Frame By Frame Analysis - Sandy Koufax

I have just finished an analysis of Sandy Koufax’s pitching motion and mechanics using a number of frames from a single clip that I have laid out using Powerpoint…

Once the document loads, use the page up and page down buttons to go frame by frame through the clip.

One thing that’s interesting about this clip is watching Koufax get his lower body moving toward HP as he is in his leg lift.

So with the lack of counter rotation, the ball pointing toward first and the perfect timing, and good pronation, which can lead to pronator teres syndrome if one is genetically predisposed, why did he have arm problems throughout his career and an early end to his career?

I’ll tell you why, because the mechanics aren’t as important as the genetics and the conditioning when it comes to arm health.

Some professional pitchers could throw 7 days a week and some have to be limited to 3 days a week. The difference isn’t mechanics, it is heredity.

Now I’ll admit that one of the reasons Koufax ended up with such serious arm problems was the maltreatment he received from the team doctors who constantly shot up his elbow with steroids to try and relieve the pain but the root of the problem was simply genetic in nature. Most people don’t realize it but there are incredible variations from person to person in the way tendons attach, type of attachment and how many tendons and ligaments there are.

When it comes to arm health I’ll take a Scott Shields with poor mechanics over a Mark Prior with perfect mechanics every time. I’m not saying that Shields’ mechanics are poor or that Prior’s are good. I’m saying that Shields has a rubber arm and that trumps mechanics every time.

Now if you want to talk about the contribution of mechanics to velocity, then it makes sense that poor mechanics can keep a pitcher from reaching their genetic potential but as far as arm health unless a pitcher has extremely poor mechanics they really don’t make much difference.

Just one comment on this one…

At slide 26 you point out how he hooks his throwing wrist. Notice also that he’s hooking the glove wrist. There’s that darned equal and opposite thing creeping in again. :wink:

Just couldn’t resist, eh Roger? :lol: