Looking to expand my pitching knowledge, I have a few of Tom House’s books. What are some other books about pitching mechanics that are good?
There are loads of pitching books available, and over the years I’ve read a lot of them—but nothing compares to the experiences I had as a young pitcher who wanted to be more effective. I was extremely fortunate to have as my pitching coach for a few years a guy named Eddie Lopat, one of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation from 1948 to the middle of 1955, and what I learned from him was nothing short of priceless. It all started with my burning curiosity about the slider, and when I caught up to him and said that I just wanted to ask him something about it his response was to take me aside and show me how to throw a good one. That started it, and over the next few years he helped me become a better pitcher.
Sure, reading about pitching, mechanics and all, can provide useful information, but nothing beats hooking up with a really good pitching coach and working with him. You might think about that. 8)
You didn’t say which of Tom House’s books you have read; however, I think he really nailed some important findings from years of high-speed motion analysis work on elite pitchers in “The Picture Perfect Pitcher”.
A bit later, “The Art and Science of Pitching” filled in much more detail and elaborated on specific things pitchers need to do to train and condition themselves for optimizing their persoanl delivery mechanics.
“Arm Acton, Arm Path, and the Perfect Pitch: Building a Million-Dollar Arm” is a worthy extension and refinement of “The Art and Science of Pitching” and it includes a DVD with up-to-date instructional video.
Like Zita, I’ve also read many different pitching books over the years. I enjoyed reading Tom Seavers’ book–but not exactly for the right reasons. That is, even though it was useful to read the personal thoughts of one of the all-time pitching greats about motivation and attitude, I thought Seavers’ technical discussion of pitching was thin and poorly written. For an extremely interesting read that has nothing to do with mechanics per se, try to find a copy of Nolan Ryan’s “Kings of the Hill”. It is full of great stories and opinions about pitchers that, when read carefully, can also give the reader a very good idea of the types of characteristics that Ryan believed led to successful pitchers.
There are lots of really poor books on pitching mechanics–most of these are authored by former MLB pitchers who thought they had something to offer, and some are written by lesser-known coaches who thought they had something to offer. You can spend a lot of money on pitching books, and even more time reading them, to find out that the nuggets of value are usually mixed in with lots of b.s. and it is sometimes hard to tell the difference.
Just for example, IMO John Bagonzi’s popular book is a curious mixture of baloney (for example, his ideas about high-3/4 being the “only” arm-slot–retrain yourself if your arm-slot isn’t high 3/4! doh!) along with some valuable advice (for example, he thoughtfully champions the idea of youth pitchers developing and using a breaking ball to complement their fastball).
Finally, I agree with Zita’s sentiment about working with a live pitching coach. Reading can only get you so far…at some point, you need to use what you’ve learned from reading to enable you to make wise choices about the information and training you can get from a pitching coach.
Just like the written literature on pitching, the spectrum of pitching coaches can run from great, good, indifferent, bad, to disastrous…from your reading try to develop and use a healthy b.s.-meter to help you navigate toward the good-to-great end of the coaching spectrum. If you find yourself saddled with an indifferent or bad coach, say in school…where you may not have a choice in the matter, use what you’ve learned from the best literature to strengthen your internal resolve to do what’s right for you while you avoid alienating the not-so-good coach in your life. That can be a tricky line to walk, but it can be done.
I can agree with you guys, theres just so much stuff out there, I wanted your opinion on the matter. Thanks!