Hip and shoulder separation

I know what it is and what it’s supposed to look like, but for some reason I can’t do it. I have tried forcefully rotating my hips earlier, landing earlier, etc. This really makes me mad because I know I can throw a lot harder and get the most out of my body and I’m not. So what I’m asking is, what do I do? How can I get great hip and shoulder separation, are there any drills, or key checkpoints I need to look for in a video of my pitching mechanics? I desperatly need to find a solution that works. thanks

If you post a video we can tell you whats wrong. You need to post a video. It’s probably a timing problem because your not getting enough momentum. You shouldnt be thinking about hip/shoulder seperation that is your main problem.


I like a drill called the Rocker drill for this.

Here’s the drill, although it’s of course easier to understand if you see someone demo it.

The set-up:

Requires a partner, who will catch the ball from a distance of 15 - 20 yards away. If the partner is another pitcher who is also performing the Rocker drill on his throw-back to you, so much the better. This is a flat-ground drill.

Come set and go through your motion until the footstrike point. “Freeze” yourself at that point for a moment. What should you look like at this point in your motion? Your shoulders should be closed, and the majority of people–you, for sure, from your description–will also have closed hips at this point. Your throwing arm will be directed away from HP, with some characteristic angles at elbow and wrist that are part of your individual throwing signature. Your glove-side arm will be directed toward HP–at this point your glove arm should have the same elbow/wrist angles as your throwing arm. In NPA/Tom House parlance this is called “opposite and equal” arms. If you’re not sure what your "“opposite and equal” arms look like at the moment of footstrike in your normal delivery, you should try to get a photo or some video of yourself or ask someone to watch your delivery closely so they can be a “mirror” for you.

The drill:

Okay, you’re at footstrike position with both arms in your individual, correct position to begin the launch of the baseball.

Keeping your shoulders back (closed) shift your weight forward over your legs and open your hips (i.e., rotate just your hips forward toward HP–keep those shoulders closed. Now, weight shift back to the original position, re-closing your hips. Okay, forward again, opening the hips, keeping the shoulders closed. Back again closing the hips.

Although I think the drill was originally named after John Rocker, it’s also called the “rocker” drill because these reps will have you “rocking” back and forth over your legs at your typical footstrike. While rocking back and forth in this way, you should start to get a feel for independent rotation of your hips while keeping your shoulders closed. In the all-closed starting position, your hip/shoulder separation will be zero. At the hips-open, shoulders closed position (end of the rock forward) your hip/shoulder separation will be at your current maximum (somewhere between 40 and 60 degrees of separation is really good).

Jim Dixon believed that only 5-10% of the population “get it” naturally in their throwing or hitting motions. The rest of us must learn it, or we will be selected out of competitive baseball playing at some level (Little League, in my own case). Of the 5-10% of the lucky ones, most of them will also get selected out of baseball for other reasons, but they probably have a better chance to go farther than the rest of us. However, if you can learn this athletic use of the musculature, and learn the same timing and sequencing as the guys who are just born with it, then it’s at least plausible you will have the same chance to progress in baseball as the 5-10% of “gifted” athletes.

The End of the Drill:

Okay, so you’ve forward-and-back shifted your weight a few times, opening and closing your hips while always keeping your shoulders closed. Make sure your partner is paying attention! After a few of theses reps, you are going to throw the ball as you rock forward. Thus, you will weight shift forward over your legs, your hips will open as far as possible while still keeping your shoulders closed, but this time you’re not rocking back–you proceed into the rest of your delivery and throw that 'tater to your partner.

Then he does the same thing, and you start all over again.

There you have it: The Rocker Drill.

Thanks a lot for that drill, I’ll try it.

Zk go on aim so we can talk about your mechanics

Aren’t the hips supposed to open right before the foot plants?

Only enough to let the front foot/leg open into foot plant. The remainder/majority of hip rotation occurs after the front leg firms up and braces.

gymn@st, what’s your s/n?

The first video is me doing the suggested drill, am I doing it right?

This second video is me throwing after I performed the drill.


Yes, you are doing the Rocker drill very well in the first video clip.

It looked to me from the 2nd video that you may have already started to get the desired result, that is, increased hip/shoulder separation, in your throwing motion.

More importantly, what do you think? Did the drill help you to isolate the feeling of optimum hip-shoulder separation and delayed shoulder rotation?

I like the drill, it’s something I’m going to do a lot though if I want those desired results. thanks