Interesting question about external rotation


#1

When i have a teammate perform an external rotation stretch on my arm, my arm can lay back parallel to the ground towards 2nd base (180 degrees). When I throw off a mound, however, I can’t seem to usuilize that full external rotation. I’m 6’1 170lbs and throw 82-85.

Research done by professionals such as Dr James Andrews and Eric Cressey have confirmed that external rotation is a big component to throwing hard.

My question, is external rotation a result of throwing hard or does external relation produce velocity.

Also, how can I utilize the full flexibilty in my arm (in terms of external rotation).


#2

you want to lead with your elbow during arm acceleration. Because think of it like this, put a baseball in a long sock and then tell yourself use your body to throw the ball. In order to do that you have everything flow like a domino effect toward the plate…feet, legs, hips, torso, shoulders, elbow then ball. You have to keep your arm back and let the body bring it forward, not like you would standing straight throwing all arm.

when you use your body and bring the elbow forward first before the hand, the ball will fire forward similar to a catapult.

you don’t want the ball to get ahead of the body, if you didn’t lead with your elbow to get that external rotation then you would be way early with your throwing hand and throw all arm.


#3

another tricky thing too is even if you do get the hand ahead of the body you can still have your arm have that external rotation but it wouldn’t be coming from the body. You wouldn’t get as much force as you would if all the torque from your hips and torso were creating the external rotation.


#4

Tony, how the heck do you not lead with your elbow when throwing a ball? I must be losing my mind.

To the poster that started the thread, how do you know you don’t get full external rotation?


#5

you can get the hand ahead of the body, you won’t get much if any power from the body. Even with getting your hand ahead of your body, your forearm can still lay back, making it look like you are leading with the elbow. But you aren’t leading with the elbow you are leading with your hand.


#6

[quote=“chew1109”]
My question, is external rotation a result of throwing hard or does external relation produce velocity. [/quote]

my answer would be a bit of both.

high level (rotational) throwing mechanics can create more extreme shoulder external rotation than low level (linear) throwing mechanics.

However, you do need a fair amount of looseness in your shoulder to be able to achieve the kind of ROM that you see in all 95 mph throwers. My opinion, though, is that most players who have been throwing since they were kids should have built up plenty of flexibility due to the high volumes of throwing each year. The focus, in my opinion, should not be on increasing external rotation with static stretching…even if you do gain additional ROM you aren’t building strength or elasticity at that end range.

So then how do you use the flexibility that you have at the GH joint during the throw to achieve the position you see in so many MLB photos

My understanding, based off of Nyman’s work, is that you want to line up the elbow, hand and ball with the plane of rotation of the shoulders. This maximizes external rotation due to increased torque on the shoulder joint. It therefore also maximizes velocity (you’re applying force to the ball over greater ROM, AND you are creating more forceful stretch reflex in the shoulder).

This is the difference between a linear thrower pushing the ball with a labored effort and a high level thrower seemingly sling-shotting the ball with ease.

To explain my understanding of the topic a little more, I’m going to use some .gifs.

watch the plane of rotation of the shoulders and note how the elbow forearm hand and ball are all in this plane

now for an ugly clip of me from a long long while back

note the linear release and the fact that everything is not in the same plane of rotation…it’s a push throw, and even though I have the flexibility to easily get 180 degrees of ER, there was not enough torque created in this particular throw to get anywhere near that.

just think “rotate through release” rather than “finish towards home plate” or whatever other cues might have you finishing linearly.

DON’T be afraid to fall off to 1B during your follow through (3B for lefty). In fact, It’s a sign of good rotation. Just about everybody at every level of the game save Greg Maddux would do better with that extra velocity and deception than worrying about finishing towards home plate in a good fielding position


#7

if you look at roger clemens clip at the top of this page his shoulder angle is more linear like the clip of yourself. Chris o’leary site consists of a slow motion clip of nolan ryan showing him at more linear.

could that just be natural arm slot?

Looking at athe clips section of this site, guys like octavio dotel and madison bumgardner have that long - loopy arm action in the back seem to lack external rotation. They were blessed with the natural talent to throw in the mid 90s, but I don’t see much external rotation in their deliveries. (dotel ecspecially)
This makes me conclude that elasticity/fluidity in the arm circle is a big factor in external rotation.

what do you think?


#8

Hmm lanky, thanks for posting. I think I have similar problem as show in animation of your throw, I “push” the ball. I’ll try working more on rotation :slight_smile:


#9

[quote=“chew1109”]if you look at roger clemens clip at the top of this page his shoulder angle is more linear like the clip of yourself. Chris o’leary site consists of a slow motion clip of nolan ryan showing him at more linear.

could that just be natural arm slot?

Looking at athe clips section of this site, guys like octavio dotel and madison bumgardner have that long - loopy arm action in the back seem to lack external rotation. They were blessed with the natural talent to throw in the mid 90s, but I don’t see much external rotation in their deliveries. (dotel ecspecially)
This makes me conclude that elasticity/fluidity in the arm circle is a big factor in external rotation.

what do you think?[/quote]
dotel:

it may be relevant to note that Bumgarner is 6’4" 215lbs which is why he may be able to get away with slightly less external rotation

heres clemens

don’t judge a pitcher by a warm up throw in the bullpen. Because they aren’t generally trying to throw hard, their bodies don’t get into the same positions and you don’t necessarily get the best idea of their true in game max effort mechanics that allow them to throw so hard.

nolan ryan does not have a linear release. The part of the clip to watch is from around high cock position to release point. You want to see how the body is moving in those last frames before release. The shoulders and trunk are not bending forward towards home, but rather rotating on an axis into release.

Also, side views are hard to judge sometimes when it comes to looking for shoulder rotation, so try to find a front or back view when looking for this.


#10

When I land I think of driving my throwing shoulder to my stride knee. Helps me get good shoulder tilt and a downward plane.

When I watch videos of these guys pitching I noticed how their throwing shoulder accelerates forward and down toward their stride knee.


#11

so lanky, to correct the linear release you just have to rotate through release? By thinking to rotate through release you “slingshot the ball” as you say? This causes you to not push the ball, correct?


#12

it should help, but remember a cue is just that: a cue. Different players interpret cues differently but having a good grasp of what you are trying to accomplish should help.