This has to be absolutely my last post here at least for the next several months (I have an “IFPA” meeting tonite).
As harsh as I sound in taking exception to what Chris posts, I urge him to continue his quest. But to also recognize that he is functioning at a very superficial level (my opinion) with respect to what he thinks is good pitching mechanics and training. And thus I urge other posters such as CADad and chinmusic to keep them “honest”. But to try and do so in a constructive manner ( but I did enjoy the ball bouncing up against the curb comment… ). It’s one thing to disagree with someone. It’s something else again to support beyond a reasonable doubt that disagreement.
I would also urge Chris to get off the “tugging at the heartstrings” approach i.e. using injury prevention as his “shtick”.
I think I have researched the injury issue as much as anyone else here, and the bottom line is that I don’t care how efficient the players mechanics, attempting to throw baseball 90+ MPH with location and movement is an accident waiting to happen.
I’m also of the belief that most injuries to young players are caused by first of all lack of conditioning ( players do not throw enough) and secondly and to a lesser degree stupidity on the part of parent, coach or manager.
Every player (pitcher) at the major league level got there because he threw more than 99.99% of the other kids.
In his defense I will say that Chris probably has an understanding equal to a greater than what most major-league baseball coaches ( Hence the reason why a major-league club is talking with him… :roll: ) do with respect to the actual mechanics of throwing the ball.
When I first started this insane adventure, and in the past I’ve posted this several times before, I felt I knew a lot about hitting and pitching and hitting. At least as compared to my contemporaries. Why did I feel is why? Because my children and the teams I coached always outperformed my/their peers. That combined with my own athletic background some baseball, some basketball and in college track and field, gave me a false sense that I knew more than I did.
The best evidence of this is that when I first added SETPRO I went out and bought every book and videotape on hitting and pitching that I could find is part of my marketing research efforts. At that time (1995), Dick Mills was king of the Internet pitching instruction world. And Dave Hudgins was king of the Internet hitting instruction world. And I back then thought both programs were very good.
What I later came to realize is that the very same reason why I thought Mills and Hudgins material was so good is a very same reason why I now think it is so bad. It ( videotapes, written material) initially made me feel good because it was so detailed. The information in a way that was presented made me feel “secure”. Which is the same reason why there is such a problem with it is because it leaves so little to the imagination. Detailed information is good or even great “IF” it’s accurate, produces the desired results which implies that it can withstand the test of time. If it is not accurate, it does not produce the results, then it’s not very good. It’s what I would call a classic example of form versus function. And unfortunately because of our lack of knowledge form usually is what determines our initial perceptions. It is only after a period of time where either we don’t achieve the results were simply have educated ourselves to the point where we can see other viable ways of doing things.
During his time, early days of SETPRO’s existence, my primary concentration was on training and training equipment (bat speed, reaction training, throwing velocity). I wanted to make a clear distinction between training to swing and throw versus pitching and hitting instruction. Why? Because comarketing standpoint hitting and pitching instruction could only be sold if you had a “name” attached to it. And besides at that time, again remember this is 1995, I felt that the products that both Mills and Hudgins were selling were very good.
That began to change when I started to study more closely clips of high-level hitters and pitchers ( past and present), frame by frame using both VCR and computer. Setpro was the first website to really engage in posting and analyzing video clips. The more I did this the more I realize that I did know a damn thing about swinging and throwing. Nor did Mills are Hudgins for that matter. And what I mean by this it is that they had the pitching and hitting instruction jargon down i.e. jargon that has been passed down through the ages. Or as in the case of Mills he had teamed up with Bill Thurston to enhance his credibility as not only a player but also as someone who was promoting instruction information that was supported by something other than his own opinion. And of course Hudgens had credibility because of his long-term association as a player, player development function, and hitting instructor with the Oakland Athletics.
My point being that unless you had a name it was virtually impossible to convince people that you knew anything about hitting our pitching. And as I have said many times before I am not a hitting coach. I am not a pitching coach. My focus is on how the body optimally swings and throws. Which I also believe is consistent with my technical background An experience.
Three other “names” (I’m sure there are others but these are the three that I’m most familiar with and the names that you see most often on the Internet with respect to pitching mechanics) that attempt to bridge the gap between player and “researcher” are Mike Epstein, Tom House, and Dr. Mike Marshall. And more specifically House and Marshall because of their ongoing promotion of their “scientific” efforts to understand pitching mechanics. Again you must remember that I draw a very specific distinction between pitching and throwing. That pitching is doing everything possible to get the batter out and win the baseball game. That throwing is doing everything possible to maximize speed, location and movement on the ball.
And for those of not read the Collegiate Baseball Magazine article, the reason I say there is no such thing as good pitching mechanics is quite simple. No one, can buy no one I mean those who have done any significant amount of research, participation, working with players, also known as gurus, can agree as to what constitutes good mechanics. Until there is a general consensus amongst the gurus, there can be no such thing as good pitching mechanics.
A corollary to this is that no two gurus can occupy the same point in space at the same time otherwise they both lose their guru status.
Today as I look back 10 years ago, I cannot say that 10 years ago I did know crap about how the body optimally swings and throws the ball. And as much as I think I have progressed there is still so much that I wish I knew with respect to how the body optimally produces throwing and swinging movements. And it is important if not more important the optimal ways to instruct this information such that the player is able to maximize their swing and throw capabilities.
So I would say to Chris and anyone else who has a passion and desire to become a “guru”, by all means continue. But, and it’s a pretty big but, be prepared to suffer the slings and arrows that come with your “guruship”.
You seem to have a tough hide which is good. I just hope you have an equal/required amounts of humility, curiosity, intellect, and arrogance to continue your journey.
I have always said that constructive debate and disagreement is the essence of progress and discovery. Forms are good place to debate. They are usually a “not so good” place to get specific answers to biomechanics/throwing problems/issues unless there is a recognized (proven) “authority”. But unfortunately for most, and again this is my own opinion, there are very few proven authorities.
And waxing philosophica, that as with just about everything in life it’s most often the journey that holds the greatest value as opposed to reaching one’s ultimate destination.
“IFPA” = Internet Forums Poster Anonymous … :roll: