Pronation...

Till this day im still not really sure what pronation means… and how is it really done… might be a dumb question but im here to learn new things… 8)

It’s a term that means rotation.

In baseball terms it’s usually used in reference to changeups or fastballs(cutters) in the rotation of the forearm.

Pronation is rotation of the hand towards a thumb down, palm out position.

Here is an example.

Adding a few miscellaneous remarks to Roger’s written description, and the excellent pitcure shown by xv84:

A pitcher’s hand/wrist/forearm must pronate within a few milliseconds after the release of every pitch, no matter what the type of pitch. Pitchers don’t have a choice in this matter, it is an anatomical requirement.

Screwballs and most types of changeups are thrown with the hand/wrist/forearm pronated before release of the ball.

Although curves, sliders, and slurves are thrown with various degrees of hand/wrist/forearm supination (i.e., think "karate chop orientation of the hand) these pitches are not necessarily injurious. There is a problem if the pitcher throws these supinated breaking balls with an extra twist of the hand/wrist/forearm at release–it is the stress of twisting, and then untwisting into pronation, that apparently leads to risk of elbow problems for pitchers that throw breaking pitches improperly.

Mike Marshall has been on a soapbox for years saying things like, “My pitchers pronate”. Yes, they do. And all other pitchers pronate, too. Back in the 1980’s Tom House published a book called “The Winning Pitcher” back when he was pitching coach for the Texas Rangers. That book contains two pages of pictures, much like the one xv84 showed, that clearly demonstrate pronation after every pitch, no matter what pitch was thrown.

Its now also believe to be a movement that prevents injury among pitchers, guys like Clemens who have had long careers as pitchers are noted for having a wrist pronation that starts early, and comes through hard at release. Its because when you pronate, you leave a path for your elbow to decellerate without locking the joint, because when its turned that way, your elbow can bend as it slows down instead of pushing the joint into a hyperextension zone. Most guys who have had elbow problems throughout their career, have also been noted to have poor pronation. Guys like Burnett or Gagne.

So all together, contrary to popular belief, turning the ball over is one of the easiest things for your arm to take.

Does (oops, I mean “did”) Clemens pronate before release of his splitter and FB? That would be an interesting splitter, thrown almost entirely from the middle finger alone and it would have to be a highly cut FB.

Nolan Ryan threw a 100 mph fastball and a monster curve and he was a fairly long-lived pitcher, no?

I don’t understand how a pitcher could pronate before release of either of those pitch types without taking significant speed off the FB (and adding cutter movement) or making the breaking pitch into a screwball.

re: “Most guys who have had elbow problems throughout their career, have also been noted to have poor pronation.”

–Who has noted this? And where?

well then im pretty sure i dont pronate then. i understand it and see how it is but it just doesnt feel natural doing it unless im doing it really wrong… To note i also had elbow problems before and i still do sometimes… maybe its because i dont pronate? :x

[quote=“laflippin”]Does (oops, I mean “did”) Clemens pronate before release of his splitter and FB? That would be an interesting splitter, thrown almost entirely from the middle finger alone and it would have to be a highly cut FB.

Nolan Ryan threw a 100 mph fastball and a monster curve and he was a fairly long-lived pitcher, no?

I don’t understand how a pitcher could pronate before release of either of those pitch types without taking significant speed off the FB (and adding cutter movement) or making the breaking pitch into a screwball.

re: “Most guys who have had elbow problems throughout their career, have also been noted to have poor pronation.”

–Who has noted this? And where?[/quote]

No its not the actual pronation, its puting your arm in a position to pronate earlier on in your arm action, im sorry I worded that poorly. I’ll try and find where I read this, but guys like Chris OLeary and Mike Marshall believe this idea.

What I mean by the way, is if your hand is pointing towards centerfield when you reach your scapload position, its going to take more movement for your hand to get back around and pronate on the ball (Because all pitchers pronate their fastballs, its the natural motion) Doing this also leaves your UCL alone to take the beating during the part of the delivery that is hardest on your elbow.

Pointing your hand more towards third base, or even closer to the catcher, puts you in a better position to pronate hard as you after you throw the pitch and take stress off your elbow.

You want some proof of this, go google a picture of Eric Gagne, I know its just one source, but he a guy who points his hand at second base and has felt the reprecussions.

And heres some pictures of pitchers doing it

Ryan-
http://services.bostonglobe.com/mas_assets/full/1526759.jpg

sorry, im short on time, cant find any more atm

FSTBLLTHRWER,

“I’ll try and find where I read this, but guys like Chris OLeary and Mike Marshall believe this idea.”

----I am acutely aware that Marshall and his one-time disciple thoroughly believe the things they say about pronation. Please re-read my discussion for a slightly different viewpoint on this topic.

The picture you provided of Nolan Ryan shows very clearly that he pronated after release of a pitch. As I have said before, all pitchers pronate after the release of every pitch.

And, any pitchers who throw a screwball or most types of quality changeups will also pronate even before release on of those types of pitches.

But Nolan Ryan did not pronate before his release point on 100 mph FBs or his awesome curveball, as far as I’m aware. I’ve seen some high-speed motion analysis of Mr. Ryan and I have the complete videos of his last three no-hitters…

Do you understand the distinction I am making here, about pronation after release (anatomically necessary on every pitch) vs pronation before release (controlled according to the pitcher’s pitch selection)?

Alright, now that I have some time, let me explain this more thouraly.

Take a hammer and swing it downward with force, keeping your palm facing to the left (right for a lefty) the entire time. Its going to cause a bit of pain because when your elbow locks up, all that momentum and speed that you built is being halted in a matter of inches by the soft tissue inside your elbow. This is why it is, as previously stated, anatomically impossible to not pronate after releasing a pitch.

Do the same motion, but invert your hand so that your thumb is pointing down as you swing. Notice now that along with your arm moving along its natural bend, the decceleration of the hammer will take place over a much greater distance, which will take stress off of your elbow tissues. This is the reasoning behind why pronating during and after release will relieve tension on your elbow.

However, there is also something called premature pronation that can destroy elbows. When you pronate to early in the delivery, like showing the ball to the CF or SS, you are putting your elbow in a position where your hand is going to be more on the side of the ball throughout release. This basically puts several pounds of tissue (everything below the elbow) moving at speeds of >90mph worth of momentum and force on a tiny little ligament called the UCL, which is not good. You want some of that burden on your Pronator Teres muscle. Do this, any your gonna be getting Tommy John sooner rather than later.

So, pronation is a double edged sword. Doing it during and immidietly after releasing the baseball not only will give your ball more life, ala Jake Peavy (A violent pronator), but it will protect the tendons and ligaments of your elbow and forearm. However pronate your forearm prematurely, and you put exceptional stress on your UCL, and will basically rip it to shreds over the course of your career.

Heres some pictures of guys who do a premature pronation-

Eric “Gag-me” Gagne (Sorry RS fan)
http://artfiles.art.com/images/-/Eric-Gagne---2003-NL-Cy-Young-Award-Winner-Photofile-Photograph-C10115778.jpeg

Felix Hernandez
http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/Baseball/Pitching/Images/Pitchers/FelixHernandez_2007_009.jpg

And whats an injury discussion without the expert, Mr Mark “Trainwreck” Prior

All these guys do the same thing, and has resulted in elbow problems for all three of them. Theres plenty more around if you want to look, chances are most guys who have had Tommy John possess this flaw.

This is opposed to a healthy pitcher like Tom Glavine, who keeps his forearm pointed towards 3rd (First actually, in his case)

Its amazing that tiny differences like these get magnified to such proporsions when one throws 90+

Here is a great article on all this-

http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/Baseball/Pitching/RethinkingPitching/Essays/PronateEarlyButNotTooEarly.html

And a good website for all things mechanics-

http://www.chrisoleary.com/

Hope that cleared some things up!

[quote=“laflippin”]FSTBLLTHRWER,

“I’ll try and find where I read this, but guys like Chris OLeary and Mike Marshall believe this idea.”

----I am acutely aware that Marshall and his one-time disciple thoroughly believe the things they say about pronation. Please re-read my discussion for a slightly different viewpoint on this topic.

The picture you provided of Nolan Ryan shows very clearly that he pronated after release of a pitch. As I have said before, all pitchers pronate after the release of every pitch.

And, any pitchers who throw a screwball or most types of quality changeups will also pronate even before release on of those types of pitches.

But Nolan Ryan did not pronate before his release point on 100 mph FBs or his awesome curveball, as far as I’m aware. I’ve seen some high-speed motion analysis of Mr. Ryan and I have the complete videos of his last three no-hitters…

Do you understand the distinction I am making here, about pronation after release (anatomically necessary on every pitch) vs pronation before release (controlled according to the pitcher’s pitch selection)?[/quote]

Yes, I understand, I just haven’t been on these boards in some time, and my grammar doesn’t seem to be up to par. I think my more recent post should clear things up, I spent a bit more time wording that one and I think my idea should be conveyed better.

Edit

Also, LAFlippin, while not as well founded of a theory, I think you could argue that some of the extremely hard throwers of our era and the last may have pronated during release as well as after. I say this, because I can point you to several videos of guys like Nolan Ryan, Joel Zumaya, Justin Verlander, Jake Peavy, Kyle Farnsworth, guys who throw upper 90s to 100 mph (Maybe not quite Peavy, but he can get up to 97). In these videos, you can see these men throwing their four seam fastballs at around the 98-101 range, yet having significant movement back over the plate with the ball. If you can explain something like this to me, please do because I would love to understand lol, but I don’t know how else you could get 12+ inches of movement back over the plate on a 100mph 4 seam fastball unless you were imparting spin to it during release? I can get the videos for you if you’d like. What do you think?

In school we learned this way:

Hold your hand out in front of you like your holding a bowl of soup in it. That’s "supination’. Get it? Rotating the hand the other way is pronation.

Another way to think of it: Hand up like taking an oath. Turn it toward your head. That’s supination. Curve ball. Turn it away from your head. That’s pronation. Change up.

NPA suggests that you begin your arm motion, that is to say start with your hand in the glove, with the wrist position with which you intend to release it. Do not twist your wrist/forearm.

Regarding the O’Leary article on pronating late, he suggests the following:

[i]Q: Are you saying that you advocate supination? I thought you have said elsewhere that supination is bad.

A: Yes, I do advocate supination, but it must be done at the correct moment.
By definition, if you are to be able to powerfully and significantly pronate through the acceleration phase, then your forearm must be supinated going into the acceleration phase. If your forearm is neutral going into the acceleration phase, then you won’t be able to pronate as hard or as much.
Supinating before the acceleration phase isn’t problematic because the forces on the elbow and shoulder are relatively low (since the shoulders haven yet started turning).[/i]

This sounds like a suggestion to twist the forearm during the throwing motion. As laflippin suggested this goes against the current of scientific ideas as they now stand. Maybe I’m just not understanding it correctly though.

Just some thoughts

CHeers;

O

Mark prior had elbow surgery?

Felix never had elbow problems. He previously strained his pronator teres muscle. The muscle that pronates his forearm. Also, this pic is deceiving because it is his scap load that makes it seem like his palm is facing the SS. If you look at his elbow it is not directly pointed towards second base. It’s pointed towards somewhere between second base the second baseman. If his arm was truly pronated at this point in time, his palm would be facing the same direction as his elbow, which it is not. If he did not scap load, his elbow would be facing 2B and his palm facing 3B.

[quote=“xv84”][quote=“FSTBLLTHRWER”]

Felix Hernandez

[/quote]

Felix never had elbow problems. He previously strained his pronator teres muscle. The muscle that pronates his forearm. Also, this pic is deceiving because it is his scap load that makes it seem like his palm is facing the SS. If you look at his elbow it is not directly pointed towards second base. It’s pointed towards somewhere between second base the second baseman. If his arm was truly pronated at this point in time, his palm would be facing the same direction as his elbow, which it is not. If he did not scap load, his elbow would be facing 2B and his palm facing 3B.[/quote]

Yea, I was iffy to post him, but I decided to. I’ve seen other pics on Chris’s website where his arm is facing further back, but he isn’t nearly as extreme as some of the other guys. Another thing about him, is his curveball has to be an extremely stressful pitch at the velocity he throws it, so elbow injuries might never be quite pinned on his mechanics.

Well i think im understanding more of the conception of pronation but it still seems difficult … thanks guys 8)