Erin Bristow Pitching Analysis


#1

Hi, I’m a high school class of 2019 junior playing my second year of JV. I’d appreciate it if you could take a look at the videos below and let me know what you see. I’m also very interested in studying the mechanics of MLB pitchers- I’ve been recently looking at Chris Archer, per my coach’s suggestion. If you have any suggestions for pitchers that I could study and emulate, that would be great! I’ve been working on using my lower half more, and it’s better than where I was a month ago.

I’ve been having some velocity problems in the last year. I struggled with dead arm throughout the spring season. I peaked in January, topping out at 74mph and consistently sitting 70mph. I did the Jaeger throwing program and it worked wonders for me. Dad recently got a radar gun, and it looks like I’m around 67 right now. I guess this is off of flat ground, so the velocity will be down a bit, but it’s still a lot lower than where I’d like to be. I’ve definitely regressed in the last year. I’m thinking the drop in velo is purely a strength and fatigue issue. I gotta develop a consistent workout routine- I’ve been pretty off and on about it, and I was doing a good job of it last year. I work out from home. But I also want to be sure I’m getting everything I can out of my delivery. I’m a girl, my strength is never going to compete, but I can control what I can control. I think 80mph by senior year is a goal that I can certainly hit. I’m very curious about what women have been able to achieve in terms of velo. I’ve heard of upper 80s in Japan, and lower 80s here in the US. I’m 5’6", 130lbs, where should I be weight wise?

In the slow motion video, it’s pretty much max intent. 67mph
In the regular speed video, I wasn’t going max intent. Don’t know the velo, just thought I’d include that one in case it helps to have a normal video.


#2

I’m not sure if I like what my glove arm is doing. I think I’m losing power there by opening up. I know some pitchers, like Kershaw, fully extend their glove arm like I’ve been doing, but others don’t. Which one would be preferable for me?


#3

your glove arm is fine to me, but i think you could throw harder if you cocked the arm early in your windup, because your arm action looks a little bit long,
but everything else is fine, good back leg drive and front leg


#4

looks much better than the other video on a different thread. Everything from 11 sec to 15 seconds can be eliminated. You can get from 11 to 15 without everything in between and it will make your delivery quicker to the plate and eliminate none of your velocity. I’ll take a more in depth look later.


#5

Erin, first off I am very happy a young woman is pitching baseball - good for you. The two MLB players I refer people to watch are Marcus Stroman and Sonny Gray. Both pitchers are smaller in stature but generate a lot of early momentum and velocity.

Here is what I see. Although you are leading with your hip, it looks as though you are throwing your hips out in front without much forward momentum. You can see this at :16 in your delivery as your hips have been pushed out but your upper body and head remain over your back foot.

I am including a picture of Stroman at the same exact point in the delivery as you are. You can see how he rode his back leg into his delivery. Also notice his balance. His head is aligned with his bellybutton over his core. You also get your arm in the cocked position too early. The reason for that is a simple one, you don’t generate enough forward momentum in the beginning of your delivery. If you take care of the bottom half, your bottom half will take care of the top half.

I would work on drills promoting early forward momentum. One of the drills I worked on with my son is performed by taking the lead foot and placing it in front of the drive foot toe forming a T and then go through your pitching delivery. This drill presets your back leg drive (forward momentum), shoulder tilt, and sitting (riding) into your delivery. You don’t need the huge leg kick to try and generate your power.

Hope this helps.


#6

I agree with others’ comments about getting early forward momentum which pertains to your center of mass (think “hips”) – not just the front leg (your hips seem to stop while your front leg swings forward). But the very first thing I would change would be to narrow your stance when you come set. Your feet are too wide which causes you to weight shift back towards 2B to go into knee lift and before going forward.


#7

Erin, you look better than several of my HS Varsity pitchers. Keep up the great work.

I agree with Roger and the others. Take a look at Danny Salazar in this gif. You’ll see he keeps moving forwards slightly (gaining momentum) as his front leg is moving. You seem to be more stationary (your front leg is doing a lot, but not sure what it’s adding), which causes you to lose momentum/velo. Generally, if you can get moving forward earlier, it will put pressure on your arm to move quicker as well as get momentum from your forward movement. Think less about your front leg and more about your back leg/hips moving forward quicker, while loading your hips/keeping power in your glutes. Also, I can see you tightening up your arm action some (search for: pivot pickoff drill or take a look at Driveline’s stuff). I do think 80 mph is a goal that’s achievable (strength/speed and cleaning up some of your mechanics).


#8

Your arm is very early compared to your body. Look at the picture of Stroman that was posted…look at where his arm is just prior to foot plant. Find the similar foot position in your video and your arm is up and almost cocked. You can look on youtube and find videos of MLB pitchers and compare your arm position to theirs at various points. Especially look at foot plant…their arms are just getting up and cocked at foot plant…your arm is already coming forward. You are loosing power due to that early arm/hand movement. I would look at your hand break and the path your arms take after…compare your arm action to the video of Salazar. You have a nice compact action. With your size…you are going to have to move faster to throw faster. That all starts with your leg drive and length of stride…are you striding out to at least your height?


#9

Regarding bradybunch’s comment about your arm being early, if you start moving forward sooner to get that early momentum, then you’ll get into front foot strike sooner and your arm should be right on time without having to change anything else.


#10

One of my only thoughts would be to get down the mound faster. All I mean by that is being more explosive with the delivery. I read that someone mentioned Driveline Baseball and I read an article of their’s once describing the correlation between velocity and being quick down the mound. For future reference: Driveline has a ton of great reads!


#11

Thank you for suggesting Gray and Stroman for me to take a look at- definitely good models for mechanics. I can’t believe i didn’t notice the hip thing before. You’re completely right, I can see how that would cause other problems in my delivery too. My coaches have always criticized how slow I am to the plate (cause it’s not great- I think I was 1.8 or something, and I managed to get it down to 1.2, but I lose command). I’m glad that maybe I can finally get my arm action right. I do an abbreviated slidestep with runners on, but I stay out of the stretch with no runners on as well. I’m still slow even with the slidestep. Thanks!


#12

Thanks for pointing the foot width out. That’s something I fixed a couple of months ago maybe, but I slipped back into that habit without even realizing it.


#13

Thanks for your input! The part about trying to move forward earlier makes a lot of sense, that would certainly force my arm to move more quickly. That gif is great, too.


#14

Not quite sure what my stride length is. Should I measure it? I hope we’re starting pens this week, I’ve been flat grounding for the past three weeks at home during break.


#15

Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to check my video out, I really appreciate it. I’m actually hoping to go up to Seattle this summer for training and an internship as well at Driveline. Their stuff is great! So much amazing research and thinking going on there.


#16

Hi Erin, thank you for posting your videos, and for providing good context as to where you are and what you’ve been working on. I am a big fan of Alan Jaeger’s long toss program. You might also look at information from Ron Wolforth, Derek Johnson, and Eric Cressey.

In terms of your videos, I have one predominate thought: First Movement. I’ve attached an image that should be illustrative. Your initial movements are all backwards, and reverse-rotating.

For each image in the sequence, you’ll see an orange line that marks the starting position of your head, which is basically straight up from the left front leg of the chair behind you. You don’t get back to that point until almost foot strike.

image

As others have pointed out, your first movement should be to the plate, and every movement designed to get your release point as close to the batter as possible. Every foot is 3 MPH in the batters’ eye. Look at Greg Maddux.

Moving back and reverse-rotating means that you’ll need to swing back around to get on plane, and that is very difficult to accomplish with any consistency. I see this twisting motion a lot and it typically causes issues later in the delivery (e.g. arching the back and the head flying out to hit the release point.) In addition to twisting, you also have a significant upper half tilt (second image in the sequence) as denoted by the blue line. Your spine is almost at 10 o’clock. This combined with reverse rotation are typically signs a pitcher is getting around a strength or mobility issue, and are compensating by trying to generate other momentum. In my experience, this impacts both velocity and command, and can place undue stress on the arm.

Given all that, once you get the strike foot down, your body seems to reorganized itself pretty well! I think you have a lot of positives to work with and by addressing first movement, you could realize greater success on the hill, not to mention a jump in velocity. Stay positive, keep working, and enjoy pitch you get to throw!