absolute that is just so obvious that everyone who believes in rotating into landing is just mislead or missing the real point. He believes the most effective method is to utilize a sort of “force couple” where the front leg braces while the back leg drives that hip around the front one.

I’ve not seen him address the issue of the ubiquitous presence in hard throwing pro pitchers of hip/shoulder separation from hip rotation into landing.

By the way Roger, he does teach shoulder rotation around an upright spine (a la Tom House) before forward trunk flexion. He always has.

[quote=“Roger”]And to think Tom House has been accused of being too scientific. Go figure.[/quote]Mills’ contention is that he and his co-author have reviewed the pertinent studies and have evaluated them for their validity in terms of scientific “method” and have found inconsistencies in many that have been seen as standards, such as de Renne’s studies on weighted balls, among others. Then they reference the studies that they say are not inherently flawed with respect to method and draw conclusions from those. The conclusions are not popular nor are the claims of inconsistencies. I can’t evaluate these because I’m not qualified. The arguments in the book are compelling though. They often point out that the results of a particular study do not necessarily support the conclusions those authors drew. They offer other possible reasons for the results that the original authors did not take into account in their studies. Others did not have appropriate control groups, for example.

So, that’s their thesis. They claim that valid sports science does not support many of the claims that we’ve always just “believed”. Then they go on to draw their own conclusions from the studies that do stand up to scrutiny re: method. This is where I disagree with them in some instances.


#6

If people are going to use his son’s injury as “proof” that his teachings are wrong, then they should reconsider the concept of teaching their children to cross the street only when the light is green. Since some guy could run a red light and still hit you, parents must be wrong to teach their kids to cross at a green light.

Or whatever the heck I’m trying to say…


#7

The thing that drives me crazy is the amount of wasted time the guru’s spend trashing everyone else Dick Mills spends much of his efforts discrediting “conventional wisdom”, I have solicited and receive his velocity stuff…it has some validity and pertainence. Ah business, what cha gonna do? Work on what you do, get results, let them stand. :smiley:
I believe that a “reasonable” critical thinker should take in as much information on the subject as possible, discard the ridiculous and dangerous, use the rest as it applies to your own personal need and move on…takes everything away from getting personal


#8

[quote]He believes the most effective method is … the front leg braces while the back leg drives that hip around the front one.
[/quote]

This is an “absolute” of pitching in my mind, too. It’s something I talk about in my forthcoming book on pitching mechanics (early 2007):

As a pitcher’s body moves sideways toward the home plate and the front foot plants (toes pointed toward the target), the hips and torso begin to turn with the backward thrust of the straightening front leg.

The backside (hip and torso) gains momentum from the pull of the back knee forward and inward, while the back foot pivots off the outside of the big toe (same as in hitting).

The throwing shoulder quickly rotates outward, which forces a bent pitching arm to bring the hand and ball upward, slightly above the shoulder.

At this point the muscles of the outwardly rotated shoulder contract forward (without hesitation) along with those of the entire upper body.

As the shoulder thrust is completing its full range of motion, the arm quickly extends forward and the wrist snaps the fingers through the center of the ball (fingers straight, perpendicular to the ground) at the point of ball release.

I agree with Mills that you can’t generate a significant amount of pitching velocity/rotational power off of the back side, because you release the ball over the front foot.


#9

[quote=“Steven Ellis”][quote]He believes the most effective method is … the front leg braces while the back leg drives that hip around the front one.
[/quote]

This is an “absolute” of pitching in my mind, too. [/quote]I have yet to see a pro do this. Upon landing, the back foot is not pushing the hip at all.

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]As a pitcher’s body moves sideways toward the home plate and the front foot plants (toes pointed toward the target), the hips and torso begin to turn with the backward thrust of the straightening front leg. [/quote]But video after video of pro pitchers conclusively prove that the hips begin to rotate before landing. Actually, you pretty much can’t land with the front foot pointing toward the target, at a respectable stride length, with the hips closed.

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]The backside (hip and torso) gains momentum from the pull of the back knee forward and inward, while the back foot pivots off the outside of the big toe (same as in hitting). [/quote]I’ve heard this recommended many times but I just don’t see it happening in the pros. The closest I’ve seen is Mariano Rivera, and that’s stretching it. The vast majority of pitchers extend and rotate the back leg and foot.

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]I agree with Mills that you can’t generate a significant amount of pitching velocity/rotational power off of the back side, because you release the ball over the front foot.[/quote]The problem I have with this is terminology. Put like that, it sounds reasonable. The difference is that nobody really said that you throw off the backside. That would be ludicrous. What is being said is that SOME hip rotation happens PRIOR TO front foot plant. We can speak of what benefit this affords but nobody is saying that rotation ONLY happens before footplant. Mills continually latches onto one statement like “…you can’t generate a significant amount of pitching velocity/rotational power off of the back side…” and uses it as proof for his assertions. That is only a snippet of what people are saying. It’s illogical to suggest that people are saying this. They’re not. Mills does this all the time. It’s simply not true and is very misleading.

I cannot understand how he can say that rotation happens ONLY after landing when pitcher after pitcher prove him wrong every single day!! In reality, proven by video, rotation happens before and after. It’s not one or the other. It’s both.


#10

Here’s a sequence of my own pitching mechanics to illustrate what I’m talking about here.

Notice that my front foot’s landed. My stride knee braces (straightens) as my back knee and foot come forward and inward. This brings my right hip (the one that you see) forward around the left hip (which you can’t see). As the right hip rotates forward horizontally, the left hip moves backward (it’s slight in these frames).

This hip movement all happens because of that back knee/foot thrusting forward and inward.








#11

[quote=“dm59”][quote=“Steven Ellis”][quote]He believes the most effective method is … the front leg braces while the back leg drives that hip around the front one.
[/quote]

This is an “absolute” of pitching in my mind, too. [/quote]I have yet to see a pro do this. Upon landing, the back foot is not pushing the hip at all.

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]As a pitcher’s body moves sideways toward the home plate and the front foot plants (toes pointed toward the target), the hips and torso begin to turn with the backward thrust of the straightening front leg. [/quote]But video after video of pro pitchers conclusively prove that the hips begin to rotate before landing. Actually, you pretty much can’t land with the front foot pointing toward the target, at a respectable stride length, with the hips closed.

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]The backside (hip and torso) gains momentum from the pull of the back knee forward and inward, while the back foot pivots off the outside of the big toe (same as in hitting). [/quote]I’ve heard this recommended many times but I just don’t see it happening in the pros. The closest I’ve seen is Mariano Rivera, and that’s stretching it. The vast majority of pitchers extend and rotate the back leg and foot.

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]I agree with Mills that you can’t generate a significant amount of pitching velocity/rotational power off of the back side, because you release the ball over the front foot.[/quote]The problem I have with this is terminology. Put like that, it sounds reasonable. The difference is that nobody really said that you throw off the backside. That would be ludicrous. What is being said is that SOME hip rotation happens PRIOR TO front foot plant. We can speak of what benefit this affords but nobody is saying that rotation ONLY happens before footplant. Mills continually latches onto one statement like “…you can’t generate a significant amount of pitching velocity/rotational power off of the back side…” and uses it as proof for his assertions. That is only a snippet of what people are saying. It’s illogical to suggest that people are saying this. They’re not. Mills does this all the time. It’s simply not true and is very misleading.

I cannot understand how he can say that rotation happens ONLY after landing when pitcher after pitcher prove him wrong every single day!! In reality, proven by video, rotation happens before and after. It’s not one or the other. It’s both.[/quote]

Steven, thanks for the pics. Your hips are already open in the pics. I would like to see a pic of you AT footstrike, I bet your hips have opened at least around 25% or so. In my opinion a major part of velocity comes from how much momentum you go into the landing with. The more momentum also equates to higher energy outputs which one would conclude equates to more usable potential energy, power equals speed/strength combined. THe more energy you carry into footplant THAN as the front foot braces to stop the forward slide of the pelvis, due to more momentum into footplant the result should be a faster more powerful rotation. Or perhaps getting over the perverbial wall quicker.

The simple fact is ONCE the stride leg foot turns toward the target, even a little the hip/pelvis IS opening. It is impossible to externally rotate the stride leg, which is what happens when the stride leg foot opens/turns over and keep the hip/pelvis closed, through a biomechanical concept. For the sake of this discussion I use this only as an example. Take a car and crash it into a wall, in this discussion the wall IS the stride leg bracing action and the car is the pitchers body. The faster the car hits the wall the more energy it has expended. The faster the car hits the wall the further the backend of the car raises of the ground, this is due to higher energy levels. The same can be said for pitchers in regards to building energy. Take a pole vaulter as another example the more speed as to which he jams his pole in the box [he sorry] the more spring action the pole develops. I mean, see how far the pole vaulter gets up into the air if he just sort of jogs up and hits the box? Versus running all out and THAN jamming the box? Or the car going five mph. and hitting the wall versus a car going thirty and hitting the wall, its all about potential energy. Or even a long jumper as well, how far would he get just jogging up to the line versus sprinting to the line? Or a high jumper how high would he get if he jogged up to the bar versus putting a little effort into it? Point being EVEN if the hips do not truly pop/bust/open until AFTER footplant which I believe is the case, even if they do open to some extent before this . which I also believe is the case. It also has to do with what you bring INTO footplant potential energy wise. Just like it matters to all the above in respect to those activities, just another viewpoint!, thanks

Lastly, in my opinion it is a no brainer that velocity does have a major input from the backside after all where does it all start from?


#12

Thanks Steven
This is an excellent discussion. I would guess that we’ll never end up with total agreement but it’s always good to have this kind of dialog.

In those clips, as can be seen relative to the background, any forward / rotational motion of your right hip has stopped after the first frame. From there on, when your knee is pulled forward and in, the hip is not affected. On biomechanical terms, (although I’m a complete amateur in this regard) I see no connection between the femur being pulled forward and a resultant force being applied to the pelvis. No “cause and effect”. The femur and hip joint are built to move the knee RELATIVE TO the pelvis. One can stand on one foot and swing the knee back and forth with no effect on the pelvis. It’s like the old saying “you can’t push a rope”. Check out the change in the angle of the femur throughout these clips. In the first, the femur is pointing down and back. As you progress throught the motion, that angle changes. It changes at the hip joint until it’s quite acute. There can be virtually no transfer of force in this motion.

The back leg action you show in these clips is very rare, actually this is the first I’ve seen from a pro or former pro, in my study of pitching. The finish positions I’ve seen have always had separation between posing leg the knee/femur and the landing leg. Some/most have the foot go up and over and, in others, the foot goes up less and sweeps around at a lower level.

I propose that pulling the back knee forward and inward has no positive, active contribution to hip rotation and actually has a potential negative in that focussing on this could cause the pitcher to put emphasis away from where the real “active ingredients” are and therefore could hinder the ability to get the c.o.g. as far forward as it needs to.

I believe Chinmusic has very well explained the role of momentum in the stride. The challenge in this, for pitchers, is to EFFECTIVELY turn that linear momentum into rotational energy and keep it transferring up the trunk. Sounds easy but really it isn’t. A slight timing miscue or focus where it needn’t or shouldn’t be and it’s lost. I’d like to add to Chin’s notes that the core itself plays a huge role in the continuation of any pelvic rotation after landing. There’s no further contribution by the back foot/leg. The foot’s being dragged by this point.

I submit that post-landing rotation of the pelvis is fueled by two things:

  1. The effect of momentum transfer (car hitting the wall or the bicycle’s front brakes causing the rider to be catapulted forward) facilitated by the stride (momentum generation) and the braking action of the landing leg

PLUS

  1. the inherent ability of the core to cause rotation (muscular contraction and elastic energy/stretch shortening cycle, which is also fueled by the stride). It’s a DYNAMIC relationship of these.

#13

Sure looks to me like the hips are almost completely open in all the pics. One thing I’ve really noticed during the last couple years of my own research is how much the advice differs. It seems to me that you can find pitchers throwing with high velocity who stay tall and fall while at the same time you can find pitchers throwing gas who stay back.

There is a vid of a kid who plays out of the Orlando area “Michael Main” (sp?) on one of the Perfect Game prospect sites throwing 95 plus MPH. He throws exactly how my son’s coach teaches. He strides with his stride foot moving forward while keeping his weight back. My son’s coach actually teaches that it ought to feel as though the stride foot is pushing your weight back to the rubber. He then, almost at the last moment possible, drives hard off the back foot into foot plant. BTW, my son’s coach pitched 9 years in the bigs, in the world series, and has coached at some top D1 schools as their pitching coach. Having said this, I am still not convinced his way is best.

One thing I noticed was that Steve’s back foot never comes up. Am I missing something? Maybe all the pics weren’t used to show the final part of his delivery. If that is how he finished, it sure seems odd to me.


#14

shermanreed, it seems to me (due to all the conflicting opinions out there) that it all comes down to personal style. However one wants to pitch the ball is the right way for them. As long as they get the ball in the catcher’s mitt and the batter to swing and miss, that is all that matters eh?


#15

[quote=“KennyRobertson”]…it seems to me (due to all the conflicting opinions out there) that it all comes down to personal style. However one wants to pitch the ball is the right way for them. [/quote]My personal belief is that there actually are a relatively small number of what I like to call “active ingredients” that are common to all hard throwing pitchers. “Style” would be the myriad of other things one can “wrap around” the active ingredients. For example, Dontrelle has that funky wind up but he still makes use of hip/shoulder separation. Jim Palmer had a long, “slinger” type of arm action, Wagner has the short backswing, Smoltz has an “M” or inverted W arm action but they all utilize the effect of full external rotation of the humerus at the same time in the delivery.


#16

I agree.


#17

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]Notice that my front foot’s landed. My stride knee braces (straightens) as my back knee and foot come forward and inward. This brings my right hip (the one that you see) forward around the left hip (which you can’t see). As the right hip rotates forward horizontally, the left hip moves backward (it’s slight in these frames).
[/quote]

I’m just going to throw out there that I am concerned that pushing back with the Glove Side (aka GS) foot – aka stiffening the GS knee – after landing may not be a good idea (and at a minimum isn’t necessary).

I know why it works, and that Sandy Koufax and others did it, but I don’t see (much) of it in the mechanics of guys who had long, relatively injury-free careers. That includes guys like Seaver, Ryan, Glavine, Maddux, Gibson, and Clemens. They all tended to keep some flex in their GS knee.

I’m not exactly sure how, or why, this would cause problems, but my theory is that this reduces the shock-absorbing ability of the knee and allows the body to exceed its built-in abilities. IOW, it’s a trick that works in the short run by may have long-term negative consequences.


#18

Steven’s back leg action is rare and resembles one thing that Mike Marshall advocates; not leaving the PAS foot behind on the rubber. This helps to maximize the distance over which the hips can rotate.

One active major leaguer who does a good job of not leaving the PAS foot behind on the rubber is Nate Robertson…


#19

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]…one thing that Mike Marshall advocates; not leaving the PAS foot behind on the rubber. This helps to maximize the distance over which the hips can rotate.

One active major leaguer who does a good job of not leaving the PAS foot behind on the rubber is Nate Robertson…[/quote]Another is Curt Schilling BUT nobody is saying that it gets “left behind at the rubber” in anyone’s mechanics. Again, since Marshall’s mechanics advocate an entirely different motion of the back leg (the foot actually passes by the front one), we can’t use his statements in any critique about what we’re speaking of.

Nate Robertson’s femur is not forward but, again, this is just a still and it doesn’t tell the whole story. Without video, I’m not 100% sure, but I will go out on a limb and say that the angle of the femur will not become as acute as in Steven’s pics. Just a guess though. Typically, that knee stays away from the landing leg knee and behind. Check out Ryan, Clemens, Brown, etc., etc. I’m not just making this up.


#20

Agreed. Yes, there are some necessary parts to the package which all pitchers use but they put their own style to it.