Elbow flexed more than 90 degrees

Hi guys, I have a question here. It would be a lot better if I had a video of it, but I don’t. (actually I saw this watching me on a video, but still couldn’t get it to the PC…)

But the problem I saw on my mechanics really caught my attention. Here it is:
I’m doing ok until foot strike. Elbow at shoulder’s level, and elbow bent at 90º. Then just after the front foot strikes, the forearm, instead of holding still where they are (to keep the angle at 90º) it continues to go forward. And by doing that, the angle which my elbow is flexed decreases. It should go to about 45º and then start to rotate from that angle. Quite strange, huh?

It’s like it is a natural thing… I couldn’t see doing this, and now, when I’m trying to keep the angle at 90º and then rotate from it, it just feels unnatural, and I tend to throw all over the place… It seems that my throw is too “mechanical/robotic”.

I tried to look at some pictures from major league players, to see if their elbow did the same as mine, but they didn’t. Also, I’ve read 3 books about pitching (Steven Ellis’ book, The Pitching Edge by Tom House and The Complete Book Of Pitching), and none of them had something about this…

I even knocked my hat off (more than once), when I was doing catcher and had my hat from back to front haha (My hand almost touches the back of my neck, it touched the brim of the hat, knocking it off)

Any guru out there may help me? Even without a video, have you ever heard of something like this? Any drill? Anything that might help me here?

Would decreasing that angle be harmful to my arm?

I was able to get a picture of this, and here it is, so you guys have a better notion of what I’m talking about.

Thanks in advance.

:shock: your arm is the exact opposite of what it should be, it should be your elbow in front and your hand trailing…that might be something that would cause injury and decrease in everything including speed and accuracy

What you are talking about is sometimes referred to as short-arming the ball.

I used to think this was a problem, but now I’m not so sure.

Dr. Mike Marshall says it’s bad, and Mark Prior does it and has had elbow problems, but the reality is that Greg Maddux does it too, and Maddux hasn’t had any problems with his arm.

This would be a matter of definitions here but I don’t call this shortarming. Shortarming, in the definition I’ve always seen it, is when the arm has a bend in it as the forearm is coming through to release. That’s not what’s happening here. If you watch Prior or Maddux from the rear, in video, not just a single still image, you’ll notice that this position happens for only a brief period of time. As the elbow comes around with the shoulders, that angle eases up and they do pretty much what everybody else does coming through. It doesn’t stay in that angle as they throw. My question here would be, is it problematic for external rotation of the humerus in the glenoid to happen with a tight angle like that. This angle only exists during that period from when the forearm is upright (although angled toward the plate) backward (externally) to where it’s horizontal. This is the “extreme” phase of external rotation, so there may be issues with the angle of the arm during it. Up until then, the external rotation is within the “normal” range of motion for the shoulder joint. This phase is the dangerous one, in my estimation.

Any kinesiologists out there?

I’m curious to see HOW he got to this position at this particular time. Video would be of great help. From a couple of angles, preferably. Downloadable in a format Quicktime recognizes also.

I’ve seen kids, one in paricular, who liked to straighten out the throwing arm on the way back and then continue in an arc on that plane (oriented 2nd to home). The ball/hand came forward and stopped at the ear, just like in this picture. As a result of this motion stopping there, it had to start back up again and thus any momentum built up during that windup was lost. The arm ended up taking on too much of the job here and he couldn’t generate much velo.

So, I have found that, in some cases, the path taken to get there is the culprit. I don’t know if this is the problem with this young man. Video would help, as usual.

I think I understand. I’ve seen the exact same situation from a local U11 player at our atheletic association. From the infield or behind the plate, he’s got a cannon. Quick feet, hips, hands. Good accuracy. From the mound, he looses confidence, adjusts to a conventional teaching, his dad yells at him, from there he just get wild - a basket case on the mound. I’m in no position to help him, his father is dominant in his development, or lack there of.

But I think I can help you. I love pitching (own the same books). Threw my share of no hitters but didn’t get drafted, didn’t pitch college.

I think it’s mechanical and a timing thing. Like the local pitcher I described, you’ve engrained your throwing mechanics, so changing will take some effort.

Here’s my free advice:

  1. Get a full video of your natural infield throwing motion and compare it to a video of your pitching motion.

  2. Analyze the begining of both motions.

This is a big assumption, on my part, but I think you’ll find that the beginnings are similar. My guess is that you don’t break your hands down and apart, then up. In pitching, this helps you be smooth and gather power and increases accuracy. If this beginning part of you motion varies, your timing will be off. If your arm rushes straight back to a cocked position, your upper body will be waiting on your lower have to catch up. Then you’ll have to time that “late rotation” that Tom House talks about. Accuracy will suffer.

When working with young pitchers, I have to have them practice breaking there hands down and apart. After working on this with several, I see the consistent problem with their timing after making the switch. Since it’s the correct thing to do, I have them throw to a tarp. So they don’t go back to the old ways of straight separation.

-good luck.

This isn’t physically possible due to the forces involved.

Sorry Chris but that’s not true.

Give me an example.

You won’t find one in the pros. That’s why they’re pros. I’ve seen several kids who do it. The ball starts on the head side of vertical and then they “push” it out to release.

You won’t find one in the pros. That’s why they’re pros. I’ve seen several kids who do it. The ball starts on the head side of vertical and then they “push” it out to release.[/quote]
Or they do extend back some but then bring the ball beside the head and pause for a moment thus throwing from that position.

I think sometimes short-arming is done because the rest of the mechanics don’t provide the timing to do anything else. Sometimes it’s done because the kids are trying to be perfect and short-arming approaches the mechanics of a dart-thrower who strives for very precise accuracy. Still other times, short-arming is an attempt to baby an injured shoulder.

You won’t find one in the pros. That’s why they’re pros. I’ve seen several kids who do it. The ball starts on the head side of vertical and then they “push” it out to release.[/quote]

I’ll grant you this.

Kids can do it because they don’t throw hard enough.

I’m a rookie on the board, but I think the path to this position is the start to diagnosing the solution. You are better off to compare the start - noticing when the position varies from the pro pitcher. My guess is that it starts after the balance point, at the breaking of the throwing hand from the glove.

My guess (without video) is that he’s in more danger of hurting a batter than hurting himself. Meaning, that with this over-cocking, after he rotates, his release is well out front, decreasing risk shoulder injury. But accuracy would be difficult & his velocity will not be at full potential.

To make a golf analogy, think if Tiger Woods didn’t “stay wide” and brought his hands in close, then extended at the ball. His drives would never hit the fairway. Timing would be difficult to imposible. Tiger doesn’t practice his release, he practices his takeaway. Ok, the analogy is imperfect, but I think it illustrates the point. Start at the begining.

At my association, I’ve seen it all recently. Straight arms, over-cocked arms, short arms (elbow by the kids ribcage). You’d think that good throwers all have the same motion, but it’s just not true once you take away their momentum (ie. crow hop) on the mound, mechanic ineffeciencies are exposed.

How about it? Does your shoulder or anything ache? or is it your accuracy thats hurting?