Mound vs. flat ground differences


#1

Hello all
Just thought I’d post this and get some comments. The pic below is of Nolan Ryan and I drew some lines for illustration purposes.

  1. Notice the location of the front foot at landing.
  2. Notice the horizontal yellow line at the bottom of the posting foot. This would be flat ground.
  3. Now note the location of the front foot in this normal motion at the point in the timing of his delivery when it would cross that yellow line representing flat ground.
  4. Notice the green arrow between positions of the front foot at those 2 times.
  5. Notice the difference in height between the centre of gravity at that time where the front foot crosses the “flat ground” line and when he lands.

Now picture flat ground throwing. Many differences.


#2

No can see picture. :frowning:


#3

Bummer. :cry: It worked in the preview. I’ll see what I can do. Steven?


#4

I’m seeing it … Still no, Roger?


#5

I can’t see it either.
I am wondering what you are trying to show DM, as far as your point?


#6

Nope. Still can’t see it.


#7

I can’t see it at all either.


#8

I see it just fine, but I’ll fix it later this evening … stay tuned.


#9

Thanks Steve. I think my computer hates me.


#10

jd
Just an illustration of what I’ve annoyed people about for a while now. 8) No great revelations. I just wanted some of the younger members to see the differences, as a follow up to some of our recent posts.


#11

The image is working on my end now. Anyone else?


#12

Didn’t see it at first but hit the refresh button and now I see it. 8)


#13

Mine’s gone again. :cry: Oh well.


#14

Lets talk about it anyway.
My contention is that “flat ground” work has a value, only I view it as one of many developmental tools a pitcher can use. I feel that the biggest majority of kids don’t have regular access to a mound in a private situation.
I feel that flat ground shouldn’t be the “only” method of training a pitcher uses.
These are possible benefits of doing such work;
A) minimal arm impact
B) can be done anywhere at any time
C) good for conditioning
D) keeps em off the street…so to speak

I do agree emphatically that all pitchers should work off of a mound in practice, I think that yes it does translate to a more real “game-like” simulation, which in fact does make it more meaningful. But does that mean that we should disregard other methods of training? My contention is no. We as coaches should incorporate any training method that we feel will safely enhance a kids ability to pitch. Now at this point I’ll shock the world and agree with Dick Mills and say that we should NOT
allow the pitchers we train to spend too much time on unproductive drill work, a balanced approach will always lead to better results. We should use drills to optimize and make more efficient the delivery of these kids, but the name of the game is “what can you do on the bump”.


#15

My son’s HS team makes all of their pitchers do flat ground every day at practice. This is our first year on the team, and after viewing the results over the past several months I really think the value is minimal. Perhaps it does keep them throwing to a target, and it allows them to work on their grips of different pitches. It seems to me, however, they would be much better served throwing more pens that what they currently do. Starters normally throw one pen, one intersquad if possible, and one game a week. Still, this approach is much better than what we’ve had in the past.


#16

[quote=“jdfromfla”]My contention is that “flat ground” work has a value, only I view it as one of many developmental tools a pitcher can use.[/quote]Agreed. The task would be to identify what you can effectively “develop”.

[quote=“shermanreed”]Perhaps it does keep them throwing to a target, and it allows them to work on their grips of different pitches. [/quote]Agreed on the grips and different pitches part. Not so sure about the value of the throwing to a target part.

[quote=“jdfromfla”]I feel that the biggest majority of kids don’t have regular access to a mound in a private situation.[/quote]You got it. I personally think this is the biggest reason for flat ground work.

[quote=“jdfromfla”]I feel that flat ground shouldn’t be the “only” method of training a pitcher uses. [/quote]I’m witcha there.

[quote=“jdfromfla”]These are possible benefits of doing such work;
A) minimal arm impact
B) can be done anywhere at any time
C) good for conditioning
D) keeps em off the street…so to speak[/quote]I’m on board with all of this, except A) re: minimal arm impact. I’ve heard this many times, as we all have. I’m not going to make an emphatic statement about this on any one side of things but it seems to me that there is another possible way of looking at this and I’d like your comments. Could one not say that just the opposite is true? That attempts to pitch on flat ground at speeds desired in games, from a mound, would be more stressful because of the lack of the “help” from gravity. In order for it to be less stressful on flat ground, one would have to have conscious intent to NOT try to throw at game speed AND, if that is true, why could one not do the same on a mound? Would not the assistance of gravity actually reduce arm stress by facilitating the use of the rest of the body and gravity thus avoiding the negative effects of a kid trying to “throw with just the arm”?

[quote=“jdfromfla”]I do agree emphatically that all pitchers should work off of a mound in practice, I think that yes it does translate to a more real “game-like” simulation, which in fact does make it more meaningful. But does that mean that we should disregard other methods of training? My contention is no. [/quote]Mine too.

[quote=“jdfromfla”]We as coaches should incorporate any training method that we feel will safely enhance a kids ability to pitch.[/quote]You bet.

Just to wrap up on this long post, my ravings about this is purely to say that I believe the “bang for the buck”, in terms of efficient use of time and effective training specific to locating pitches, is in mound work that is as close to the game situation as possible. I temper this by acknowledging that not everyone has unfettered access to a mound and you do what you gotta do and that there is value in flat ground work, as long as we’re clear as to what that value is and what it is not.

Cheers.


#17

Note to self: take JD off Christmas card list.

J/K! :mrgreen:


#18

[quote=“dm59”][quote=“jdfromfla”]These are possible benefits of doing such work;
A) minimal arm impact
B) can be done anywhere at any time
C) good for conditioning
D) keeps em off the street…so to speak[/quote]I’m on board with all of this, except A) re: minimal arm impact. Could one not say that just the opposite is true? That attempts to pitch on flat ground at speeds desired in games, from a mound, would be more stressful because of the lack of the “help” from gravity. In order for it to be less stressful on flat ground, one would have to have conscious intent to NOT try to throw at game speed AND, if that is true, why could one not do the same on a mound? Would not the assistance of gravity actually reduce arm stress by facilitating the use of the rest of the body and gravity thus avoiding the negative effects of a kid trying to “throw with just the arm”?[/quote]

I think this depends on how we define “game speed”. If we define it as an absolute number, then game speed has to include one’s conscious exertion plus the contributions of gravity. For someone to reach “game speed” on flat ground, they would have to try to make up for the lack of gravity’s effects through additional conscious exertion. I’m not convinced pitchers do this when throwing on flat ground. Rather, I think they throw to their normal level of exertion based on feel. So, I’ll claim that the conscious exertion is the same but, on the mound, gravity kicks in and increases the deceleration forces thus causing more arm impact.


#19

"minimal arm impact"

If flat ground game simulation was the intent of what you are doing. Remember my point as to logical progression, I contend that "what’ you “get” out of flat ground is a relaxed un-intense experience, that allows you to “feel” how your body works and experiment (On younger kids the scientific term is, I believe…goofing around). If your kid is whaleing away at full tilt on flat ground with reckless abandon all the time, perhaps a visit to the pediatrician for a new dose of Ridalin is in order (Just kidding :wink: …using the absurd to illustrate).
So the stuff that you mess around and come up with on flat ground, you take to that mound in your bullpen and “develop” the thing in the way you’d use it in a game. Just as it would be uninformed to “warm up” with weighted balls, you’d be wrong to consider yourself “ready” if the only work you did was flat ground.

[size=9]jd to self…refer aluminium siding sales people and life insurance agents to Roger…[/size]


#20

From ASMI.org Glenn Fleisig - He is answering a question about stress diferences between mound and flat ground. Thought people might find it interesting.

Good question.

I do not know of any scientific study on this topic with youth pitchers, but about ten years ago ASMI compared pitching on a mound to “crow-hop” throwing using college pitchers. Crow-hop throwing is similar to a two-step throw that an infielder might do across the infield after fielding a ground ball or an outfielder might do after catching a fly and trying to throw out a tagging runner. In this study, the differences in shoulder and elbow forces (and torques) between a 60-foot pitch from a mound and a 60-foot crow-hop throw were insignificant. There are a few more details about the study here on the www.asmi.org website.

Of course the study above does not answer your exact question because the flat-ground throws used were not pitches and the subjects were not youth.

So while I do not have scientific data comparing pitching from a mound and flat ground for youth pitchers, I can give you my opinions based upon the numerous, somewhat-related pitching biomechanics studies we have conducted over the years. My guess is that the forces on a youth’s arm would be similar between pitching on a mound and flat-ground, and that the bigger differences would be between the kid would good, efficient mechanics and the kid with poor, stressful mechanics . Furthermore, I believe that learning to pitch from a mound will be better because the pitcher would have a better chance to learn mechanics that would be proper as the pitcher advances to leagues from a mound. More specifically, a pitcher who learns from flat ground might develop improper stride length and improper timing between leg action and arm rotation once he/she starts pitching on a mound.

Again, it is unproven, but a summary of my opinion is this - youth pitchers should pitch from a mound because

I think the forces/torques are similar from a mound and flat ground.

I think the pitcher who learns on a mound to start has a better chance of learning proper mechanics he/she can use throughout his/her career.