NPA Velocity "Holds" and two problems with them

I wrote a post about the NPA Velocity program “holds” with the weighted baseballs and why we’re not using them in our MaxVelo program anymore:

High-speed video included! Here’s a comparison of a throw vs. a hold:

Note the disconnection/pushing action during the acceleration phase? Is this something we want to teach pitchers?

Good catch and analysis. Do you think this happens in towel drills too? If so, then what would towel drills ever be good for?

It absolutely happens in towel drills - I’d bet far worse than with the “holds.”

I don’t use the towel drill. Ever.

I just dried my hands, should I snap the counter with it - You know, for extension?

:lol:

Those look like two different pitchers (different hair, shorts, cleats, glove-side arm action) which, to me, makes it hard to draw any conclusions from the comparison. Also, were they throwing the same weight ball? I see the differing arm motion you refer to and I agree the arm motion on the right is less desirable but that less desirable motion could be due simply to throwing a heavier ball.

I am currently doing the NPA program and I agree with Roger- it’s probably just the heavier balls that is causing that, or it could just that 1 particular person who is doing that. I have been told that the program is actually good for your mechanics in a way because if you do every rep at 100% like your supposed to, it brings back your natural arm slot because all you think about is doing it as hard as you can, not how you do it. Plus the throws you do in the program will neutralize that arm action you are talking about.

I have been told that there has been a lot of medical research done and there hasn’t been any problems so far with it and that many college teams are starting to implement this in their program. They said that they have had over 3,000 people do the program and have had no injuries and everyone has gained at least 4 mph, with an average of 6-7 mph. I think it’s safe to say that this is a good program. Even if what you are saying is true, I’m willing to trade in 6 mph and a healthier shoulder for one mechanical flaw that I can easily fix in an off-season.

If a heavier ball was causing the different arm action, would it be desirable to do? Even if it strengthen certain muscles, would it be reinforcing low-velocity mechanics? Does the fact that it is heavier or the fact that he is holding onto the ball instead of throwing it affect the arm action? This isn’t necessarily directed at you,Roger, just a general question where I don’t know the answer.

I am not sure what you mean. They are the same pitcher on different days if you mean the image in this post; there are two examples in my post on my website.

Have you two even read the blog entry in the first post? I have addressed many of your questions.

Will they? My evidence shows this isn’t the case, and I showed my work. Show me high-speed video of you doing a throw vs. a hold. (Does your coach use high-speed video? Does he use video at all?)

This makes it clear; you didn’t even read my blog entry. I said that the NPA program probably does increase the velocity of the participants, but there is no control group, no “throws only” group, no “holds only” group, and no scientific study they made public. Just claims with no public evidence to back it up.

Roger:

I’ll film kids doing a hold with a 5 oz. ball today. I’ll also film them throwing a 5 oz. ball vs. a 9 oz. ball. Any other questions you have for me in the next hour will be filmed with high-speed video.

If that translates into the arm action used when pitching normally, then you would think that is not desirable. But this creates a dilemma. I don’t think that arm action lends itself to improved velocity yet what I’ve heard about the NPA program is that it is highly successful. Steve Delabar, in the video in Kyle’s blog, went through the program and is throwing mid-90’s. I don’t think you can call that “low-velocity”.

That is my question too. Kyle seems to think that holding onto the ball changes muscle activation in such a way that alters the arm action. I’m not disagreeing with that - I honestly don’t know. But I do know that throwing a heavier object also alters arm action. The obvious example of this is a quarterback throwing a football. Basically, the heavier the object, the closer to the body the object is kept. (An extreme example is a shot put’er.)

[quote=“kyleb”]Roger:

I’ll film kids doing a hold with a 5 oz. ball today. I’ll also film them throwing a 5 oz. ball vs. a 9 oz. ball. Any other questions you have for me in the next hour will be filmed with high-speed video.[/quote]
I just wasn’t clear on what we were seeing in the side-by-side. I would think you would want to compare the following:

(1) throw vs. hold with same pitcher and same weight ball
(2) throw vs. throw with same pitcher and different weight balls (probably regulation and significantly heavier just to magnify any differences)

I strongly believe in throwing heavier baseballs. The NPA obviously does, too. We are definitely in agreement there.

We disagree on training deceleration. I also don’t like how they don’t give credit to the person who brought it to baseball first, even if he’s a disagreeable jerk.

And for the record, Marshall (and his followers) think I’m an idiot. So it’s not about friendship. It’s about fairness and giving credit where it’s due.

[quote=“Roger”][quote=“kyleb”]Roger:

I’ll film kids doing a hold with a 5 oz. ball today. I’ll also film them throwing a 5 oz. ball vs. a 9 oz. ball. Any other questions you have for me in the next hour will be filmed with high-speed video.[/quote]
I just wasn’t clear on what we were seeing in the side-by-side. I would think you would want to compare the following:

(1) throw vs. hold with same pitcher and same weight ball
(2) throw vs. throw with same pitcher and different weight balls (probably regulation and significantly heavier just to magnify any differences)[/quote]

The pitchers in the clips on my post and in this post are the same. Just on different days.

#2 is forthcoming as I cut video up.

Here are some large files, beware!

Pitcher A, 5oz (regulation ball) - throw vs. hold:

Note the terrible disconnection in the arm action.

Pitcher B, 7oz (heavy ball) - throw vs. hold:

Again, the same disconnection occurs.

Pitcher C, 5oz throw (regulation) vs. 7oz throw (heavy):

No appreciable difference aside from slightly increased elbow flexion at SFC (maybe slightly increased shoulder ER at SFC). At 420 FPS zoomed in on the pitching arm, you can see improved/increased pronation closer to the time of release with heavier baseballs.

Hope this helps confirm what I said in my post and answers other questions. Plenty more high-speed to come.

Curious, are your pitchers using their normal fastball grip for the holds? Or are they using a different grip - like wrapping all of their fingers around the ball?

Looks like a shorter stride with the holds.

A deep change-up grip, just like the guys in the NPA Velocity program.

Kyle,

Good stuff, thanks for sharing. I know you’re a proponent of wrist weights. Do you have any video of those that you would mind sharing?

Thanks,
Lantz

Not yet. It’s on the list of things to film alongside an explanatory blog post on blending/non-blending of mechanical concepts.

re: “We disagree on training deceleration. I also don’t like how they don’t give credit to the person who brought it to baseball first, even if he’s a disagreeable jerk.”

Tom House credits Dr. James Andrews with introducing the importance of pre-habbing the decelerator muscle groups in baseball pitchers…as per Dr. Andrews’ publications in peer-reviewed literature dating back to 1985. Dr. Andrews isn’t a jerk, from everything I’ve heard he is a very nice guy.

Dr. Glen Fleisig was later a collaborator with Dr. Andrews who also became involved in the scientific study of deceleration in the throwing athlete…their published work in the 90s helped to further refine the understanding of the deceleration forces involved in throwing a baseball, and the need for strength conditioning of the decelerator muscle groups.

I’d be surprised if Mike Marshall “brought these concepts to baseball” before the mid-80’s; however, if he claims that he did (without any tangible proof)…I wouldn’t be at all surprised about that.

Tom House specifically credits tennis for deceleration training re: holds, and the NPA Velocity program (from Evans) has very recent roots. (Certainly after Marshall started wrist weight training.)

I am pretty sure you have seen the video on HBO (as well as linked on my blog and on YouTube) where House says this.

The idea of “holds” from House (or Andrews) hasn’t been around since the mid-80’s, to the best of my knowledge. But I’d love to see your evidence that claims otherwise.