New guy that needs help with mechanics

So those of you who have read my intro will see that i do have a little bit of pitching experience, but it was just at the high school 9th grade "reserve " team level. our team did not have a pitching coach so i have I need some of the guys who have been doing this for years to give me some pointers on how to improve my mechanics. Dont be afraid to tell it like it is. the more feed back, the better

If I were your pitching coach I would get you started on a program of drills to enhance your hip/shoulder separation at foot-strike.

If you watch your delivery closely it appears that your shoulders open to the target before your hips do–the sequencing should be just the opposite of that: That is, your shoulders should stay closed until your hips have rotated forward (opened) as far as they can. After your hips open, your upper torso should rotate forward transferring energy up through a kinetic chain that ends in your arm and hand…and you deliver the ball. It’s been estimated that about 80% of total velocity comes from this part of pitching mechanics, so you should want to make it as efficient as possible.

awesome. what kind of drills can help fix this problem??

There are some towel drills invented by Tom House that can help you tune your delivery to get better hip/shoulder separation and delayed shoulder rotation. These are described in his recent books better than I can do it. At this site Roger also understands all of House’s towel drills.

I also like something called the Rocker Drill–when properly done the Rocker Drill isolates the part of a delivery where the stride forward has just happened and the hips are open with the shoulders still closed.

Let me try to describe it:

You need a ball and your glove and you will want a partner to throw to–he should be perhaps 40 - 50 feet from you. You can do this drill alone, but it’s more convenient to have someone to throw the ball back to you, of course. It’s also more fun to have another person around when you work on drills–they can give you feedback and exchange ideas with you on how to get better.

The Rocker Drill can be done on flat-ground or a mound–the focus is on your hip/shoulder sequencing, not throwing speed or accuracy.

Start from the set or wind-up, your choice. Go into your motion as you normally do, but…you are going to stop your delivery just after your stride foot lands.

If you do that, what should you look like?

Your stride foot should be pointed more-or-less in the direction of your target (it doesn’t matter whether your stride foot is a little opened or closed or right on line with the target…that seems to be an individual style point).

Your back (post) foot should be on its toes.

Your hips should be open to the target (that is, they should be rotated forward).

Your shoulders should still be closed (that is, your back shoulder should still be pointing toward 2nd base).

Your arms should be well-separated and balanced–Tom House calls this “equal and opposite arms”.

Okay, are you with me so far? A simple video clip would be much easier than all of these words, but I don’t happen to have one available.

So, anyway, once you’ve got the idea of what you should look like when you land, then you keep your stride distance intact while you rock back and forth just using your hips. You will notice that your back (post) foot is up on its toes when you rock forward, and down on the ground when you rock back. Also, and most important, your hips open as you rock forward and close when you rock back.

During all of this rocking back and forth, where are your shoulders? Always closed.

Okay, so you have rocked back and forth several times, by simply opening and closing your hips. And your shoulders remained closed. After you have got the feeling of leading this action with your hips you can throw the ball to your partner after you open your hips and rock forward.

I’ll try to find some video for you, but it may take a week or so.

thats pretty awesome. i totally understand what you are saying and im going to work on that right now. anything else you can find from my delivery that will help increase velocity??

Well, I know this is difficult to hear because everyone typically wants to improve dramatically and quickly. Unfortunately, many people who advertise things that they want to sell to you have a very deep conflict of interest: Some folks with a ‘secret’ to sell are going to tell you that quick, dramatic improvements are easy…so long as you buy the secret to success from them.

The experienced coaches and pitchers at LTP generally realize there is no ‘quick fix’ for pitchers. Many people here can shorten some trails for you–that is, guide you toward drills and training or conditioning routines that should help you, but almost any new change to a person’s pitching mechanics must be repeated correctly over and over and over again until the new thing you are doing becomes unconscious. It must become your ‘normal’ way of performing because there is no way you can be actively thinking about your mechanics when you are pitching in a game–use practice time for training your mechanics, during game time you need to be able to perform what you’ve practiced without thinking it through over and over again.

Between the start of practicing some new mechanical improvement and actually using it unconsciously in a game there is going to be a lot of time when the new mechanics will feel awkward and uncomfortable–that’s just the way it is.

I know this is too long-winded but I’m trying to suggest that you focus on improvements to your mechanics just one improvement at a time. Most of us can’t handle making 2 or 3 adjustments simultaneously–it’s just more confusing than it is useful.

The hip/shoulder separation issue is huge–if you are able to master the correct sequence of hip and shoulder rotation, while delaying your shoulder rotation until after your stride foot has landed and your hips have fully opened, that will be a big deal for you…true improvement there, trained for with some dedication over the long-term, will help your velocity.

The down-side is, you’ve probably been pitching without optimal hip/shoulder sequencing for awhile now, so your self-training must be serious enough and long-term enough to overcome your previous mechanics. If you want it enough, you can do it.

Here’s a delivery in slo-mo that you can look at to see what you should be doing with your hips and shoulders:

Pay close attention to his hips and shoulders between 28 to 32 seconds.

are you trying to make your high school team? what is your goal here. i would do what la is talking about and throw regularly. if you want to learn to pitch you will need to throw 5 to 6 days per week for at least 20 minutes. alternate days of long toss and throwing to a catcher or a hitter in the cage. hitter will love having you throw to them if you can throw strikes. move up if you have to till you get the hang of it.

it’s hard work but it’s lots of fun.

let us know how it’s going

lol im 24, so im trying to play in the adult leagues in jacksonville,fl. i try to throw everyday, but my arm starts to hurt after a while. im sure its no big deal. just have to get back into the swing of things. but i have been working on my shoulder/hip seperation at the house. my room mates think i am crazy,lol. so is it best to throw long toss one day and pitch the next to build up strenght??

I’m not sure I buy the rocker drill. Your description has the back foot turned in with weight on the back toes and the front foot facing the target with the hips “open.” (I’m not convinced your hips CAN be fully open in this position).

The verlander clip posted is a good example of what I’m saying: at landing his back foot is turned all the way over (not on the ball of his foot). This is a VERY different feeling from the drill described, and it prevents you from making a last ditch linear push with those back toes to try to generate velocity.

I agree that there is some artificiality built into the Rocker Drill, as there must be in every drill that seeks to statically model isolated parts of a dynamic delivery.

However, I completely disagree with the notion that the post-leg, post-foot, or post-toes are used to push the pitcher toward his target.

Although the action of the post-foot is somewhat artificial on the “rock-back, close hips” part of this drill, it is not too far off from the correct sequencing.

Perhaps the bigger issue is, guys who have poor sequencing of their hip/shoulder separation have a very serious problem to work on and that’s a possible benefit from the Rocker Drill–to isolate and emphasize a major imperative that may be greatly responsible for a pitcher’s velocity (or lack of, if it’s out of sequence).

[quote=“laflippin”]I agree that there is some artificiality built into the Rocker Drill, as there must be in every drill that seeks to statically model isolated parts of a dynamic delivery.

However, I completely disagree with the notion that the post-leg, post-foot, or post-toes are used to push the pitcher toward his target.

Although the action of the post-foot is somewhat artificial on the “rock-back, close hips” part of this drill, it is not too far off from the correct sequencing.

Perhaps the bigger issue is, guys who have poor sequencing of their hip/shoulder separation have a very serious problem to work on and that’s a possible benefit from the Rocker Drill–to isolate and emphasize a major imperative that may be greatly responsible for a pitcher’s velocity (or lack of, if it’s out of sequence).[/quote]

let me rephrase: the way I see the rocker drill being performed 99% of the time (linearly) would have no transfer over to high level throwing mechanics.

Lanky,

You’re entitled to your opinion.

I can’t take any responsibility for the 99% of people that you’ve watched doing a Rocker Drill in such a way that you believe it could not have had any benefit for them.

I do take responsibility for the inadequacy of my written description of the drill…perhaps a video would be worth even more than a thousand words.

On the other hand, maybe all of the people you’ve seen doing the Rocker Drill were doing it properly and it is worthless…I incorporate the concepts of hip-shoulder separation and delayed shoulder rotation into the Rocker Drill. I think when it is done correctly it is one of the best ways to isolate these important features of pitching mechanics…even with a certain amount of artificiality…but that is no more or less than personal opinion, of course.

In my opinion, the OP’s video clearly shows that his shoulders start to open before his hips. Given his age, he has probably been throwing that way for a long time and he will need to remediate that flaw with many repetitions of a motion that changes his sequencing, that is, something to get his hips opening first, with shoulders rotating open only after his hips have opened as far as possible.

If you don’t believe that the Rocker Drill can help the OP, perhaps you should try to help him out with some alternate suggestions…it’s his thread, not mine.

Okay, I have a different interpretation of these mechanics, though most of the lower body looks good IMO there are just a few things I would work on. First, you do not get great extension of the arm. What I mean is that when you take your stride, your arm should extend all the way back then throw it. Relax your arm and let it go back. That will help you a bit, and when you are set to kick your leg, stand tall, then drop down into the front leg. The more gravity you use in delivery, the easier. Your release is in sync with the front leg, and though I can’t see if your front foot is in line with home plate I can imagine it is. You seem squared to the target before delivery, and generate good use of the hips so I am sure you use your front leg pretty well. Just stand tall before dropping and using that front leg.

Swingman, if you are looking to improve velocity, I’d definitely raise that arm slot, you are throwing low 3/4 /sidearm in the clip. Just look at the former LA Angels closer Franciso Rodriguez, 100 mph, high 3/4 arm slot. And compare K-rod to Brian Fuentes, the new Angels closer. Fuentes has a very deceptive delivery( some left-handed batters have thought that the ball was coming out of Fuentes’ jersey sleeve!), yet Fuentes only tops out at 89mph. So take your pick. Strikeouts or ground outs?

I would not say that arm slot determines how fast you throw.

This guy had a pretty low arm slot but could throw the gas.

[quote]This guy had a pretty low arm slot but could throw the gas.
[/quote] Yes but that is not usually the case, most sidewinders top out at 89-90. The thing that is amazing about Walter Johnson is that he didn’t pitch the ball, he just threw it like a regular infielder would today. Look at it!

Walter Johnson did not throw like an infielder. For one, he had a sidearm delivery, and for two, he had great separation of his arm from his body, not something that infielders do often. Infielders actually cock their arms high on most occasions, and Johnson could hit in the high 90’s with a ball that had huge seams. I would say he was above the rest, but don’t take my word for it, listen to ty cobb

Ty Cobb said of Johnson, “we couldn’t touch him…he had the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ballpark.”

It is also said that upon seeing Bob Feller, the fireballer throw in a game, Johnson admitted to having thrown faster. His strikeout record stood 10 years longer than Babe Ruth’s home run record.

Walter Johnson was in a league of his own.

Well-said, jlspencer. Walter “Big Train” Johnson was one of the all-time elite pitchers–he performed at an incredibly high level for 20 years, winning 417 games for the mostly helpless Washington Senators. There are no legit questions about the Big Train’s cred, but as always, there are serious questions about our appreciation of history.

Here’s another pretty good sidearmer from the past:

Last Natl League pitcher to win 30 games in a season.

My bad, but he didn’t throw like putting 100 percent effort into every throw. it looks like he had a nice, easy motion.