Newbie, extremely confused and concerned about House & M


#1

I am a father of 2 little leaguers. For years (7) I have been a sponge learning all I can about Pitching to try and help my kids and my LL teams. I started with Dick Mills stuff when it first came out and learned it backwards and forwards. Instilled the drills in my kids so much that they are more qualified (with Dick mills stuff) to teach pitching than 90% of the LL coaches out there. I know that Mills has changed alot of his thoughts and I am very afraid to look at his new ideas for fear that I have instilled the wrong stuff for alot of years. I recently started studying T. House and his idea of mechanics. ALthough I can learn somethign from most anyone (good or bad) he is night and day different from Mills. Some of House’s stuff seems very good, I do not agree with some though. He praises Mark Prior and his “flawless” mechanics, that alone scares the bejezus out of me. Prior pitches in more simulated games and does more towel drills than actually pitches. (I’m from Chicago) He is hurt much more than healthy. My dilemma is what should I concentrate on? Should I just keep going with what I am doing? Should I start my kids over and “un-teach” them what they have already learned? Or should I just find a tall tree and a short rope? Please help, thouroghly confused and frustrated… THanks in advance, sorry so long.


#2

That’s sad but accurate commentary about the pitching knowledge possessed by today’s youth coaches.

What you should be afraid of is letting your kids continue down a path that’s based on other than the latest ideas. There is a lot of conventional wisdom that is just plain wrong but it’s still taught. Tom House openly admits he’s screwed kids up by teaching them things that he now knows are wrong. But he didn’t know they were wrong back when he taught them. This is why you need to learn Mills’ latest ideas.

I’m only partially familiar with Mills’ stuff but I’d be interested in hearing what things you think are night and day. Over time, I’d expect the gurus to all be converging in their ideas.

A lot of people think that just because House worked with Prior that Prior’s injuries are due to House’s mechanics. That fact is, these people have no clue. At one point in Prior’s career when he was under someone else’s command, he was overused. If you’re not familiar with the Pitcher Abuse Points (now call P-cubed) go to the Baseball Prospectus website and learn about it. Prior’s pitch counts exceeded the p^3 limit and that is what led to initial injury for Prior.

Since you already know old Mills stuff, I would suggest learning new Mills stuff. Then learn House stuff (unless you feel you already know it). Compare and contrast - they might not be as night and day as you thought. Then pick the best from both. As for your kids, I really don’t think you’ll be starting them over and un-teaching them so much. You might make some changes but it won’t be a total re-teach.

I am a Tom House/NPA certified pitching instructor and I’d be happy to explain/discuss his ideas. I find that many people who disagree with his ideas often are not up to date on his ideas or they don’t fully understand them. He does change his thinking from time to time. Some people think that’s being wishy-washy. But it’s actually a good thing because he’s getting rid of the bad/wrong stuff and adding good/correct stuff. And all of his new ideas are based on science and high-speed 3D video analysis. Which of his ideas do you disagree with?


#3

That’s sad but accurate commentary about the pitching knowledge possessed by today’s youth coaches.

What you should be afraid of is letting your kids continue down a path that’s based on other than the latest ideas. There is a lot of conventional wisdom that is just plain wrong but it’s still taught. Tom House openly admits he’s screwed kids up by teaching them things that he now knows are wrong. But he didn’t know they were wrong back when he taught them. This is why you need to learn Mills’ latest ideas.

I’m only partially familiar with Mills’ stuff but I’d be interested in hearing what things you think are night and day. Over time, I’d expect the gurus to all be converging in their ideas.

A lot of people think that just because House worked with Prior that Prior’s injuries are due to House’s mechanics. That fact is, these people have no clue. At one point in Prior’s career when he was under someone else’s command, he was overused. If you’re not familiar with the Pitcher Abuse Points (now call P-cubed) go to the Baseball Prospectus website and learn about it. Prior’s pitch counts exceeded the p^3 limit and that is what led to initial injury for Prior.

Since you already know old Mills stuff, I would suggest learning new Mills stuff. Then learn House stuff (unless you feel you already know it). Compare and contrast - they might not be as night and day as you thought. Then pick the best from both. As for your kids, I really don’t think you’ll be starting them over and un-teaching them so much. You might make some changes but it won’t be a total re-teach.

I am a Tom House/NPA certified pitching instructor and I’d be happy to explain/discuss his ideas. I find that many people who disagree with his ideas often are not up to date on his ideas or they don’t fully understand them. He does change his thinking from time to time. Some people think that’s being wishy-washy. But it’s actually a good thing because he’s getting rid of the bad/wrong stuff and adding good/correct stuff. And all of his new ideas are based on science and high-speed 3D video analysis. Which of his ideas do you disagree with?[/quote]

Roger, I DO NOT mean anything other than good by this. If you are the same Roger who has posted on another site for quite awhile now [infosports] to be exact. I have one line for you, imo. YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY!!!


#4

Yes, that’s me. Thanks for the complement. But I don’t recall your “handle” here on that other board. Do you go by a different name over there?


#5

Roger, I have not posted there in a while, jim


#6

I read Mills’ blog entries from time to time, I haven’t ordered his program … from my limited knowledge of his theories… the thing I like best is that he dismisses drills such as the towel or the throwing from one knee thing … the best thing to do is to just throw off the mound, plain and simple


#7

Do you think pitchers can get enough practice “reps” by only throwing off the mound without wearing out their arms over the course of a season?

Do you think the hitters should only do live BP? No soft toss or tee work?


#8

Can anyone give a couple of examples where Mills and House differ? Just curious.


#9

One of the biggest things I notice is Mills is huge on arm action during hand break. The video I seen of House he totally dismisses the action of the arms in Hand break, also Mills seems to be alot more interested in arm angle, whereas House is definitvely against altering arm angle in the least. ALso, and maybe I am misinterpreting, but House seems to be a proponent of the Curve Ball and Slider for any age, suggesting that it can cause no damage.

Another thing that I dont quite understand is Pitch counts and House. If I am understanding correctly, he is aroudn 75 pitches for 9-10 year olds. Not that it’s a bad thing, but in the next segment during drills and mound practice he seems to discontinue his whole pitch count theory, by advocating numbers of reps in several different drills. How does this practice not count against pitch counts is what baffles me. Granted I’m a newbie, that’s why I am here.

I am also confused on the towel drill. Mills has a similar drill. How can this possibly be more beneficial than actually throwing. The towel isnt even remotely close to the same size, weight, or feel of a ball. Also each towel is goign to be different in size and weight, and also will be different if fell if not held in the same EXACT spot with the same EXACT pressure applied by each finger and hand.

In my opinion it would be like saying, if you grab a tree limb with “X” amount of leaves on it of “X” size and ghost swing, it will improve your hitting. I am just baffled by this.

Please dont misread what I am saying, I am not trying to offend anyone, I just want to be confident in what I am teaching and understand the techniques.

Thanks again for all your opinions. This board is a Godsend for someone like me.


#10

I’m not a fan of tee work for hitting … soft toss I like from straight on at a close distance with the tosser behind a screen, when done from the side I don’t get much from it…

As far as Mills, and how he ridicules pitching drills … I tend to agree, yes…


#11

Here’s some quotes from Mills’ blog (below) … makes sense to me:

“The main idea that sports science has studied about drills for decades is that a drill is actually considered a separate movement skill…all by itself. In other words when you do a drill you are establishing a movement pattern specific to that drill. That means that no matter what the intention is of the drill to improve a pitcher’s mechanics, the drill will not transfer and will not aid in improving overall mechanics. The pitcher only gets better at doing the drill.”

"You … do not improve your actual pitching throwing skills which are performed by throwing at game speed from a mound. That is mainly where pitchers should be trying to make adjustments in their mechanics since that is where they are expected to be successful…throwing from the mound. "

"Movement patterns happen in the brain and that is why you must practice the pitching delivery as one fluid movement rather than partial movements that are considered drills. Only beginners should do drills. However, once they have built a delivery, they should stop the drills. They have no further use after that. "

"If one does not practice a skill (pitching from the mound at game speed), one does not improve/learn the skill. By practicing everything but the skill, (towel drills, long toss, throwing weighted balls, flat ground work) all of which should improve because they are being practiced, how can the non-practiced skill (pitching off the mound) improve? "

“Drills and those other mentioned irrelevant activities are a waste of time, useless and some dangerous. Those activities are what prevent pitchers from improving to the best of their ability.”


#12

Actually, Mills does not have a drill similar to the towel drill. He used to but he’s changed his teaching on this. He despises the towel drill and, as andrew.ra posted, he proposes that drills of any kind are non-productive, unless for a beginner. He believes that the time spent on drills would be better spent on practicing the actual skill that you will be performing in game situations.

Given that, he does believe that drills within a “reverse progression” or “pitching backwards” sequence, as he puts it, is valuable. In this scenario, one always does what is expected in a game situation, only starting at the end and working backwards in partial amounts. This could be termed “drills” but there’s a significant difference between this and the towel drill, for example.


#13

Just to follow up, is the main difference between House and Mills the importance of arm action? and arm slot? Does Mills believe there is one “correct” arm slot? From what i can gather neither are proponents of driving off the back leg. Thanks for the input.


#14

Mills used to be an anti-push guy but has dramatically changed his thoughts on that one. He won’t go so far as to use the term “push” though. His teaching now is that one must powerfully “lunge sideways”. He also goes so far as to say that the energy built up getting from the back leg to the front leg determines the speed of the pitch, not muscular contraction of the upper body and especially not the arm. He states that it is the elastic properties of the muscles and connective tissues that propel the arm but that the energy that gets used there comes from the transfer of momentum that was originally generated by the stride. So, as you can see, with this scenario the push off the back leg is paramount. He’s now elevated it to the point where it’s the most important thing.


#15

TOm House preaches that symmetry stuff after you break your hands; symmetry between the leand arm and throwing arm, right? … I don’t really see the point or benefit of focusing on that …


#16

one other point. House believes you take the body out to the glove. Others say you pull the glove hand back to the hip. Others say it’s essenstially the same thing. Seems like you could have a kid try both methods and see what works best for them. A lot probably will depend on how their brain interprets that info. It does seem that the “thought” of taking your body out to the glove keeps your momentum heading towards the target.

any thoughts on that?


#17

There are certain parts of the pitching delivery that House claims belong to the pitcher. That is, he makes no attempt to get pitchers to standardize on a particular way of doing those things. This makes sense. Not all pitchers look the same when they pitch. There are certain things that they all do but other things are unimportant and are part of a pitcher’s unique style.

House doesn’t teach anything with respect to arm action other than getting the arms into an opposite and equal position at foot strike. This aids balance and timing.

“Proponent” is too strong of a word. House believes that the curve ball, when thrown correctly, is only slightly harder on the arm than a fastball. For young pitchers, he feels it is better to teach them the correct way to throw them than to not teach them at all. House says teach them correctly and then impose strict limits on the number of curves thrown. House discourages sliders for young pitchers.

I’ll agree that House’s pitch count recommendations are a bit high for young pitchers - at least when compared to the numbers recommended by the American Sports Medicine Institute (http://www.asmi.org). I’d limit 9-10 year olds to around 50 pitches per game with proper rest in between.

Regarding the drills, it depends on which drills you’re referring to. Any drills in which the pitcher does not throw with full intensity cannot be counted the same as full-intensity pitching. Lower intensity or lesser weight of the object thrown means more reps can be done. This is the gist of drills like the towel drill and flat ground throwing.

The purpose of the towel drill is to practice mechanics - things like leading with the hips, separation of hips and shoulders, late shoulder rotation, etc. Doing this drill helps you get a feel for these things. Hitting the target with the towel is not the goal of the drill - it is merely feedback. If your mechanics are good you will hit the target.

Unless you subscribe to Mills’ specificity theory, this is no different than a hitter doing soft toss or tee work to help work on the mechanics of hitting.

[quote=“Jayro”]Please dont misread what I am saying, I am not trying to offend anyone, I just want to be confident in what I am teaching and understand the techniques.

Thanks again for all your opinions. This board is a Godsend for someone like me.[/quote]
No offense taken here. This is good discussion.


#18

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]Here’s some quotes from Mills’ blog (below) … makes sense to me:

“The main idea that sports science has studied about drills for decades is that a drill is actually considered a separate movement skill…all by itself. In other words when you do a drill you are establishing a movement pattern specific to that drill. That means that no matter what the intention is of the drill to improve a pitcher’s mechanics, the drill will not transfer and will not aid in improving overall mechanics. The pitcher only gets better at doing the drill.”[/quote]
I consider this nothing more than a theory and I am personally unconvinced that nothing done in drills carries over to pitching.

The problem here is that pitchers can only do so much throwing before their arms are trashed. Pitchers’ arms need a certain amount of recovery time. So the question becomes how does a pitcher get enough practice in without trashing their arm? If their practice consists only of throwing at 100% intensity, pitchers would not be able to get much practice.

I feel that if this is true, it is true not for all but the beginners but for all but those who have achieved the highest level of excellence. I seriously doubt this would apply to the young pitchers I work with.

Noone said you shouldn’t practice pitching from the mound at game speed - there is no “non-practiced skill”. You just can’t do it every day and get enough reps in to make the necessary improvements one needs to make and then still pitch on game day.

Does Mills provide any factual or scientific support for these claims?


#19

Actually, Mills does not have a drill similar to the towel drill. He used to but he’s changed his teaching on this. He despises the towel drill and, as andrew.ra posted, he proposes that drills of any kind are non-productive, unless for a beginner. He believes that the time spent on drills would be better spent on practicing the actual skill that you will be performing in game situations.

Given that, he does believe that drills within a “reverse progression” or “pitching backwards” sequence, as he puts it, is valuable. In this scenario, one always does what is expected in a game situation, only starting at the end and working backwards in partial amounts. This could be termed “drills” but there’s a significant difference between this and the towel drill, for example.[/quote]

Based on everything I’ve read about Mills’ ideas here (knowing that they could be described inaccurately here), I’m surprised that Mills believes in the reverse progression drills. It seems likely that such drills could not be performed with the momentum, speed, timing, intensity, etc.


#20

Not sure about Mills but House does not teach arm slot. He believes arm slot belongs to the pitcher.