Move Fast Towards The Plate? What About Dan Haren?

I’m curious of the explination from people who say getting moving toward the plate faster will increase velocity. That drifting thru the balance point is required to throw hard.

Explain to me why Dan Haren can hit 92-94 and top at 97mph when he comes to a stop during his knee lift then gets going again?

There are always exceptions.

Compare handwritings -yours, mine, anyone else for that matter, and you’ll find slight variations, even when spelling the exact same words.

We all have different internal clocks, that “just feels right at this or that moment”, and so on. So try not to employ a cookie-cutter style or process to your work. Your pitching style compared to anyone else can be different as night and day, like a side arm delivery compared to the three quarter or others.

For one reason or another, the current thought of the day is to be “exactly like …” In other words, you MUST do it this way, you MUST have your body in this postion prior to, you MUST be in this positon after this or that, and on it goes. The fact of the matter is that there are some points of body movement that are better than others and there are proven methods and techniques that can generate better results than others - even safer ways then others. But don’t carry all of this “thought process” over the edge with … the only way.

Different stages in life, different body builds and physiques, even differences in personalities, can impact how you pitch, learn to pitch, imprint a signature to your style and pitch inventory.

Good question though.

Coach B.

I had one pitcher, in particular, who would change his personality 180 degrees once he stepped onto the mound - kind a scary in fact. I remember going to the mound during a game to calm him down and just one look from this guy had me thinking twice.

He use to pitch mad, I mean down right angry. He would grunt, huff, puff, even shout out @!#!! with some of his pitches. We had one umpire that pointed to him after hitting two guys in one inning, “you’re gone”, then, Blue started to walk towards the other club’s dugout, looking over his shoulder all the while.

This guys delivery motion was about as anaimated as I have ever saw. It was like he wanted to haul-off–an-belt-ya! Very aggressive moving towards the plate, very aggressive on the rubber - didn’t even wait half the time for signals from any catcher. But, he was a strike machine, no doubt about it.

Now I could have worked with the man and pointed things out that would have extended his career, even improved is inventory of pitches - but he was not approachable - period. So be it.
Coach B.

He finds his velo elsewhere. The question becomes, what is he doing to make up for it and is it creating undue stress in places that may eventually fail as a result? I’d be hesitant to recommend not using all of the “tools in the toolbox” to get that same velo. Why not use everything you have at your disposal, as opposed to only parts?

Getting moving early just makes it easier, especially in younger pitchers. Haren ‘gets it going’ at some point in the delivery. Most young pitchers have a tough time moving slowly then trying to move quickly.

Once again, not an absolute, just easier.

Thanks for your responses.

I have to question whether or not this is actually a more than normal stressful action. Haren has averaged 221.4 innings since 2005 with his highest Innings Pitched season in 2009 (229). His velocity hasn’t gone down.

But you can also point out Brandon Webb’s 200+ inning average from 2004-2008 and then he hit his shoulder injury.

I was wondering if somebody was going to point out using ground reaction forces, hip rotation velocity, controlling his center of gravity (balance). One thing that is tricky looking at somebody’s body movement while pinpointing where the energy is at and how much energy is being produced. For instance with high class sprinters, its not so much that they move their legs faster than average runners, the difference is they apply more force into the ground compared to the average runner.

The harder they push into the ground, the harder the earth is going to push them. That is where they get their power, not from moving the feet quicker.

Remember Vic Raschi? He was one of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation, and as nice a guy as one could hope to meet—except on the day he was starting. Nobody could get near him—he was like a bear who had missed breakfast; he sat at his locker and worked himself up into a frenzy comparable to the Incredible Hulk. Tio make things worse, news photographers trying to get a photo of him risked getting their necks snapped in two or three pieces; whenever a picture was taken of him before a game he couldn’t see for six or seven minutes because of the flash, and he was ready to kill! Even after the flash wore off and he could see straight once again, he took that fury out to the mound with him.
And when he ran into trouble or seemed to be tiring, Yogi Berra would go out to the mound, only to be greeted with a surly “Give me the ------- ball and get the -----out of here!” or an even surlier “Yogi, you’re going to lose that sorry a** of yours if you don’t get back behind the ---- plate!” He would say to Berra before the game started, “Just catch, I’ll pitch.” That was the Springfield Rifle, as deadly as his nickname, and a very, very fine pitcher—when everybody stayed out of his way. He won 21 games three years running and led the AL in strikeouts once. 8)

I don’t think any of us who recommend a faster tempo have said that it is required to throw hard.

Just goes to show that there are no absolutes - no one way to do things.

BTW, the recommendation to use a faster tempo isn’t just about velocity. It’s about timing which is just as important to health as it is performance. And for performance that includes things like control and movement in addition to velocity.

Roger wrote: "Just goes to show that there are no absolutes—no one way to do things."
Many moons ago, when I was pitching, I had an absolutely incredible pitching coach who had this basic premise: that every pitcher has a natural motion. The guy’s name was Ed Lopat, he was a key member of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation, and what he would do was work with the individual pitcher and show him (or her) how to make the most of it. He was a pitcher who could also coach and teach, and because of this he was sought out for advice and help by not only his moundmates but also other pitchers in the American League. In fact, he doubled as an extra pitching coach for the Yankees, in large part because of his almost preternatural ability to zero in on a problem and come up with an instant solution, something that regular coach Jim Turner was often unable to do. Case in point: Whitey Ford.
Ford had come up to the Yankees in 1950. On one particular day he had started for them, and he was getting unmercifully cuffed around, with every pitch he threw being converted into line-drive base hits; what didn’t help one bit was that the first-base coach for the other team was constantly yelling behind him. Then, in the fifth inning, Yankee first-baseman Tommy Henrich came running out to the mound and said to Ford, “Hey, Whitey, that first-base coach is calling every pitch you’re throwing!” That was the first indication Whitey had that he might just be telegraphing his pitches.
The next day Turner and Lopat took Ford into the bullpen and had him throw from the stretch, because that was when the problem had been occurring. Turner was puzzled and kept scratching his head—but Lopat, who on the previous day had been watching the kid with a grim, sardonic smile on his face, immediately spotted something. Ford had been positioning his glove hand one way for a fast ball and another way for a curve, and because he was a southpaw it was no problem for the opposing coach to pick up on that and relay the information to the hitter. Lopat then took Ford aside and quietly told him what he was doing wrong, and the problem was corrected in a bullpen session the next
Lopat, in sizing up a pitcher, would observe and make mental notes, in effect formulating a game plan, a jumping-off point from which he could work with said pitcher. That was his approach—to explore what might work for the individual and to build on that. In the almost four years I worked with him, I will never forget how he made me feel comfortable and kept me relaxed and receptive to the information, advice and instruction I received from him. He gave me more reassurance and reinforcement than I had ever thought possible, and because I was willing to work at things he had no reservations about teaching me some advanced stuff he felt I should know. In effect, he helped me become a better pitcher than I had been before. Would that there were more like him! :slight_smile: 8) :baseballpitcher: