Post Bootcamp Throwing

I got back from Ron Wolforths Bootcamp at the end of December and have been using what i learned there since. I have been putting a big emphasis on deceleration and keeping my elbow below my shoulder. I have seen improvement and some of it may finally be transferring over to when i am trying to throw the crap out of the baseball like i was in these clips. I usually revert back to old habits, but these look a bit better. I would like to hear what some of your thoughts on them.

And i am bound to get some questions about the big yellow ball, so i’ll answer it now. That is a connection ball that i bought at the camp, and it is used to help keep the elbow below the shoulder.
The first throw is a turn and burn, and the second one is a walking torque. I trimmed them so they were shorter.

I want an armpit ball too! The throws look pretty good to me…

[quote=“beaver26”]I got back from Ron Wolforths Bootcamp at the end of December and have been using what i learned there since. I have been putting a big emphasis on deceleration and keeping my elbow below my shoulder. I have seen improvement and some of it may finally be transferring over to when i am trying to throw the crap out of the baseball like i was in these clips. I usually revert back to old habits, but these look a bit better. I would like to hear what some of your thoughts on them.

And i am bound to get some questions about the big yellow ball, so i’ll answer it now. That is a connection ball that i bought at the camp, and it is used to help keep the elbow below the shoulder.
The first throw is a turn and burn, and the second one is a walking torque. I trimmed them so they were shorter[/quote]

The first thing that jumps out at me in the bottom clip is how slow you are out of the glove to get the arm going. Looks like the ball really keeps you from starting the throwing process out of the glove. You don’t really get it going until the ball drops and by that time it is too late. The intent to get the arm going starts out of the glove not when the elbow gets up. If you don’t get it going out of the glove with maximum intent, you won’t get it going for maximum velocity. I wouldn’t worry about the ball. You would like to stay connected throughout the delivery but being connected and linking it up at the end is the only thing that matters. If you can’t connect it at the end you aren’t connected.

Most guys get their elbows above their shoulders from transferring the energy vertically too early from opening up the hips too early or pushing their hips out and focusing on the feet driving the momentum forward. This happens when guys make the first move in the lift rotational and do not get the center mass moving early enough. What happens is that because first move was rotational back, then the next move is rotational forward (open front hip early). This causes the front leg to get in front of the hip and now the feet are driving the delivery and it forces energy upward forcing the elbows above the shoulders. This is a 5th rounder for Astros last year, 97 mph in velo drills but 87 off the mound. When he throws in any other setting his elbows never get above the shoulders.
Watch at the bottom of this Post:
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I would like to hear other’s thoughts on the really exaggerating the pronation to decelerate. Here is what I have noticed with guys that really focus on the decelerating by over pronating:

  1. It seems the intent of the kids are to slow the arm down versus getting it going, that is what I see in those two clips.
  2. The arm isn’t moving as fast because the focus is solely on the finish, seen this a lot with guys that attended those boot camps. This may just be an anomolie but I would love to hear others thoughts.

IMO, there are just way too many variables in the delivery to say that the pronation is the end all cure for shoulder injuries. If I cannot control my hips or have strength deficiencies/mobility/flexibility in the hips then I am at risk regardless. The pronation helps decelerate the elbow which in turn decelerates the shoulder, I get that and our body knows that as well, It naturally does that.

Thoughts???

[quote]I would like to hear other’s thoughts on the really exaggerating the pronation to decelerate. Here is what I have noticed with guys that really focus on the decelerating by over pronating:

  1. It seems the intent of the kids are to slow the arm down versus getting it going, that is what I see in those two clips.
  2. The arm isn’t moving as fast because the focus is solely on the finish, seen this a lot with guys that attended those boot camps. This may just be an anomolie but I would love to hear others thoughts.

IMO, there are just way too many variables in the delivery to say that the pronation is the end all cure for shoulder injuries. If I cannot control my hips or have strength deficiencies/mobility/flexibility in the hips then I am at risk regardless. The pronation helps decelerate the elbow which in turn decelerates the shoulder, I get that and our body knows that as well, It naturally does that.
[/quote]

Nice observation Baseballthinktank.com. I completely agree.

This is something that I don’t understand why Wolforth is teaching his players to do. I really like a lot of the things he espouses, but this one I think he is barking up the wrong tree if he is trying to develop players with the best velocity and throwing potential. I was actually surprised when I learned that he was teaching this movement.

If your intent or goal at the end of the throw is to slow down the arm, by whatever means, then there is no way you will be throwing with maximum efficiency at the beginning of the throw and ultimately with the best velocity.

I’ve seen other clips of players throwing like this and it looks very awkward.

This is not what the very best do.

If our bodies naturally knows to pronate and does so, why would anyone try to overpronate at the risk of loss of velo? What are the benefits of overepronation?

I just don’t see the benefits. I know the school of thought on injury prevention, I’m just not sure I buy into it. It seems that intent to overpronate could cause additional stresses on the arm. Pitching places lrage amounts of stress on the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, and muscles of the arm already. The natural safety feature built into our throwing motion is pronation to help decelerate our arms. Meaning its already there, naturally, why mess with it?.

I tend to think that people want to change parts like that because people are still getting hurt. It might seem to help in their limited research or testing.

So, maybe more pronation will mean a few less injured arms - Maybe not though.

Thank you for all the thoughts. I am still trying to sort through them all.

First of all i want to say that i can feel a significant difference in my elbow when i keep it below the shoulder vs. when it gets above the shoulder. So that is something i need to get consistent with. Whether the yellow ball is the answer or not, i don’t know.

This sounds exactly like what i am doing. On side views my front foot opens up way to early. I am having a very hard time fixing this. So how do i go about keeping the front foot closed?

I honestly like the way he teaches pronation. It has played a significant role in the fact that i have been able to throw every single day with little to no pain unlike before. Of course i am warming up much more thoroughly and carefully while going through a post throwing routine everyday as well. Sometimes it does seem to put restrictions on the arm, but when i am throwing hard like in the turn and burn drill, i don’t really notice it. Part of it may also be that i am still adjusting to it. When i get used to it and don’t have to put emphasis on it, that should allow my arm to be looser.

Another thing i noticed i have in common with the video you posted was the torso seems to be stiff. Elite throwers seem to throw with the chest and back. They are forward far enough at footplant that all they have to do to finish the throw is rotate. I am much more upright and seem to be bending forward in an attempt to get out in front while finishing the throw, which is linear. Thoughts on this?

EDIT:Also if you have clips of the 5th rounder when he isn’t throwing off the mound, i would like to take a look at them. Thanks.

101mph: what are your thougts on my actual mechanics here?

Then why do pitchers suffer elbow injuries if we have this safety feature built-in?

Everyone in this thread is grossly oversimplifying what kind of stressors are on the lateral band of the UCL and how to best manage them. I highly doubt Wolforth is teaching people to “overpronate” or “decelerate” without having done a lot of research and experimentation on his own, and I would caution everyone against making sweeping generalizations about someone’s program without having actually read and watched it in its entirety.

Then why do pitchers suffer elbow injuries if we have this safety feature built-in?

Everyone in this thread is grossly oversimplifying what kind of stressors are on the lateral band of the UCL and how to best manage them. I highly doubt Wolforth is teaching people to “overpronate” or “decelerate” without having done a lot of research and experimentation on his own, and I would caution everyone against making sweeping generalizations about someone’s program without having actually read and watched it in its entirety.[/quote]

Kyleb, I disagree with your statement on everyone oversimplifying the process. The only one that seems to try and oversimplify the process would be Wolforth and others that are making claim to pronation being the answer. There are just way too many variables involved. What if the player lacks mobility or strength in the hips, would pronation be the answer? No and there could be 100 pages of questions similar to this one. What if he were RA Dickey and didn’t have a UCL? Just being funny on that one.

Is pronation a built in mechanism, absolutely. Does it prevent us from injuries? To a limited degree but NO. Does pronation slow down the arm? Yes. Is it the only area of the body involved with slowing down the arm? NO. What about the other parts of the body beginning to decelerate before the arm? Are they a factor? Yes. Is the only stress on the UCL come from deceleration, No. Why do we continue to have injuries? Because throwing a baseball is extremely violent for lack of a better word. Throwing a baseball stresses every joint, muscle, tendon, ligament in our body and the only way to totally rid baseball players of throwing injuries is to stop throwing.

I look at this way, if I am trying to increase my vertical then I am going to jump as high as can. If my intent is to reach new heights I will find a way to do so but to a limit, who knows the limit. Now, if my coach tells me that instead of jumping higher he wants me to land softer. Then my body won’t jump as high but will land softer. So by jumping lower and landing softer I would lower my risk for injury. That makes sense to me.

I don’t think anyone was making a sweeping generalization of his program unless his program only covers deceleration and I highly doubt that. Marshall has been teaching this for years and O’leary was preaching lower elbow. Its been around and not just Wolforth so I don’t think its a personal attack of him or his program.

Kyleb, what your thoughts of the stressors on the lateral UCL band and pronation?

My point is this: How do you know Wolforth thinks this is the case? There is no source here or YouTube clip that shows Ron saying this.

I might agree with you if we could prove that Wolforth said this verbatim, but no one here has provided that evidence.

I just had a 3 hour conversation with my newest assistant in our biomechanics lab about this (and other topics). I could legitimately write 50+ pages on it.

It’s complex and I don’t want to try and simplify it here.

what does feel like when you do them correctly? what about walki g torque or turn burn how does it feel when you’ve done them correctly?

I can only tell you what it feels like when I turn and burn (our most-used drill) “correctly,” since I don’t know what my athletes actually feel. (No matter how well they describe it, it’s always different for each person.)

My optimal release point is very high 3/4, so for me it’s all about the rotational violence that is in perfect synchronicity with both the lateral and forward trunk flexion. To get there, I think about my glove shoulder pulling down AND around. And even before then, I think about a slight early hip opening coupled with a quick rotation around the front leg.

I have the most trouble with keeping my shoulders closed. The cue of “aiming the glove arm” or counter-rotating or similar things do not work for me. I need to think about being as violent and fast with the lead leg, much like Japanese pitchers - the hip dictates whether or not it rotates before the shoulders.

But it all hinges on whether or not I time my trunk lateral and forward flexion at the right time. Sometimes I do it properly 40 times per session, and sometimes I don’t even get it right once.

seems like a good idea :slight_smile:

turn and burns are back pedalling towards target and then rotating violently around and throwing… walking torque sounds like step into drill.
I thought back hip opens front sounds opposite to what you’re describing Kyle?

Ed

Cues work differently for every player. What is effective and means something to one player could be totally lost and ineffective for another.

When it comes to the lower half and where the power should come from I always like to use things (cue words) that start with the back leg or hip. I personally do not like to use references to the front side or leg…BUT…

whatever works…works!

There is really no cue that is “taboo” when it comes to working with a player and getting them to learn a movement.

Interesting stuff… I think I agree with a little bit from everyone.

The problem I see with most players performing this drill is that they pull the hips through and thereby forcing them to “push” the ball. I don’t see many kids able to connect the delivery at the end of the drill. I like the idea of changing direction quickly and I feel it great to “feel” separation but all this is for nothing if you can’t connect.

I slightly modified the drill and have found it easier for kids to connect. I will try and post video when I get time.

[quote=“101mph”]Cues work differently for every player. What is effective and means something to one player could be totally lost and ineffective for another.

When it comes to the lower half and where the power should come from I always like to use things (cue words) that start with the back leg or hip. I personally do not like to use references to the front side or leg…BUT…

whatever works…works!

There is really no cue that is “taboo” when it comes to working with a player and getting them to learn a movement.[/quote]

I agree with a lot of this.

Also, “turn and burn” isn’t the most used drill - the crow-hop throw is. I confused the two; my mistake.

I personally have to focus on the lead hip often because what I’ve noticed is that power hitters (like myself) have really good frontal plane power transfer from back to front but really poor kinesthetic sense when it comes to rotating around the front leg to complete the transfer to the upper body.

Since in the swing the bat is on an upwards trajectory, it’s far easier to block with the lead leg and push back to rotate around the spine and launch the bat upwards at the ball (for me anyway, this is really easy). However, the action is nearly opposite in the pitching delivery - the lead leg braces and rotation happens, but deceleration continues through trunk forward flexion!

Big power hitters tend to need more front hip/leg work. Guys who are weak hitters and poor throwers first need to learn how to transfer the power from back to front, though.

[quote=“Baseballthinktank.com”]Interesting stuff… I think I agree with a little bit from everyone.

The problem I see with most players performing this drill is that they pull the hips through and thereby forcing them to “push” the ball. I don’t see many kids able to connect the delivery at the end of the drill. I like the idea of changing direction quickly and I feel it great to “feel” separation but all this is for nothing if you can’t connect.

I slightly modified the drill and have found it easier for kids to connect. I will try and post video when I get time.[/quote]

Additionally:

I think athletes use the lower half well or can be trained to use the lower half well through barbell compound lifts and medicine ball training. They eventually understand how power is generated in the frontal and vertical planes through sport-agnostic training.

But I totally agree that pitchers and hitters generally have the MOST problems with the upper body. Most coaches tend to start from the ground up, but I typically work top-down. Most hitters have atrocious bat drag and no understanding of trunk rotation - this is bred into them when they are 8 years old and too weak to even swing a bat properly. Same with throwers - they all push the ball to the target and have no intent to rotate hard.

Nyman’s backchaining drills can help a lot here IMO.

Can recall that too easily from Setpro site…

I guess at some point the front leg becomes more active but my understanding is that the back hip and leg are dominant early in the delivery.

Agree cues are important and I want cues that work for my son. At same time want to teach more effective technique.

Can you think of any high level pitchers who are more front hip/leg dominant who don’t push the ball? Sounds like pulling off the rubber vs pushing (sorry I used that “P” word :smiley: )

Have to mention that in clip 101 posted of Pedro, Pedro seemed to generate momentum using his front leg. Nothing wrong with generating momentum, don’t think he’s pulling off the rubber…

I taught him top down since I started him with Nyman BC drills that I found on his RTFN. My son was young so we got up to arm action and separation - I think his arm action is pretty good as is his separation. Working on improved scap loading and his lower half, becoming more rotational.

Ed

You could argue that Gerritt Cole is very lead hip dominant, and he touches 100mph.

At any rate, I don’t think that being lead hip dominant is necessarily a good thing, but when we have people who can mash at the plate but can’t break 85 MPH (ahem, this would be me), how the lead hip works is generally the biggest problem.

If only Paul would sell RTFN again… ,but i hope Kyle’s fastball training book is just as good, I can’t wait!!!