Front shoulder height

I am a pitching coach in a large midwest city. Some of the “academy” pitching coaches are teaching throwing the front side (glove side) elbow well above the back side shoulder during the stride and before release (as well as dropping the back shoulder). I understand “the tilt” and I can MAYBE see the benefit of some velocity for the one percent power pitchers. But for most, I just dont get it. It interferes with focus on the catchers glove and it has to be timed just right - because it also interferes with control. Unfortunately when these pitchers miss - they miss up in the zone.

Part 2 of the problem I have with this is not only does leaving the ball up get you hit hard, but the strike zone is no longer under the letters. Its pretty rare that the belt high pitch is getting called for a strike.

Is anyone else seeing this trend? I do see some MLB pitchers doing this, but they the ones who usually throw every pitch with 100% effort. Can someone explain it to me?

Everyone wants the success Lincecum has had.
Yes I’ve seen it…whattya gonna do?..keep working kids in the way you know best…those guys will be preaching the next flavor of the month in a minute.
Success over time has a way of quieting the lemmings following “current thought”. Now that doesn’t mean don’t change when it makes sense but changing methodology like you can the old drawers is not imo productive.

I agree with jd, it’s a style that has been made popular by Lincecum, it definitely isn’t a style for every pitcher, actually it’s a style for very few pitchers. For the balance of the athletes you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, good solid balanced mechanics are what works for the majority of pitchers.

Andy Petitte probably contributed to the idea as well. :wink:

pettite, koufax, feller, pedro, clemens, guidry, gossage, most of the high velocity guys. if you want the ball lower, throw it down. i have literally had the catcher place the glove on the ground behind the plate if a kid was having trouble getting the ball up.

bundy, bauer and bradley were all first round picks last june and all throw with tilt and leverage. it’s not easy and requires work, but if you want to play past high school you may want to consider it.

[quote=“dusty delso”]pettite, koufax, feller, pedro, clemens, guidry, gossage, most of the high velocity guys. if you want the ball lower, throw it down. i have literally had the catcher place the glove on the ground behind the plate if a kid was having trouble getting the ball up.

bundy, bauer and bradley were all first round picks last june and all throw with tilt and leverage. it’s not easy and requires work, but if you want to play past high school you may want to consider it.[/quote]

I don’t think tilting should be implemented to improve your pitching unless they naturally do it. It can help improve velocity by allowing you to lead with the hips and it does improve deception, but its much harder to repeat your delivery. There are easier ways to lead with the hips and generate velocity that are less likely to be detrimental to your control.

what ways are you suggesting and can you give me some examples of someone who throws that way. i’m always interested to learn something new or different.

Some hard throwing pitchers do extend their glove high, but not nearly all of them.

Lincecum being on the extreme end.

Saying that it is necessary, or that all or most hard throwing pitchers do it seems far from the truth.

I’m suggesting that you lead with the hips by either rotating your torso backwards slightly when going into balance point or bringing back your leg a bit when going into balance point. The torso rotation is embodied by Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, Erik Bedard, etc. The second way is less extreme and thats having your front leg parallel with your back hip, not the front hip, when you go into your balance point. This is embodied by probably 90% of all professional pitchers and this is the motion you’ll see when you do the Hershiser drill. Some MLB pitchers that do this are Sergio Romo, Brian Wilson, Mariano Rivera, just to name a few.
Basically, there are different ways to lead with your hip to gain more momentum, and tilting your shoulders is an acceptable way. However, to repeat this delivery is more difficult because you take your eyes off your target and its harder to stay in control of your body when your head is tilted. Unless its naturally a part of their delivery, I would recommend trying these other two ways first before trying shoulder tilt.
Hope that helps.

as long as you lead with the hips as far as possible and rotate as late as possible you’re going to create leverage. if you’re throwing hard enough and getting people out go for it. if you’re looking for some extra and will work hard enough to control it, get some tilt and let it fly. most youth and high school pitchers i see relly worry aout being pretty and have these wonderful wind ups which is fine, just don’t forget to throw the @#$^&#%$ out of the ball after your front foot lands and your shoulders/chest are over or in front of your stride leg knee. do that and finish with your throwing arm loose and throwing hand on the glove side of your body you’ll be ok. the most important part of the throwing motion is from just after breaking the glove to release. i think nyman is right and his e-book on throwing is a work of art. my old computer crashed and i lost it, i want to get it on my new computer but haven’t yet. if you’re serious about throwing hard i think it is a must read along with the koufax and ryan stuff.

All the discussion about whether or not tilt is good bad or indifferent isn’t the point the op was making…“just changing guys” in an arbitrary way (Particularly if they are already working on mechs with someone else)…just because someone else is successful, does not seem to be in the best interest of the player…I mean why not have them all spin off like Gibby used to or load so much that they turn their back to the catcher as Louis Tiant used to, both of them dominated…both reside in Cooperstown.
Dusty you are a very wise and experienced coach, you may introduce this to some of your guys…or all of them, if (Now this is just the impression I get from reading you for a couple of years now) they have the capacity and conditioning…I don’t think you’d be throwing this little gem at new guys just walking in the door…until you were satisfyed with their mechs enough to “advance” them a bit…Of course I could be wrong…


Mr. Nyman and SETPRO have taught me that just letting it fly is the best thing. I went to a Wolforth Bootcamp also about a week ago and it was the most enjoyable 3 days of my life.

jd you are exactly right. i am talking here about kids who are looking for more velocity or trying to reach their maximum velocity. this isn’t for everybody but i think it is something a kid should try.

my first lesson with any pitcher or thrower is always throwing with a running start into the end of the cage after getting loose. i just try to get them moving and throwing using big muscles. also have them throw medicine balls into a wall to get their body working as a unit. then move to running away from the end of the cage they are throwing into, plant the pivot or back foot, and spring off it toward the end of the cage to throw the ball as far in front of them as they possibly can. i am trying to get them used to shifting their weight and the majority of this is done at 70% effort and turn it up a few at the end.

then we go to what i think separates the men from the boys (and this can take a month or more before they are ready) and that is to get the hips way out front, and i do this by standing behind them and holding them under the glove side armpit while pushing their backside hip as far forward as i can and having them throw into the end of the cage. also place their stride or front foot on a folding chair 3/4 of the way down the mound with hands broke and getting ready to come up to throwing position and have them pick their foot up off the chair, i move it out of the way and they throw. this works nice.

the last thing i usually do is what i call the nyman drill to activate stretch reflex in the shoulder. when they get used to throwing getting the hips in front, they need to do nyman’s scapular loading by pinching the shoulder blades in the back and throwing the back of the throwing hand backward above the elbow to stretch the connective tissues of the arm/shoulder to throw the ball with their near maximum velocity. this requires great timing to keep the kinetic chain going but is magical when they do it right. i firmly believe it is what high level throwers do to get unbelievable quickness from the moment the ball stops going backward and starts moving forward to release (see the mlb pure heat dvd). high level pitchers are off the charts during this point in the throwing motion. the only way i know how to do this is to hyperextend the connective tissues in the shoulder (safely) and time that wave of energy to catch the energy coming from the trunk of the body as the front leg stops the body going forward and transfers the force created into the shoulder and arm. (note we haven’t thrown to a target yet. kids get careful throwing at targets and i want them to learn to throw then pitch. some guys do it the other way around: doesn’t work for me but i may be dead wrong)

this requires guys who are athletes and willing to go through the repetitions to learn this complex seamless dance. if you stop or misdirect it you leak out the energy you work so hard to create. there are many styles that can do this and we spend a lot of time talking about styles in forums. i think there are a few critical things you have to do to pitch well and everything else is preference and style that we argue about.

you have to try things and see if they work for you. walter johnson achieved connective stretch and leverage much different than koufax, but both were two of the best to ever play and generated great hand speed to throw the ball.

nice thread, hopefully didn’t completely hijack it. my guy catches now and i’m trying to figure out how to do this behind the plate and consistently get the ball to 2b in under 2 seconds and the magical 1.9 number where you make big money if you can hit.

Im torn. The reason I was successful in High School and College was that I did not think I could get by on velocity. Most High School pitchers I get come in with average velocity. These are the pitchers that seem to have the most success. We work on spotting the fastball, knowing when to use offspeed, and pitching backwards. In 10 years we average about 3 walks a game and about one strikeout per inning. Its not great, but it keeps us in 95 percent of our games. I preach that pitching is being able to give your team a chance to win when you dont have your best stuff.

But we dont get a lot of pitchers going to the next level because they do not light up the radar gun. Kids need to learn how to pitch before they get out of high school or they will have a hard time getting it at the next level. Its a lot like learning how to study before going to college. You cant just get by on natural ability or throwing hard. Im telling you, its much easier to teach velocity than control and intelligence.

The stats dont lie. I had 2 all state pitchers as Jr’s who did not even get honorable mention their Sr year. All they did in the offseason was go get private velocity instruction. Walks went up as did pitch count and location. EVERY one of them was throwing the front elbow to the heavens while playing catch. It drove me nuts. We were successfull as underclassmen because they changed speeds and threw strikes.

Give me a staff of low 80’s kids who throw strikes and can get offspeed over for a strike.

There is a kid here who gets the same private instruction as the kids I discussed earlier. He is in Middle School, is already throwing high 70’s and is over 6 foot. He came out one day for a fall camp. His stride was shorter than mine (He was 4 inches taller than me). Every pitch was up in the zone. I showed him where I stride in comparison to him. He never came back. He and his parents were upset I was trying to change his mechanics.

I have had very little success with max effort pitchers. They drive me crazy. Walks literally kill you in high school. And it does not help that you can watch a World Series game and see a short reliever come in and walk a run in and its no big deal. Hell, the cardinals would not have got IN the playoffs if not for Carlos Marmol walking the bases loaded and throwing a wild pitch.

Paul if you’re seeing these please make that ebook available again!

I too lost access to it…



if you can throw the offspeed over the plate and pitch backwards you have the majority of the battle won. you can win with a below average fastball. if it moves late at 85-6 it’s not below average it’s a plus fastball (ask greg maddux). if 82-84 is getting mashed you have to do something. if you can’t throw strikes when needed you are worthless on the mound.