Making the L, arm action

I’ve been wondering about the position of the arm … specifically right at the time when you have it up and cocked as your foot hits the ground and before you rotate your shoulders.

It makes an ‘L’ shape…

now what’s the difference or effect with guys who don’t quite make the L, and their elbows fall short of reaching the 90 degree angle with the formarm and upper arm?

Conversely, what is the effect/impact of a guy whose forearm and upper arm form an L that goes beyond 90 degrees, placing the ball closer to the ear.

Does the second way create more velocity but come with high risk of elbow injury?

To be honest, I haven’t yet made up my mind on this.

Based on some things that Mike Marshall has said, I used to think that having the hand close to the ear was bad because Mark Prior did it, but then I came to realize that Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens do it.

This is theoretically bad, but Maddux may be able to get away with this because he pronates his forearm so powerfully.

I am beggining to think that the classic L, 90 degree bend may be bad because it increases the load on the UCL and that either more or less than 90 degrees is preferable.

I’m a guy that does a little less than 90 degrees. I’ve been experimenting with getting more an L, thinking I might get more speed …

but I’ve been pretty durable my whole life, and I’m hesitant to make such a change in what I’m doing there.

I wouldn’t change what you are doing right now.

it seems that a little flexion of the forearm/wrist allows the elbow to lead the acceleration. tennis servers use a similar action with the arm, racket to gain more speed.

if I read you right, you’re saying that you can likely get more velocity by bringing you hand up to a less than 90 degree angle with your elbow. Sort of the opposite of what Maddux is doing in that pic.

the gm picture shows more of a “v than an l”. the next 2 sequences in that picture would show his elbow leading the action. the tennis analogy was used to paint a better picture. is it safe to say that in the action series of weaver he makes a small circle with the ball hand followed by the elbow leading the action. mr. mazzone would say this is too much analysis. i think it’s a matter of what we all observe.

Just an opinion based on some very limited observations but I believe that as pitchers get older and lose flexibility they tend to bend the elbow to try to make up for having less external rotation. Hard to be certain but I don’t believe Maddux bent the elbow that way when he was young.

Interesting point.

I looked at my breakdown of a clip of Maddux throwing when he was 19…

…and in frame 43 it looks like his elbow angle is slightly different (20 to 30 degrees) between then and now. His elbow is also lower in the clip from when he was 19, which explains part of the difference.

He’s also threw harder (93ish) at 19 then he does today (mid to high 80s).

speaking of the weaver clip, also take into account the Verlander clip. He sort of circles the ball hand too.

And then compare those guys to Prior and to a lesser extent, Randy Johnson who have little to no “back swing” (a term I’m making up).

PRior just kinda jerks the ball up into that cocked position. I think of it sortta like he’s bending his elbow at that point, ready to throw a punch.

99.9% of the time the arm is inside of 90 dgrees as external rotation begins. This reduces shoulder stress and is much more biomechanically sound. This promotes max external rotation and allows you to lead the elbow. Another plus is a harder, sharper breaking ball. In some cases it also helps hide the ball.

How exactly does this reduce shoulder stress?

Try it yourself. Hold your elbow at about shoulder level. With you forearm at about 110-120 degrees, adduct and abduct your arm. Do the same with your forearm at 65-75 degrees. You should be able to feel a noticeable difference.