Pitching Mechanics: Outdated Wisdom?

This topic stems from an article I just wrote today titled Common Pitching Mechanics Mistakes. I wrote it because there are many “outdated” pitching theories out in the baseball community that are still being taught 50 years after they were introduced.

Here is a short list of common “non-teaches” that I thought of: drop and drive, stay back, stay over the rubber, tall and fall, point your toe to home plate, reach back, get on top of the ball to created the right angle.

I’m just curious what many athletes are hearing out in your neck of the woods. What are some other no-teach pitching philosophies you think are outdated?

Thank you kindly

I would definitely add balance point teaching to your list. I think it and the misunderstanding of “staying back” have held back more pitchers than any other concepts. Most of this teaching is only 20 or so years old. Fifty years ago was 1961 - almost the heyday of Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, and a little later Tom Seaver. None of those guys pitched that way. (Seaver did drop and drive - but the key is the drive.) I grew up in the sixties and we all pitched like they did. I trace the up-down-out-balance point teaching to the early '90’s. But, it’s amazing how that stuff stuck and how widely it spread. Almost every young pitcher I meet moves like a slow robot. Where is your article?

Good morning, “Pitching Academy”.
I absolutely cracked up while I was reading this list of outmoded philosophies—or whatever one wants to call them, because it seems to me that just about every Tom, Dick and Harry, not to mention Jose and Orlando and Professor Hosselplotz, comes up with something. A lot of the time it’s simply “old wine in a new bottle”. The one thing they have in common is that they don’t work for everybody.
Maybe there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to pitching. But a lot of coaches don’t realize this—and that’s where the trouble begins.
Way back when, when I was playing—oh, many moons ago—I had an absolutely incredible pitching coach. He was an active major-league pitcher who doubled in brass as an extra pitching coach for the Yankees, and he was one of the finest pitching coaches anyone could ever hope to work with. And he had a basic philosophy: every pitcher has a natural motion. That’s right. You don’t mess with a pitcher’s natural arm slot, whatever it is. You work with that pitcher and show him how to make the most of it, to take full advantage of that delivery and the pitches he (or she) throws. His name was Ed Lopat, and he was a finesse pitcher par excellence—not much on speed, or so everyone thought, but he threw everything except the kitchen sink, and his particular specialty was beating the Cleveland Indians, consistently and mercilessly, to an unrecognizable pulp. I met him for the first time after a game at Yankee Stadium in which he outpitched Bob Lemon 2-1, and all I wanted to ask him was something about the slider, a pitch I had been wondering about all season.
His response was to draw me aside and take several minutes to show me how to throw a good one. And while I was familiarizing myself with the off-center grip and the easier wrist action, he watched me and made some mental notes—about such things as the fact that I was a natural sidearmer who, though not particularly fast, could throw hard, used the slide-step all the time because it gave me extra speed in my delivery to the plate, and was madly in love with the crossfire (a beautiful and lethal move that works only with the sidearm delivery). He formed in his mind a jumping-off point from which he could work with me, and so for over three years he was my pitching coach. What I learned from him in that time was nothing short of priceless; he recognized that I was really interested, really wanted to know, and was willing to work at it, and so he had no reservations about teaching me a lot of advanced stuff he felt I needed to know. And there was no fooling around with this theory and that. We experimented to find what would work for me, and we developed and refined it, whether it be a variation of the curve ball or a snap-throw to first which evolved into a very good pickoff move for me (and I was a righthander, yet!)
And he had a basic premise about how to get the batters out: figure out what the batter is looking for, and don’t give it to him. The devil was in the details, and I learned about strategic pitching. And I won a ton of games in the 20-some-odd years I pitched, with no problems, and for this I will remember him forever.
So that’s my seventy-five cents’ worth (inflation, you know)—never mind those theories, most of which don’t work anyway, just figure out what’s going to work for the individual pitcher and show him or her how to make the most of it. And now I’m off to breakfast. Have a good day—and remember, work fast, throw strikes, change speeds and stay away from the middle of the plate! 8) :slight_smile: :baseballpitcher:

[quote=“Zita Carno”]Good morning, “Pitching Academy”.
I absolutely cracked up while I was reading this list of outmoded philosophies—or whatever one wants to call them, because it seems to me that just about every Tom, Dick and Harry, not to mention Jose and Orlando and Professor Hosselplotz, comes up with something. A lot of the time it’s simply “old wine in a new bottle”. The one thing they have in common is that they don’t work for everybody.
Maybe there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to pitching. But a lot of coaches don’t realize this—and that’s where the trouble begins. …

…Have a good day—and remember, work fast, throw strikes, change speeds and stay away from the middle of the plate! 8) :slight_smile: :baseballpitcher:[/quote]

Zita,

You hit that one totally out of the park! I can’t believe how many people feel they’ve discovered “THE ANSWER”. Yessir, if we just do THIS instead of THAT, we’re gonna start churnin’ out HOF pitchers by the droves, because while THAT worked way back when, THIS is the only way to go now.

I understand the constant search for the little blue baseball pill, but as you noted, “there’s no such thing as “one size fits all””, and that really is where the troubles begin much of the time. It wouldn’t be so bad if everyone would give pitchers the general criteria, then get out of the way to develop on their own, and only be there to keep them from backsliding into something really harmful. But that’s not how it happens.

Once some pitching, or hitting coach for that matter, coach gets their hands on a student, they go into one end all different, and if they stay with the guy long enough, they come out the other end pretty much all looking the same. That’s when the coach sits there and wonders why they all don’t perform the same, seldom realizing that had they all gone to some other guru, the outcomes would very likely have been better for some and worse for others.

Yup, everyone seems to have a “better” pill and can give 5 reasons why its better, but you sure don’t see an increase in the number of players that will be heading into the HOF. :wink:

Thank you for responding! These are fun to read.

most lessons i watch focus on style and not maximizing what a kid is doing. the more you teach them to be athletic and quick under control the better. most youth pitchers are way too careful. get the ball, create some leverage, let it fly. throw often and build up your pitching callous. it’s simple, just not easy

Amen, brother.

That last sentence reminds me of the great Dan John’s theories on training: “I said it was simple. Not easy.”

I love your line of “create some leverage.” So concise, and yet it says so much.

A Dusty Delso sighting :smiley:
Dusty I hope all is well with you and yours!

thanks, mr kyle, the more i’m around this game, the more i’m convinced we coach our guys to death and forget to teach them work ethic and doing the reps. there is a great article in sports illustrated with pedroia on the cover about bauer and working with wolforth at the baseball ranch. wolforth is definitely causing differences in how pitchers train. bundy trains down the street from us and he’s an animal. bradley from broken arrow will go through the minor leagues with bauer so i’ll get first hand information on what the diamondbacks and bauer do.

jd i’m good, my guy is catching now so i focus more on the hitting and arm strength aspects now. use the ted williams stuff you sent me all the time, thank you very much. i think there is something to using a boxing speed bag to practice rhythm, timing and speed. it’s amazing what some of those guys can do with that thing. if you want to teach your guys a proper mentality, watch some clips on mike tyson, i forgot how quick, strong and scary that man was. and a great lesson on what happens when you get caught up in the circus and forget what got you there. cus was a great man and shows us that a good coach/trainer does make a difference if they really understand what they’re doing.

Dusty…you are a good man!

so are you jd. i’m very lucky, my guy is a freshman at arizona state and we’re getting an education and validation on what we’ve been talking about on here for years. if bonilla’s son can find the plate he is a for sure first rounder in 2014. he’s scary good like randy johnson and just like him when johnson was young. watched him give up 12 runs in 2 innings giving up 3 hits and walking in or plunking the rest throwing 95-97 lefty (i saw the gun and my guy was catching him).

This is some good stuff right here. What I drill into my kids is that they have to show up to my gym 3-4 times per week and get all their work in, year-round, no exceptions.

I tell them that if they lose because someone had a gifted arm or eye for the ball, a real man can live with that. If you lose because you were outworked, a real man will either hit the weights and cages more often or will hang them up.

mr kyle is exactly right. there are kids in the dominican republic that haul water home in plastic milk jugs and play baseball 8-10 hours per day because they have nothing else to do. and when they turn 16-18, they take your spot. and they play 12 months a year

So your boy will be catching for ASU? Did I get that right?

yes, he signed with them and is a freshman catcher this year. he is listed on their website. they are building a 110m complex with the cubs that will open his jr year. his condo is across the street from the new complex. the weather is unbelievable there.

Sweet! I’ll keep my eye out for him.

As for the weather, yes it is unbelievable spring, winter and fall. But, in the summer, it’s, well, unbelievable. :wink:

it was so hot in aug it was bone dry under the misters and you could feel the asphalt sink under your feet waiting to cross streets. i think that is why they have trouble fielding a football team, they have to practice indoors in aug.