Evaluation of my mechanics (good video)


#1

Finally got some good video of me throwing outside. It’s only one angle, but help me out with this angle if you can.

Here is me throwing three pitches


I have definitely got some work to do.

  1. This frame bothers me. I am landing extremely on my heel, my PAS forearm is nowhere near vertical, arms aren’t equal-and-opposite, and the ball is just hanging down from my hand, not facing CF (or the plate, Chris ;)).

  1. I stride way too closed. This causes my landing foot to really crank open right before foot strike to compensate, so my foot is actually pointing at the Right-Handed batter’s box at foot plant. What is causing me to stride so closed, and how can I correct that? Is striding closed a “symptom” of another problem in my delivery?

  1. This frame REALLY bothers me. I’m definitely short-arming the ball. I don’t know why. Any suggestions with this?


Also, here is a frame-by-frame comparison of me with Scott Kazmir’s mechanics that I put together for comparison’s purposes.

Me vs. Kazmir


Also, FYI, my biggest problem is lack of velocity. I’m a big guy (6’5, 215), and I should be able to throw hard, but I can’t. When I’m pitching well I hit spots well, but I don’t throw near as hard as I think I should. Since I stride so closed I can’t get my hips opened up hardly at all ahead of my shoulders, which I think is a big problem. Anyone else have any ideas?

Thanks a lot, you guys are great.


#2

[quote=“jhuskey”]Finally got some good video of me throwing outside. It’s only one angle, but help me out with this angle if you can.

Here is me throwing three pitches


I have definitely got some work to do.

  1. This frame bothers me. I am landing extremely on my heel, my PAS forearm is nowhere near vertical, arms aren’t equal-and-opposite, and the ball is just hanging down from my hand, not facing CF (or the plate, Chris ;)).[/quote]
    Unless you’re overstriding (which is hard to tell without a side view) I wouldn’t worry about landing on your heal. I used to worry about that but not any more. Your foot comes down a millisecond or two after your heal hits the ground - not much can go wrong during that millisecond or two. It’s a non-issue.

Striding closed a bit is not an issue. Instead of something causing it, I’d guess it is probably just a habit. You don’t necessarily need to correct it. Just move yourself to the right side of the rubber so that your back foot drag line finishes on the imaginary line from the center of the rubber to the center of home plate. (It appears you already start from the right side of the rubber but I can’t tell for sure.) This is exactly what Tom Glavine does.

As for the front foot opening up too much, it’s only a problem if it’s causing the hips to open up too early. If that’s not happening, then don’t worry about it. Otherwise, I’d suggest that you make the above adjustment first and then see if this corrects itself. If it doesn’t, then you should try to correct this. The solution might involve things that seem unrelated like not dropping your glove, keeping your head and shoulders more upright, getting into foot strike quicker, etc. A side view video would be a big help here.

Some pitchers might do this because their lower body is too quick for their upper body and their arm has to take a shortened path to release. Others do it as a result of babying an injured shoulder. In any case, you can practice getting more extension but understand that the arm may become a bit slower and that will require an adjustment to your timing.

[quote=“jhuskey”]---------------------------------

Also, here is a frame-by-frame comparison of me with Scott Kazmir’s mechanics that I put together for comparison’s purposes.

Me vs. Kazmir


Also, FYI, my biggest problem is lack of velocity. I’m a big guy (6’5, 215), and I should be able to throw hard, but I can’t. When I’m pitching well I hit spots well, but I don’t throw near as hard as I think I should. Since I stride so closed I can’t get my hips opened up hardly at all ahead of my shoulders, which I think is a big problem. Anyone else have any ideas?

Thanks a lot, you guys are great.[/quote]
I’d say that short-arming is a big part of your velocity issue.


#3

Hey, thanks a lot Roger.

I already start on the far right side of the rubber, but I still feel that I stride too closed, because the drag line from my back foot points into the left-handed batter’s box, not straight at the plate. Also, I don’t see myself getting into this position:

When I’m at foot plant, it looks/feels like everything’s leaking open and I can’t get anything on the ball.

Thanks so much though, and keep the comments coming. I really want to perfect my mechanics and you guys really help me with that.


#4

double post


#5

Aside from arm action, which I think could use some work (I will send you some stuff), may I suggest that you try concentrating on landing on the INSIDE of your landing foot to help stabilize the entire motion. If you look at the Kazmir comparison, frames 13 - 17 or 18, you’ll notice how the landing leg shin is tilted to where the knee is WAY outside the foot (off to your right). This is not a very stable base to throw from. I’m only guessing here, but I suggest that it’s not providing a good “brake” for the forward momentum of the hips. This should stop the right hip cold and allow the left one to rotate around it. It could very well be “absorbing” some of the energy built up during the stride and not allowing it to be effectively transferred to the rotation of the hips and onward up the chain.

That doesn’t directly solve the landing closed problem but it’s something I would work on.

A side view would be great.


#6

Oh that’s great dm. That’ something I’ve noticed, but never really put my finger on what was really going on there. Any videos and things you could send my way regarding arm action would help a ton, as that’s an area I’m less than clear on.

I’ll get a side view when I throw next; probably Monday or so.

Thanks a lot guys. I’ve had Roger and dm59, I’d really like to hear Chris’s input, too.


#7

Here’s what I saw…

  1. I agree that the first frame shows a lot of problems. I agree that landing on your heel and striding closed are the least of your problems. It sure looks to me like you are rushing; that your arm isn’t up and ready for your shoulders to start turning. At this point I would prefer it if your glove was still pointed to the 1B side of Home Plate. You seem to point it DIRECTLY at the glove. That advice works for kids, but if you want to pick some MPH, you need to point the glove more up and to the 1B side of the plate because that will help to create tension in your torso. Pointing the glove higher would also keep your shoulders from tilting down so much (notice how Kazmir’s shoulders are more tilted backwards than yours). Finally, I don’t like how you elbow is above your shoulders in this frame.

  2. The second frame concerns me because it looks like you start turning your shoulders before your forearm is vertical. I believe that this will increase the strain on your shoulder. It does look like your hips are rotating fairly far ahead of your shoulders.

  3. You seem to hook/wrap your wrist after breaking your hands, which could cause control problems (and maybe some velocity problems since it implies tension in the wrist).

  4. You kick your foot out rather than keeping your foot under your knee.

  5. For a reason I can’t completely explain, I don’t like how your glove-side wrist is so wrapped, such that the fingers of your glove point at 3B. It just feels tense to me.

  6. Your arm action might improve if you broke your hands a little lower. More down by the waist than up at the letters. Your arm action might also improve if you didn’t keep your fingers on top of the ball so long. You might want to try showing the ball to 1B sooner after breaking your hands.

  7. You do do a good job of striding sideways, so the news isn’t all bad.

  8. One thing to notice in the comparison of you and Kazmir is that he kind of sweeps his leg around to the plate whereas you step directly at the plate. This will slow him down slightly to the plate, but it gives his arm more time to get up and into the High Cocked position. Freddy Garcia also does this, and it has the same effect.

  9. I think you could be overstriding somewhat.


#8

I think this is a very good way of describing what’s happening. Because your shoulders start turning so soon, you’re not creating the tension that is required to powerfully pull the shoulders around.

Do you try to turn your shoulders or do you wait for them to be pulled around by your hips?


#9

I don’t really think about my shoulder turn; I just think about trying to keep them closed as long as possible after my hips open.

So to recap so far…

From Roger:

  1. Get back foot drag line to point directly towards the plate.
  2. Possibly slow down my lower body to give my arm more time to get full extension towards the plate.

From dm59:

  1. Land on the inside of my stride foot. (I think this could help a lot; just thinking about it feels like it would really give me something to throw against)
  2. Improve arm action (Thanks a TON for the email)

From Chris:

  1. Keep glove pointed up and towards 1B side of home plate longer.
  2. Try to keep elbow below or at least even with shoulder.
  3. Get forearm vertical before foot strike/shoulders begin to turn.
  4. Stop hooking wrist.
  5. Keep glove-side foot under knee.

Chris, are you advocating giving the leg “sweep around” ala Kazmir/Garcia a try? I noticed that too; it seems like it really forces him to lead with his hip.

Thanks a lot, you guys are helping me more than you know. I’ll have side view video probably Monday or so, whenever I throw next. Hopefully you guys can keep helping me out.


On a side note, what strikes me as funny is that every pitching instructor I’ve had and everybody I’ve played with has told me I have really good mechanics. Seeing all the things I need to correct, I wonder how I was able to be at all successful throwing the way I do! :lol:


#10

A couple of notes about the recap.

Get back foot drag line to point directly towards the plate.
I propose guys that the toe drag is a result, not a cause and that focussing on trying to make the toe drag go in a certain direction is taking focus away from the important things.

Keep glove pointed up and towards 1B side of home plate longer.
This is not an absolute. Some do this pointing the glove thing but most don’t. If you really feel you must use this glove arm action, fine but be aware that it has the potential to create problems if you allow it the glove to roll over early, which you don’t, thankfully AND with that weight out there at the end of a long lever (your extended arm), you must NOT allow it to drop straight down from that point, causing premature opening of the front side. Most pros keep a bend in that elbow and sweep it across the front of the body at shoulder height, keeping the glove side thumb pointing downward to combat early opening.

Either way can work. Just be aware of the pitfalls of this particular motion.

Keep glove-side foot under knee.Again, some do, some don’t. Most sweep to some extent. There are those who say this is inefficient and there are those who say it’s beneficial. The important thing is whether or not you are landing on line (landing closed is one potential pitfall of sweeping) and if the timing of the parts is right.

[quote]I noticed that too; it seems like it really forces him to lead with his hip.[/quote]I think we’ve got the cart before the horse here. I’d suggest that it’s his hip thrust, combined with what he prefers with the leg, that results in the sweep. Just sweeping the leg can happen with very poor hip thrust and good hip thrust can happen by not sweeping.

Once again, these are personal preferences of various pitchers. They must be put into a proper, holistic context. Clemens has a short sweep while Kaz exaggerates it more.

[quote]On a side note, what strikes me as funny is that every pitching instructor I’ve had and everybody I’ve played with has told me I have really good mechanics. Seeing all the things I need to correct, I wonder how I was able to be at all successful throwing the way I do![/quote]Have they taken video of you and looked at it in slow motion or frame by frame and then compared this to what the pros are doing? Not too many I’ve run into actually do. I find that I just can’t see the finer points at full speed. The arm moves much too fast for that. You need video to see stuff.


#11

Just curious, where do you feel the bulk of your weight is when you are in your balance position? Is it on your heel? Spread evenly on your foot or over the ball of your foot?


#12

Definitely feels like it’s on my heel. Working to get where I land on the ball of my foot.


#13

Just try to land on the inside of the foot and not be too specific about being right on the ball of the foot.


#14

I should have been more specific…I’m talking about the top of your leg kick. Where do you feel the weight on your posting foot?


#15

Oh, gotcha. At the top of my leg kick it’s pretty even over my whole foot.


#16

Just a thought but it looks to me that your weight never gets over the ball of your foot. Pitchers can do this at various points but I suggest getting the button of you cap over the ball of your foot at the top of your leg kick. Then keep it there as the lead leg goes down and out. So when you are leading with your hip you should feel the weight on the ball of the foot. Now when you start moving off the back foot you should feel a lot stronger. (this is not easy to explain in writing so ask if you are not sure)

As for not extending your arm. Could be wrong but I would say you are guiding your arm into the “high cock” positon and then in an effort to throw “hard” at that point you “muscle up” and throw. So your arm is tense and doesn’t extend. The high cock postion is something you want accelerate through not “get into”. Make sense?

But I would start with your balance point sense that is the earliest possible problem and go from there. ONe correction at a time. sometimes correcting something early in a motion will take care of another problem later in the motion. Good Luck. Let me know how it goes.


#17

I took some video of me throwing today from the first base side, and noticed a couple things. I’ll post it tomorrow or so so I can get everyone’s opinion.

  1. When I broke my hands early (right at the top of leg kick) and really concentrated on getting my glove shoulder up and above me throwing shoulder, like this:

and really got up and over, my velocity increased A LOT. But the ones I threw the hardest I missed way up, which leads me to…

  1. I may be overstriding. I felt like I couldn’t get my chest out over my front foot. Instead of driving my chest towards the plate, it felt like I had to throw “over” my chest, if that makes any sense.

What are some symptoms of overstriding? Any ideas guys? Thanks a lot, and I’ll get my video posted a little later.


#18

If you actually are overstriding, funny things can happen. If you’re lengthening out your stride by simply trying to get the front foot out there farther, sure, you might have difficulty getting up onto that front leg. If your stride is the result of your centre of gravity being driven sideways for a longer period of time, and your back leg action effectively assists with this and hip rotation, then you should be able to get the chest out there. You don’t stride for the sake of striding. There’s a purpose to it.

Think about rotating your core and knees into landing, assisted by the back foot extension and rolling over onto the laces. Don’t just reach with the foot.

As for missing way up, fix the stride issue and then evaluate. The other thing is to get your body and mind used to all of this new stuff. Control’s a “feel” kind of thing. It comes from good mechanics, yes, but that has to be combined with lots of trial and error with mechanics that are repeatable.


#19

Oh, and about the shoulder tilting thing, I’d guess that you’re over exaggerating it and that this is causing a timing issue at release. It could be the culprit in the missing high issue.


#20

[quote=“jhuskey”]So to recap so far…

From Roger:

  1. Get back foot drag line to point directly towards the plate.
  2. Possibly slow down my lower body to give my arm more time to get full extension towards the plate.[/quote]

These are not really correct interpretations of my comments.

Regarding the back foot drag line, I did not say to get it to point directly at the plate. I said to position yourself on the rubber so that the drag line finishes on a line drawn from the center of the rubber to the center of home plate. It will start on the right side of the rubber where your pivot foot turns over. In other words, you need to be striding toward this center line instead of away from it. This minimizes the consequences of striding in a closed direction.

The direction of the drag line is an indicator of your mechanical efficiency in that it indicates the direction you are directing your energy. For example, a side arm thrower will wind up and then unwind and the back foot will often follow a similar path that the throwing arm takes which means the drag line will often take a curved path out to the side. This indicates that a lot of energy was directed in that direction instead of directly towards home plate. So, do you correct it? You can or you can make some adjustments to accomodate it such as the one I suggested above. Correcting it will usually take bigger adjustments than will accomodating it. But, since you confirmed that you’re already starting on the right side of the rubber, then you have pretty much already made this adjustment. If this isn’t enough then you still might need to correct it and that takes figuring out the cause.

Regarding slowing down the lower body, I wasn’t really recommending that. In fact, I only recommend that when a pitcher uses a very quick slide step or does, in fact, stride too far. And those are rare cases. Normally, I am recommending that pitchers get their hips going toward their target sooner and faster.

In any case, I’ve taken another look at your video sequence to see if I could figure out why you are striding to the closed side. The only thing I notice is that as you go into knee lift you seem to drift towards 1B. (Watch the path your head takes.) Thus, when you come out of the knee lift and stride into foot strike, you are already on the closed side compared to where you started. Now, I think I see this but I suppose it could just be an artifact of the camera angle. However, assuming I am seeing this correctly, I think it could be related to how much you rotate your shoulders and hips away from the target at knee lift. This leaves you in a position to stride to the closed side. Reducing the reverse rotation may help you stride more towards home plate.