How much velocity can you really gain?

My brother and I were discussing this site, and I was telling him to check it out - see what he thinks, and offer some analysis as well… He played all the way through college, unfortunately never made the bigs.

We were discussing, how much does proper mechanics really add to your velocity? He seemed to think 4-5 mph tops… Also, most people are just born to be able to throw hard - in the genes if you will…

Does 4-5 mph sound right to you guys? I guess it may vary, depending on what kind of mehcanics the person is starting with - lets say average mechanics, to spot on mechanics…

Based on what some of the guys on this site have been able to do, I’d say that 4-5 MPH is low. If I had to guess, I’d say that some people could pick up 10 MPH or more. The worse the mechanics, the bigger the potential gain.

However, it will vary from person to person based on genetic factors (e.g. muscles and coordination).

I think 10 is about right, on average.

But you also gotta factor in how screwed up was the kids mechanics before he made them proper. If a guy has good mechanics to start with and he jest does a couple tweaks here and there, trying to be as perfect as can be, then I’d guess 5 mph is the ceiling on that.

Over what period of time? I’ve heard it’s reasonable to gain 5 mph post puberty, and potentially 3-4 mph per year post that, so as an example (Considering you grow with some consistancy and remain healthy) you throw 70 as a 13/14 yr old, it would be reasonable to gain, with full transfer out of puberty, 5 mph to 75 at 15 and so forth. I’ve heard this as a rule of thumb “general”, speed growth over time. For some it’s a gradual slope up, some it’s a gain a seeming peak and then some more growth. Heck it is so variable due to external factors that it could be what ever you say for whom ever you say.

I guess you could look at all kinds of scenarios… but I guess I was thinking from a standpoint, you already have full arm strength - maybe between 18-20 yrs old? and you have average mechanics… what kind of boost could you get on velocity w/perferct mechanics.

Even if we took me as an example, I think I have average mechanics - having no formal coaching. I can throw high 70’s to low 80’s. I wouldn’t expect to gain 10 mph, on picture perfect mechanics - I think the best I could expect is 4-5 mph.

I’m thinking about 95% of velocity comes from god given talent, and the rest can be obtained from proper form.

I sure wouldn’t complain with gaining an extra 4-5 mph, with fine tuning my mechanics…

Here’s something to think about…

If you can move your release point 12" closer to home plate, that increases the “perceived velocity” by 3mph. That is, with the release point closer to home plate, the batter has less time to see and react to the ball - about the same as if you had thrown it 3mph faster. If your mechanics are such that you have a signficant posture problem or you open up early, the your release point is already being pulled back and moving it 12" closer to home plate is not out of the question.

But the same mechanical improvements necessary to move your release point closer to home plate will also allow you to better use your body to throw and that should net you at least a couple mph I’d think.

So, in terms of “perceived velocity”, 4-6mph is probably possible depending on your current mechanics. In terms of actual velocity (i.e. what a radar gun says), I’d expect 3-4mph. But I generally don’t concern myself with velocity - I don’t normally check it. Instead, I strive for good mechanics and let velocity happen. So I don’t really know for sure.

But let’s not forget that good mechanics also helps the arm stay healthy.

I think that this is one of House’s more questionable ideas.

Why?

Why?[/quote]

Because in the effort to create perceived velocity, I think you could interfere with the body’s ability to create actual velocity.

To release the ball closer to the plate, you have to do this like leaning farther forward at the release point and taking too long of a stride. Both of those things can interfere with the smooth rotation of the torso.

Moving the release point 1 ft. closer to home results in a change in reaction time equivalent to increasing the velocity by about 1.6 mph, not 3 mph. I did the calculation assuming an average velocity of 84 mph which would be about an 88 mph fastball on the gun. It also doesn’t mean much if anything in any case. The speed at which the ball approaches the plate is much more important than the reaction time.

How many of those kids making contact with 70+ mph fastballs in LL do you think would be able to hit a 90+ mph fastball from a regulation mound? Few or none. Absolute velocity is much more meaningful than reaction time. For those who argue that releasing the ball closer to home means the ball has slowed down less the difference is negligible.

How much of a difference can mechanics make? Usually not much. Unless the mechanics are really bad or they are throwing submarine a pitcher is going to throw the ball about the same speed regardless. There’ll be a difference in how much stress there is on the arm due to the mechanics but they’ll generally throw up to the capability of their arm. I’d say the typical pitcher has about 2 or 3 mph they can gain by refining mechanics and some may have another 4 or 5 mph that can be gained through improvements in arm strength and just plain learning how to throw hard. Obviously there are cases where a pitcher has picked up 10 mph post HS but those pitchers are usually late maturers or people who got their full coordination late rather than someone who made a significant change in their mechanics.

I’m not taking into account increases due to growth and physical maturity.

Not true. All you need to do is maintain good posture and timing so that everything stays online with the target. There is no leaning farther forward or taking too long of a stride. Those are artificial actions that you just don’t ask a pitcher to try to do.

Not true. All you need to do is maintain good posture and timing so that everything stays online with the target. There is no leaning farther forward or taking too long of a stride. Those are artificial actions that you just don’t ask a pitcher to try to do.[/quote]

Then how do you achieve a release point that is closer to the plate?

And for the record, I do think there’s a lot of merit to the idea of trying to be sneaky fast. That means hiding the ball from the batter for as long as possible.

[quote=“ebkcontainers”]I guess you could look at all kinds of scenarios… but I guess I was thinking from a standpoint, you already have full arm strength - maybe between 18-20 yrs old? and you have average mechanics… what kind of boost could you get on velocity w/perferct mechanics.

Even if we took me as an example, I think I have average mechanics - having no formal coaching. I can throw high 70’s to low 80’s. I wouldn’t expect to gain 10 mph, on picture perfect mechanics - I think the best I could expect is 4-5 mph.

I’m thinking about 95% of velocity comes from god given talent, and the rest can be obtained from proper form.

I sure wouldn’t complain with gaining an extra 4-5 mph, with fine tuning my mechanics…[/quote]

I’m with you on that. I’m not one to under-estimate the importance and limitations of genetics.

I do agree that perception can make a big difference, but perception is due to things like the speed of the motion and hiding the ball rather than how close the release point is to the plate.

When the kids were 12 I had the two hardest throwing kids in the league. The harder thrower threw all of 1 mph faster than the slower one. However, you would swear he was throwing 5 mph faster. The 1 mph difference was the same however on gun readings and on readings at the plate. Kids tended to take wild swings and miss and were often as not swinging way too early against the 1 mph harder thrower. However, the better hitters who weren’t fooled by the motion tended to hit him fairly hard.

The other one was much smoother and didn’t look like he was throwing as hard as he actually was. Kids weren’t anywhere near as intimidated so they tended to strike out less against him. On the other hand they tended to be behind the ball more often and very seldom hit a ball hard off him, although that may have had more to do with the movement he had on the ball. He was more effective against good hitters while the harder thrower would completely dominate the weaker hitters due to intimidation.

I think House’s guys tend to throw a flatter fastball, but also one that jumps at the hitter due to the closer release point. There is always a give and take. If you want the ball released closer to the plate, then the release point will generally be lower and the pitch a little flatter. If you want a high release point, as Chris advocates, then you will have to sacrifice a little reaction time to get a better downhill plane.

I think pitchers should try to release the ball as high and as close to the plate as their mechanics and flexibility will allow. Also, from my experiences I think the longer stride could allow for better hip/shoulder separation, but also makes it more difficult for the hips to powerfully rotate around a fixed axis.

Lastly, Chris could you please describe some of the things with which you disagree with House? Is it true that one of the main things that you see as a problem is that generally with the longer stride, the arm spends more time in the “danger zone,” possibly leading to more injuries?

I agree with your second point.

First, let me acknowledge that House was one of the guys who got me focused on the separation of the hips and shoulders, so I owe him that.

My biggest problem with a lot of his stuff, at least what he writes in his books, is that it either isn’t specific enough or isn’t as universal as he says. For example, Dynamic Balance is an interesting idea but isn’t really actionable as he describes it in his books. What can I as a coach do about it?

It may be that he’s holding stuff back and gives out better info in his DVDs.

I also think that House has absolutely destroyed his credibility by first saying that Mark Prior has perfect mechanics and then blaming Prior, rather than his mechanics, for his injury problems.

I think it’s intellectually dishonest.

No

My problem with longer strides is that they generally seem to make it harder for guys to effectively and completely rotate their hips.

going from decent mechanics to good mechanics helped me gain 5 mph, i still am not perfect so the possibilities are endless! not to say i could gain 15 mph because thats not likely, but i think it also has to do with the individual more than anything

I agree with your second point.

First, let me acknowledge that House was one of the guys who got me focused on the separation of the hips and shoulders, so I owe him that.

My biggest problem with a lot of his stuff, at least what he writes in his books, is that it either isn’t specific enough or isn’t as universal as he says. For example, Dynamic Balance is an interesting idea but isn’t really actionable as he describes it in his books. What can I as a coach do about it?

It may be that he’s holding stuff back and gives out better info in his DVDs.

I also think that House has absolutely destroyed his credibility by first saying that Mark Prior has perfect mechanics and then blaming Prior, rather than his mechanics, for his injury problems.

I think it’s intellectually dishonest.

No

My problem with longer strides is that they generally seem to make it harder for guys to effectively and completely rotate their hips.[/quote] more extreme HOGWASH at its best. 1- A longer stride can indicate more momentum into landing. 2- More momentum can equal a more powerful lower body rotation. Perhaps you should take another quick lession on dynamic balance instead as dissmissing it. A part of that just may help you understand HOW this can be possible. Than you may not have to totally butcher yourself with another useless unproven theory! Your theory may have some credence to it if the pitcher was anchored to the mound and not moving. That ole dynamic balance thing just flys in your face Chris!

I agree with your second point.

First, let me acknowledge that House was one of the guys who got me focused on the separation of the hips and shoulders, so I owe him that.

My biggest problem with a lot of his stuff, at least what he writes in his books, is that it either isn’t specific enough or isn’t as universal as he says. For example, Dynamic Balance is an interesting idea but isn’t really actionable as he describes it in his books. What can I as a coach do about it?

It may be that he’s holding stuff back and gives out better info in his DVDs.

I also think that House has absolutely destroyed his credibility by first saying that Mark Prior has perfect mechanics and then blaming Prior, rather than his mechanics, for his injury problems.

I think it’s intellectually dishonest.

No

My problem with longer strides is that they generally seem to make it harder for guys to effectively and completely rotate their hips.[/quote] more extreme HOGWASH at its best. 1- A longer stride can indicate more momentum into landing. 2- More momentum can equal a more powerful lower body rotation. Perhaps you should take another quick lession on dynamic balance instead as dissmissing it. A part of that just may help you understand HOW this can be possible. Than you may not have to totally butcher yourself with another useless unproven theory! Your theory may have some credence to it if the pitcher was anchored to the mound and not moving. That ole dynamic balance thing just flys in your face Chris![/quote]a longer stride can also create imbalance, which takes off velocity, it can create timing issues, which takes off velocity, also, are you going to have more speed with a short quick arm action, or one that is long, the short quick one will generate more power, thats kind of a timing issue, but the stride length is what creates it, its kind of like golf, a longer backswing is not as powerful as a shorter backswing because you have more energy from the shorter one, i dk, thats just how i see it, maybe im wrong

House taught us it was 3mph. I’ve also heard that same number used by TV announcers - especially the LLWS announcers who constantly compare the LL pitchers’ velocity at 46’ to the pros at 60’. So I had the impression it was a well-accepted number. But I haven’t done the math myself.

But reaction time relates directly to the speed at which the ball approaches the plate. How can one be more important than the other?