Not too old to change


#1

Hey Guys-
Long time lurker, first time poster. I’m 40 years old pitching in an Over-30 men’s baseball league. I threw from Little League through JUCO (junior college) ball. After 15 years off, I’m playing in my 4th season.

Currently, I’m working out with a pitching instructor, ex-Oriole Rick Krivda. Part of the instruction involves video analysis. I took a sample of video to post here. I’ve read a lot of great things from a number of experienced voice on this website. If you would, take a look at my motion.

I’m 6’5", 260lbs and throw 4 innings an outing. That’s the max innings the league allows per game.

And feedback, criticism, helpful hints and pointers are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Here’s the link:

Jeff


#2

looks like you’re striding a bit to the third base side of the plate, try to stride straight on. You’re facial hair and body build make you look a bit like a lefty roger clemens though, haha. other than that most of it looks kind of minor, you might open up a bit too soon, but that will maybe be fixed if you stride straight on


#3

First, let me say that I’m impressed that you’re pitching at 40. Good work.

I’d like to see you get more rotation out of your back leg and foot. It’s kind of dead and just gets tugged along. Also, I’d suggest more “chest thrust” as you begin to rotate your shoulders.


#4

DM-
Thanks for the feedback…some clarification if you don’t mind. First, how would I get more back leg\foot rotation? Looking at other video clips, I assume I should “windmill” the back leg\foot around. I think it’s because sometimes I don’t stay on the balls of my feet during the windup…tend to get back on my heels, making me a bit flat during the follow-through.

As for chest thrust, what do you mean?

3&0,
Yes, one of my issues is a tendency to open my lead shoulder, not staying closed long enough through delivery, resulting it a couple of inches drift towards 3B. If I focus on keeping that lead shoulder closed a bit longer, my lead leg will land on target. Damn muscle memory…still trying to break it in order to improve.


#5

[quote=“shrek”]…I assume I should “windmill” the back leg\foot around.[/quote]I’m not sure what that means but I’d suggest you not focus on what it does with the exception of an extension and inward rotation as your stride progresses toward landing. Check out Kevin Brown’s back leg in this video.

Note the extension, spinning and timing of those.

[quote=“shrek”]As for chest thrust, what do you mean?[/quote]As the shoulders begin to turn, as the front foot lands, the chest is thrust out toward the target before the trunk flexes forward to release and beyond. Check out some of the clips in the library on this site for this one and the back leg issue.


#6

First things first… Your age of 40 means you’ve probably lost some flexibility. That could explain why certain things happen or don’t happen.

Overall, I think your mechanics look pretty good with a few small exceptions. First, I think you have a small posture issue. When I look at a pitcher for the first time, the first thing I look at is what the head does. In your case, I see your head move down and back toward 2B at or right after you break your hands. This represents an inappropriate posture change. It creates extra, unnecessary movement which can affect control. Also, it takes extra work to recover from that inappropriate posture which, over the course of a game, can cause you to tire faster which, in turn, can also affect control.

Now, such a posture change is often caused by collapsing the back leg. But in your case, I think it is tied to what your stride leg does. You lead with the stride foot and in order to balance the stride foot reaching out front your upper half leans back. My preference would be to lead with the front hip a bit longer into your stride and then swing the leg out quicker. In order to maintain balance you’ll probably want to increase your tempo by getting the hips going forward a bit faster.

Leading more with the front hip and increasing the tempo will provide a couple other benefits in addition to helping with the posture issue. First, it will likely lengthen your stride and move your release point closer to home plate. Second, it will improve your timing and help keep you from opening up early.

Finally, I don’t see much hip and shoulder separation. Your shoulders seem to start rotating right at foot plant. Ideally they should wait until the hips are fully rotated before they go. Maybe this is an age-40-lack-of-flexibility thing? Or, it could be an issue with the glove arm as front side dictates the timing the backside gets. You do appear to drop the glove before the front foot plants. Try to make sure the glove is still up in front at foot plant. It doesn’t have to be there for any length of time - just at the right time. And it doesn’t have to stop there - it can be there in passing. But, being in the right place at the right time lets the back side stay closed as long as it should.


#7

DM, is the chest thrust out or are the scaps loaded? Either way, do you want to consciously try to do this?


#8

[quote=“Roger”]…is the chest thrust out or are the scaps loaded? Either way, do you want to consciously try to do this?[/quote]I don’t believe the chest thrust just happens. I believe it’s part of the scap loading process. Is it scap loading or chest thrusting? Well, it could be similar to the question of do you bring the chest to the glove or the glove to the chest. Nyman, I believe, recommends that you do consciously pinch the shoulder blades and that this does not actually cause misalignment in the shoulder socket, rather the opposite is true. I suggest that “pinching the shoulder blades together” is something quite different than attempting to get the elbows as far behind the back as possible. Anatomically, I see focussing on pinching the shoulder blades together as a healthy thing, despite what many on this site and others fear. The humerus is attached to the body by it’s relationship to the scapula (a part of which is the shoulder socket). As the scap goes, so does the humerus. The humerus can still be aligned in the socket while displaying the horizontal W. It may look dangerous on the rotator cuff but it’s possible to keep the scap/humerus relationship constant.

So, to answer your question, finally, I’d suggest that, when the shoulders start to rotate, you focus on pinching the shoulder blades, not pulling the elbows back, and thrust the chest outward, setting up the subsequent flexing forward with the torso.


#9

Holy schnikes, a ton of info. Thanks Roger and DM. I appreciate all the feedback. You mention 40 and a lack of flexibility creeping in. Well, at age 33, I had major lower back surgery (80% removal of L4 & L5 disks). As a result, it usually take awhile to fully loosen up. The video clip was of the 1st inning. Not to make excuses but it takes about 1.5 innings to get loose. Hence, maybe I overcompensating for the stiffness?

The 10 seconds of video is from 5-6 full inning video set.

  1. I looked at PAS leg and see how the knee bends (legs collapses a bit) when my hands separate. I’ll work on keeping the PAS leg from collapsing. Obviously, that will help my balance and remove the need for correction during delivery.
  2. Front shoulder closed by reminding myself to move with the front hip towards the plate first as opposed to worrying about squaring to the target. It’s sideways first then square.
  3. I got away from a technique where I essentially point the glove at the target and through release bring my chest to the glove. This serves as a reminder to get everything moving towards the plate.

I’ll try to take more video as I modify things and note my performance for comparison purposes. I didn’t get this way overnight and know it won’t correct itself that way. Small victories…

Does the above sound like I’m understanding you guys correctly?
Appreciate the help…thanks again.
Jeff


#10

So you’re saying that scap loading doesn’t just happen either? I’ve been of the opinion scap loading does just happen. I thought the thrust out chest is part of scap loading and part of keeping the head and shoulder stacked upright.

I didn’t realize people had concerns about humeral misalignment. Maybe I’m just ignorant. :frowning:

I guess I don’t really have any health concerns with scap loading. Instead, I see scap loading as necessary. Remember it’s not scap positioning - it’s scap loading. It loads up part of the shoulder that is about to undergo some tremendous force without being snapped tight like a piece of rope with slack in it.

I think loading the scaps and keeping the head and shoulders stacked upright into release results in a chest that appears thrust out. I think keeping the head and shoulders stacked is also what sets up the subsequent torso flexion as keeping the head and shoulders stacked is achieved through low back extension and a momentary isometric load.

BTW, House says that scap loading just happens. On the other hand, a number of his fitness drills are performed specifically with the shoulder blades intentionally pinched together. Mixed message? Or is there some benefit in conditioning what ever muscles are used to pinch the blades together even if the pinching is not done concsiously when pitching?


#11

Haven’t heard that one before but I like it. :lol:

Shoot. That makes your pitching even that much more impressive. Of course, that makes me scared to be suggesting changes in your mechanics because I certainly don’t understand the implications given your condition.

[quote]The 10 seconds of video is from 5-6 full inning video set.

  1. I looked at PAS leg and see how the knee bends (legs collapses a bit) when my hands separate. I’ll work on keeping the PAS leg from collapsing. Obviously, that will help my balance and remove the need for correction during delivery.[/quote]
    Actually, I said I didn’t think you collapsed your back leg. Instead, I said I thought you reach out with the front foot and, in order to stay balanced, you lean back (toward 2B) with your upper half. Leading with the front hip instead of the front foot should let you keep your upper half from leaning back since it won’t have to counter-balance your lower half.

[quote]2. Front shoulder closed by reminding myself to move with the front hip towards the plate first as opposed to worrying about squaring to the target. It’s sideways first then square.
3. I got away from a technique where I essentially point the glove at the target and through release bring my chest to the glove. This serves as a reminder to get everything moving towards the plate.[/quote]
What you do with the glove itself - point it, tuck it, etc. - is a personal thing. But leaving the glove out front and bringing the chest to it is a good thing, IMHO.

Now there’s some great wisdom. You listening, RIstar?


#12

Roger, no worries. Believe me, I am well enough along to know when “Hey Doc, it hurts when I do that!..well, don’t do THAT.” If any changes to my delivery result me “feeling it” in my lower back, I will stop it.

Ok, I got it about leading with the hip…sorry, I misunderstood. It’s something I’ve been trying to work on…sort of like trying to show off my front butt cheek to the batter. (Nevermind, I AIN"T goin’ there :shock:).
You got a different reminder to help me with this?

All in all, it doesn’t sound like a lot of change…we’ll see how it goes during warm-ups today.


#13

Ok…outing on Tuesday night went pretty well.
Mental Checklist

  1. Front shoulder closed.
  2. Moving laterally towards plate.
  3. Lead with front hip.

Could tell something was working. I landing leg was ending up in the same spot more consistently as well as on line with the plate. Tells me my balance was better and that I was better at getting my body moving towards the plate.

Still have difficulties with #3, leading with the front hip. B\c I lead with my front foot instead front hip, my lower half seems just a fraction ahead of my top half, resulting in lost velocity.

Does anyone have a mental indicator\reminder that would help me with leading with the front hip?


#14

Need some clarification here. Is your foot out in front of the hips or this hips and everything below in front of the shoulders? When we talk about leading with the front hip, we’re really just talking about longer into the stride. Obviously, at some point, the front foot gets out in front of everything else. We just want that to happen as late as possible. So, what’s important is the timing.


#15

Roger-
The foot is out in front of my hips.

Also, as someone noted earlier, as my leg lands, my shoulders are a bit late to square to the target.

What can I do to adjust the timing?


#16

Maybe you can not lead into the hip that much and focus on getting the hip going sooner so the whole center of the body’s gravity is going towards home and not sitting to far back.


#17

RIStar-
That’s exactly the issue…my center of gravity is sitting back too long, not getting started towards the plate early enough. Talking about it makes it seem like a small enough change. However, trying to do it makes it feel like a serious change to the 2nd-half of my delivery. This is definitely going to take some adjustment.

My earlier question still stands…is there a mental\physical reminder that will tell me that NOW is when my hips need to start towards the plate. We’re talking about breaking a habit that’s existed for a lot of years.


#18

I wouldn’t think to much when you are doing this just glide when you lift your leg up but don’t over think just throw.


#19

[quote=“shrek”]Roger-
The foot is out in front of my hips.

Also, as someone noted earlier, as my leg lands, my shoulders are a bit late to square to the target.

What can I do to adjust the timing?[/quote]

Hmmmm… The shoulders should still be closed when the front foot plants because the hips are probably still opening up. You want the shoulders to stay closed long enough for the hips to complete their rotation as that maximizes the stretch across the front of the torso which, in turn, maximizes shoulder rotation.

There is a simple drill you can do to get used to the feeling of starting the hips forward early. Stand next to a chain link fence with the side of your glove side shoulder facing the fence. Stand with your throwing arm side foot about 8"-10" away from the fence. Simply lift your knee and push your hips toward the fence as if you’re initiating your stride. Make sure that your hip (or back pocket) is the first thing to touch the fence. As you get comfortable, you can start your knee lift sooner and sooner. You can also move further away from the fence. Make sure you maintain your normal knee lift height.

When you eventually take it to the mound, you’ll need to force your front leg to move quicker from knee lift out to foot plant out front. Another good drill to help get the feel for leading with the hip is the cross-over drill. In this drill, you simply cross your stride foot in front of your pivot foot. Bend the knees if necessary to get both heels on the ground. From this position, lift hte knee and push the hips sideways toward the target. The crossed-over position sort of forces you to lead with the hip. Remember to maintain your normal knee lift height.

After the cross-over drill, you can progress to the narrow stance drill which moves you closer to your normal stance. It is the same as the cross-over drill except the starting position is the feet together (touching but not crossed over) in a toe-to-arch alignment (back foot toe aligned with front foot arch).

After the narrow stance drill, progress to your normal stance still startng the hips early, leading with the hips, and maintaining normal knee lift height.


#20

Roger-
Thank you. These are great drills, exactly what I am looking for to help re-train my body for a better delivery. The fence drill is excellent…I worked with it for a little while while warming up last night. I’ll continue to use it as well as the crossover drill for the remainder of the season and more heavily during the off-season. This has become another off-season focus, leading with the hips.

Appreciate the time and feedback from everyone.