Flatground pitching?


#1

Hey there, I am just wondering if practicing pitching mechanics on a flatground is bad for you? I dont really have a park with a mound anywhere nearby for atleast 4 miles so i was wondering is practicing mechanics on just a flat mound at my nearby park will do the job.


#2

No, it is good being on the flat ground, it reduces the stress on you arm. Being elevated is important, but you can def work on your mechanics on the flat ground. its prob better to work mechanics throwing flat grounds, work on: stepping strait to home, breaking you hards early, balancing, and keeping your elbow up. also long toss on a schedule to gain some velo


#3

and i am a lefty to. i am the ace at my college and dont throw but 84-85. stay smooth my brother and pitch dont aim. break your hands early, at the peek of you leg kick. you’ll be fine leftys are golden. and develop a good off-speed and breaking pitch. both for strikes.


#4

Thanks for the advice big time dude. I was scared to practice mechanics on flatground for awhile thinking it would screw me up. Oh yeah nice to meet you im Adrian


#5

Why do you think flat ground pitching is less stressful on your arm? And why do you recommend an early hand break?


#6

[quote=“structuredoc”]Why do you think flat ground pitching is less stressful on your arm? And why do you recommend an early hand break?[/quote]I’m with you structuredoc.


#7

I hate the early hand break.

Of course it’s better to practice on a mound because that’s what your going to be using when your performing. We all know stride lengths and angles are different on a mound vs. flatground. If flat work is all you have, well, it’s better than nothing.


#8

If you really believe that flat ground reduces the stress on your arm, go to http://asmiforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=1272 and look at the 2nd post made by Dr Fleisig.


#9

House’s reasoning concerning flat-ground vs. mound pitching is impeccable, in my opinion.

House correctly recognized that pitchers accelerate to higher speeds pitching on a downhill slope than they can on flat-ground, even if the force expended by the pitcher is the same on both surfaces. Hint: For the physics-challenged, add a factor derived from [(earth’s gravitational force) x (pitcher’s mass)] from leg-lift to foot-plant to understand the extra giddyup from the mound.

So, where is the extra stress? After release of the baseball, several groups of decelerator muscles need to slow everything down from release velocity to zero velocity in a very short time.

So, in summary, the “free” acceleration boost you get from the gravitational force when pitching on a mound turns out not to be free after all. You must pay for that accelerating force with extra stresses to your decelerator musculature while slowing down.

I’m sure Glenn Fleisig is aware that any given pitcher can accelerate to higher velocities at the release point when pitching on a downhill slope than he can from a flat surface.

If you wanted to take this simple problem in another illustrative direction, imagine turning around and throwing from the base of the mound…that is, throwing uphill, during which time you would be fighting against the gravitational force. In that case, you would have to add extra stress to the acceleration phase of the delivery to get the same release speed you could get on flat-ground, but gravity would help you slow down after release.

In fact, you could probably do some very revealing experiments with a radar gun if you don’t believe the ideas are correct…

Whether the biomechanics of picthing downhill vs flat-ground are close enough to use flat-ground for pitcher training is a matter of debate. Tom House, and most of organized baseball, thinks flat-ground throwing is a close enough model of mound-throwing that it is very useful to get high numbers of reps that way.


#10

[quote=“laflippin”]
Whether the biomechanics of picthing downhill vs flat-ground are close enough to use flat-ground for pitcher training is a matter of debate. Tom House, and most of organized baseball, thinks flat-ground throwing is a close enough model of mound-throwing that it is very useful to get high numbers of reps that way.[/quote]

I like flat ground throwing for throwing. But mounds for pitching. Very rarely once you get to college and pro ball do pitchers “pitch” from flat ground, in my experience. At least me and my teammates didn’t. Seems like MANY pitchers in high school and younger do pitch from flat ground, but I would argue that it has more to do with not having a mound (or a good mound). In this case, flat ground is fine. It’s just not the preferred choice, in my opinion.

Even from the mound, you can bring the catcher up to 45 feet is the issue is one of it being too much of a work load.

Of course, we all long tossed and short tossed on flat ground…


#11

OK Steven, here’s a chance for you to add to my knowledge of what professional pitchers think about certain things. It isn’t a trick question and I don’t have an alligators to bite you on the backside. :wink:

If you had the opportunity, which would you choose as a practice environment.

A properly set up game mound at a field, a bullpen mound that’s not in the best of shape, beautiful flat turf.

The #1 catcher on the team, one of the alternate catchers, some other player who wasn’t a catcher?

No batter, BP, the best hitters on the team?

It was just gonna be you and a catcher, you, a catcher and some other pitchers to watch and help, you, a catcher and a professional quality pitching coach?

Does choosing which environment vary with the different points in a career from grade school to the MiL?


#12

Steven,

There might be some semantic challenges with this discussion. The OP’s question, if I understood it, was asking whether practicing flat-ground throwing mechanics are okay for training to pitch. (He apparently lives pretty far from the nearest mound).

Let me venture to suggest that all of the long-toss and short-toss throwing that you did from flat-ground as a pitcher was actually just more training for pitching from a mound.

If it wasn’t, why would you do it? Pitchers aren’t called on to make throws from outfield distances and they only occasionally need to make infield throws from flat ground.

Long-toss is sometimes characterized as “strength training” for pitchers more than “mechanics training” but that seems like an artificial distinction…long-toss actually strengthens and conditions the same basic muscle groups, in the same sequence, that you use for pitching. If it doesn’t, then pitchers who do it are in trouble because they are training and strengthening muscles to do something very different than their main job.

The biggest difference between typical long-toss mechanics and pitching mechanics looks to me like it’s in the footwork.


#13

My son’s pitching coach recommends pitching only from a mound. His rationale is that he wants him to get the feeling of throwing downhill and have the sensation of falling off the mound.

When my son first started working with him he had a issue and said it looked like he threw a lot off flat ground which was true. Now he does work on mechanics (staying on line, extension etc) off flat ground but that is typically at 45 feet.

One thought if you don’t live close to a field is to build a portable mound. For $125 in materials and common hand tools you can build a portable mound out of standard dimension lumber and plywood. It is much easier than building and maintaining a mound and gives a realistic alternative to a real mound.


#14

I agree that you should always pitch from a mound, he won’t pitch from flat ground in a game…so why in practice?


#15

When pitching, as opposed to throwing, one is attempting to hit small targets, at a very specific distance, repeatedly and in an environment where the front foot lands at an elevation below the rear foot, or where he started. All of the relative positioning of the body parts and the release point need to be such that the result for a particular pitcher is to hit that specific target. It’s all about feel, or kinesthetic awareness, or whatever you want to call it. Practice in an environment that is different from that will not directly transfer regarding the skill of hitting those targets in this environment. There may be other benefits of flat ground practice but its value in “pitching” to targets from a mound is questionable. As an anecdotal case, when my son was younger, we did a lot of flat ground work. His accuracy was terrible. He could throw a ton but couldn’t hit the strike zone. Then I constructed a makeshift mound and we started to practice there. What a difference in his accuracy after a very short amount of specific practice. Huge difference!

Now, I can’t argue with the deceleration issue laflippin brought up but there may be a case for training for it in that specific environment. The other factor to consider in the decel discussion is effort level, although changing that can also change the degree of transfer from practice to performance.


#16

Again, minor league and major league pitchers just don’t “pitch” from flat ground, in my experience. But we also had 10 dedicated bullpen mounds (called the “Ten Pen”) at our Spring Training facility in Arizona, as well as 4 additional bullpen mounds (two on each side of the field) at each of our four baseball fields.

And, of course, every team has 3-4 catchers, 2-3 of which essentially are dedicated bullpen catchers. So our pitchers were never ever without a catcher when a bullpen session was scheduled.

I “GET it” that most amateur teams have 1 catcher and maybe 1-2 mounds to throw from. And that during a 1-2 hour practice, unless the same catcher catches EVERY bullpen from that 1 mound, back to back, it’s almost impossible to get every pitcher off a mound. YET, they still need to throw.

I just don’t have a good solution, other than get more catchers and build more bullpens!


#17

Very thoughtful discussion from you as usual, dm59.

The topic seems really important, because most pitchers do lots and lots of long-toss in addition to all the other things they do for conditioning/training.

Perhaps the best answer is that highly motivated pitchers should always train and condition themselves from a regulation mound at whatever distance they are currently pitching at. Although it is really clear that mound-throwing is more stressful on the decelerator muscle groups than flat-ground is, pitchers can nevertheless do specialized work to strengthen those muscle groups proportionately to their needs if they know what the issues are. To me that seems like a very plausible approach.

At some point along the way, the question comes up: “Is flat-ground throwing actually counter-productive for pitchers?”


#18

[quote=“dave78063”]My son’s pitching coach recommends pitching only from a mound. His rationale is that he wants him to get the feeling of throwing downhill and have the sensation of falling off the mound.

When my son first started working with him he had a issue and said it looked like he threw a lot off flat ground which was true. Now he does work on mechanics (staying on line, extension etc) off flat ground but that is typically at 45 feet.

One thought if you don’t live close to a field is to build a portable mound. For $125 in materials and common hand tools you can build a portable mound out of standard dimension lumber and plywood. It is much easier than building and maintaining a mound and gives a realistic alternative to a real mound.[/quote]

A real mound is not unmanageable. I put one in this year on the side of the house so it gets shade during the hot summer months. Seeded around the mound (imported topsoil for the mound), and put some sand & clay mixture 6" around the rubber and along the area where he dismounts. Hopefully, next spring the grass will come back and it can be mowed along with rest of the yard. If the grass doesn’t blend in next year, I can always take it out and reseed.


#19

Actually you would be surprised that in games i still pitch on a flatground once in a while. Usually when we go to play cheap parks they dont have a mound so we have to pitch on a flatground. I do not know how high school is going to be but i know that parks in chicago are not the best at all. So im expecting quite a few games on either a horrible mound or flat ground.


#20

Actually you would be surprised that in games i still pitch on a flatground once in a while. Usually when we go to play cheap parks they dont have a mound so we have to pitch on a flatground. I do not know how high school is going to be but i know that parks in chicago are not the best at all. So im expecting quite a few games on either a horrible mound or flat ground.[/quote]

There may be a slight adjustment if you’re used to pitching from flat ground and then moving to more mound pitching … You may have trouble initially getting the ball down. BUT, you’ll probably start throwing harder and your changeup will be MUCH better.