Easily creating torque – A New Perspective on Mechanics

For quite some time I have been trying to figure out how major league pitchers generate the amount of torque necessary to throw a baseball 90 plus mph. It has long been stated that a pitchers legs and hips must rotate before their pitching arm. The question is how do they accomplish this? And more importantly, how do they manage to repeat it every time they deliver the ball? Recently I read an article on this website stressing the importance of shoulder tilt and how it relates to pitching velocity by using leverage(see: articles-baseball pitching techniques-how to leverage front side tilt for more velocity) This article claims that by tilting his shoulders a pitcher can create more velocity because he has more time to exert force on his pitching arm, thus increasing the amount of force applied to it. This is a very interesting insight, and it got me thinking about using the upper body as a tool to generate torque from the lower body. After reading the article listed above I began to study the deliveries of many of the game’s most prominent pitchers and found that they implement another technique in addition to tilting their shoulders. This technique not only improves torque but actually forces a pitcher to rotate his lower body ahead of his arm. In other words your lower body will deliver your arm without you even trying to do it.
By studying pitchers such as Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, and Mariano Rivera (just to name a few) it is clear that pitchers not only tilt their shoulders as they break their hands, but also have them offset, instead of aligning them directly with the plate. For example a right handed pitcher, when he breaks his hands, does not have his elbows and shoulders directly in line with the plate, they are somewhat reverse rotated as he glides to a landing. This reverse rotating of the shoulders has often been looked down upon by many of the coaches I know, however I now disagree. The reverse rotating of the shoulders as a pitcher glides to landing forces the lower body to rotate ahead of the upper body, thus creating a large amount of separation, or torque(See Photos below). This also allows the pitcher to effectively use his “off arm” as a supercharger to rotate his shoulders upon landing. Finally, this technique also forces a pitcher to load his scaps, he has no choice in the matter.
After discovering this technique I decided to give it a try myself and instantly had a massive jump in my velocity. However this is not all that happened. For the longest time I have had a problem with landing on the heel of my foot while also drifting into my knee. By slightly reverse rotating my shoulders during hand break I have effectively stopped landing on my heel and more importantly my knee now stays braced instead of drifting forward. This is just a theory of mine but so far it seems to be sound. Any thoughts on this topic are welcome and encouraged. You may have to copy and paste the photo urls, it’s my first time trying to put them in a post so I dont know if they are going to work.

[img]http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/PHOTOFILE/AABC035~Nolan-Ryan-Photofile-Posters.jpg

[/img]http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/FAT/51-51004~Mariano-Rivera-Fathead-Posters.jpg

you are right in my opinion. it is commonly called counter-rotation and frowned upon by some, but it also increases the time and space you have to accelerate the arm. i like it, many of the big time pitchers do this to varying degrees. the secret it timing when you release the rotation. if you aggressively counter-rotate you can avtivate stretch reflex in the extremely strong muscles of the trunk and thorax area that surround the spine and compose the upper back and shoulders.

the secret is timing all this to increase the velocity of the kinetic chain. if you release it too fast, the arm doesn’t take advantage of the torque. release it too late and it never gets to the arm for use.

very good observation. brent strom talks about this often.

I too agree with your statement. I always felt I had more power when I reverse rotated my upper body. I remember “looking over my front shoulder” when I was throwing well. I also remember pitching coaches trying to get me to stop!

Some pitchers rotate so far the hitter can almost read the pitchers name on the back of his jersey. Like Dusty said - timing is key regarding where the upper body is when the front foot hits the ground in order to maximize the use of the torque created.

It also seems that the counter rotation has fallen out of favor in this age of cookie cutter pitchers who are slow and robotic while preparing to deliver to the plate.

Tom

I teach counter-rotation - not necessarily to all pitchers I work with but certainly to those I think could benefit from it. But, to me, this is sort of an advanced technique and I don’t teach to a pitcher until he has some of the more basic elements down.

BTW, Dusty is absolutely right that the timing must be just about perfect.

Very nice post, I agree with the rotating of the shoulder or reverse rotating, many hard throwers do do that. However I think that one reason coaces do not teach that is because of the fact that greg maddux doesn’t reverse rotate. Some pitching coaches try to clone greg maddux mechanics. I don’t believe in this, and while Greg Maddux is one of the best pitchers ever, not everyone is greg maddux

Pricless: I checked frame by frame on Chris O’leary’s site on Maddux. He does do it.

not as much as power pitchers like Lincecum or Nolan Ryan do. But yes he does to a small degree, he does remain mostly square towards home.