Pulling the front Elbow?

Thoughts on this? Should kids pull the elbow, assuming timing is correct, trying to generate greater power. Or simply drop the elbow and keep the glove out front. Seems like the glove side get’s too little emphasis in pitching. My son wants to pull the elbow-was taught this years ago by an instructor. He leads with his hip and has an aggressive stride so I don’t see it as a compensation. The pictures I have of his best pitching performances his glove is out front.

I view the front side as the anchor/stabalizer all power is leveraged off of. IMO you want no part of your delivery producing force against the motion, pulling your elbow backwards does that. Thumb down, thumb up is the goal I aim for, giving the core a chance to provide it’s action, as power is developed from the ground up.

I’d have to agree that you don’t want any focus on the elbow or glove side. It is there to maintain balance. If you go frame by frame, the glove really doesn’t move–it hovers over the plant foot and the body (shoulders) rotate(s) around it.

If you want to train your body to not pull the glove, put a 2-4 pound weight in the palm of your glove and go through your delivery. If you remain balanced, you won’t even notice the weight. If you move the glove around, you will really be disrupted by it.

Furthermore, you want your glove side elbow ahead of your body at release, so you don’t want to be pulling it backward.

I agree with JD and that drill Coach Paul suggests is great

In his book, Arm Action, Arm Path, and the Perfect Pitch: Building a Million-Dollar Arm, House shows there is a direct correlation between glove position and release point such that the better you stabilize your release point out over your front foot, the further out front your release point will be. There is no power or velocity increase from pulling the glove.

I’ve found that pulling the glove usually leads to early shoulder rotation. That will certainly pull the release point back. So stabilize your glove out front somewhere over the front foot and bring the torso towards the glove. Then watch your release point happen out front increasing your “perceived velocity” as well as the movement on your breaking pitches.

Thanks for the replies. Would you change this?

I’d have to see how he got to that position to say for sure. If there is something to be fixed, it is likely earlier in the delivery (e.g. his equal and opposite at front foot plant).

Same pitch.

Definitely!

Since he mentions Tom House, Tom House’s towel drill can be done to really work on the second part of what he’s talking about with the out front release. It combines the glove palm weight with putting a short towel in your throwing hand. He suggests to get the coach or another pitcher to move 5-6 foot lengths down the target line and closer to home plate from the pitcher’s foot strike position, kneel down and hold out a hand with the palm up. The idea is for the pitcher to strike the person’s palm with the towel.

In the picture above, he’s over his heel with the glove, but that’s not a bad position. Anything knee forward is good, but to maximize distance away from the rubber, he’d need to be at least forward of the front knee. The frames that show his shoulder rotation are the ones you want to look at to analyze glove position. As his shoulders rotate, the glove position should remain stationary and at least forward of the front knee and preferably over or forward of the front foot.

If I had to make a judgement based on just those two still photos, I’d say it does look like he’s pulling the glove a bit. In the 1st photo, the glove is over the front knee. In the 2nd photo, the glove has moved back to a position behind the front knee.

So, yes, I would try to correct that. However, in the 2nd photo, it appears his posture has shifted (head/spine tilt). So there needs to be some analysis to determine what’s cause and what’s effect. And that will take more than 2 photos.

Thanks again all for your help.

It looks like he may be pulling his elbow down to his hip - which could be causing the shoulder to follow - causing the imbalance that Roger mentions. I’m by no means an expert, but I don’t see anything wrong with pulling the elbow as long as it’s being pulled back and not down. When I say “back”, I mean more towards the rib cage instead of the hips - keeping it roughly on the same plane throughout the delivery.

This is one concept that I have never fully understood from all the Housian(sp?) devotees on this site. What is the purpose of the “swivel and stabilize” concept? Doesn’t that go against everything “equal and opposite” that comes before it? Why would you not want to continue “equal and opposite” throughout the delivery?

By the way I’m not bashing this method or Tom House by any means, I just honestly don’t get it.

I believe the responses here are accurate. I think he is pulling the glove side down. I guess the question is what do you tell an 11 yo to do with the glove? I have been telling him glove to shoulder.

I don’t differentiate pulling the elbow down from pulling it back. I think both have the same effect - that being early shoulder rotation - although pulling down might have a bigger effect on posture… The physics of this tells me that pulling the glove back (either by elbow down or elbow back) has the effect of pulling the shoulder forward (for every force there is an equal and opposite force). The only way for the glove arm can help the shoulder rotate back is for it to swing back such that once the mass of the arm gets behind the shoulder it pulls on the shoulder. But to make that happen on time, you have to start swinging it back early and the result seems to be early shoulder rotation more often than not.

I once had a young pitcher who had very nice mechanics except that he pulled his glove back. This pitcher would throw about 30 pitches and then he’d come out of the game with a sore elbow. We worked for quite awhile to get him to not pull the glove. It took lots of reps. But once he got it, we let him pitch and he immdiately threw 60-65 pitches pain-free.

[quote]This is one concept that I have never fully understood from all the Housian(sp?) devotees on this site. What is the purpose of the “swivel and stabilize” concept? Doesn’t that go against everything “equal and opposite” that comes before it? Why would you not want to continue “equal and opposite” throughout the delivery?

By the way I’m not bashing this method or Tom House by any means, I just honestly don’t get it.[/quote]
House came up with “swivel and stabilize” because it’s what he saw many (most?) of the best pitchers in the game doing. While it may look like pitchers pull the glove to the chest with the naked eye, analysis of high speed video reveals that once they stick the glove out front, they leave it there, swivel it and bring the chest to the glove.

I believe the “swivel” is a momentary relaxation of the shoulder to effectively “disconnect” the glove arm from the torso so the shoulders can rotate without the burden of the mass of the glove arm. The “stabilize” helps create a stable base for the throwing arm.

If you can, show him video of himself so he can see exactly what you’re trying to explain to him. He may not understand from words alone or he may not appreciate the degree to which he is doing what you’re explaining to him so letting him see it may help a lot.

Next, use the NPA’s Knee and Rocker drills to take the lower half out of the equation and isolate the upper half so he can focus lots of reps on throwing past a glove that’s kept “exaggeratedly” way out front. Start him in an “equal & opposite” position and focus on the glove-side transition from “equal & opposite” to “swivel & stabilize”. Finishing in the “swivel & stabilize” position is not what’s important. What’s important is how you get there - the transition from “equal & opposite”.

Finally, tell him to imagine there is a wall in front of him and he’s going to stick that glove on the wall and leave it there. (Later on, once he’s keeping the glove out front, have him focus on sticking the glove on the exact same spot on the wall to practice repeatability.)

Breaking the glove pull habit it not easy but it’s a lot easier with young kids than with older kids whose habit is more engrained.

Hi NCCY,

As a pitcher plants the lead leg and rotates over the front hip, the glove arm and shoulder complex can apply leverage to the throwing arm through what the Momentum Pitching method describes as a ‘force couple’.

If you’ve ever seen a playground merry-go-round, imagine that when you pull one side toward you, your force will be applied over the central axis and will produce an equal force (less friction) in the opposite direction on the other side.

A similar matched counter-rotating action can be developed between the lead arm and the throwing arm and shoulders unified as one long lever. At the same instant, this lever can be pushed by the thrust leg, up through the torso and driven forward as a third order lever against a stabilized front side pivot.

I’ll sometimes use the prompt ‘push the lever’ with pitchers. -I teach this type of lead arm movement because I think that it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity to use anatomical levers to their fullest extent.

The force couple action is part of creating the leverage which drives the throwing arm. I don’t see how full leverage and elasticity could be developed through the chest and shoulders and arm without this maneuver.

In contrast to the idea of separation, where a pitcher rotates the hips, then the torso in sequence with no anatomical source of leverage, a yoked hip and torso rotation in combination with the force couple allow the pitcher to develop and apply the largest possible force to the largest possible lever.

Some worry about developing backward forces, but this maneuver is done after sideways translation is finished and the front leg has been planted. It’s purpose and effect is to enhance the already accelerating hip rotation.

Finally, the action of the lead arm, as the elbow is pulled down and sideways to the front hip and stabilized there can also help position the throwing shoulder and elbow into an appropriate position for acceleration.

So I think your son’s doing the right thing. Whether his glove ends up in tight to his body, out in front of him, out to the side or even in back, is IMO a matter of individual preference.

Chris

www.PitchersWorkshop.com

[quote=“PitchersWorkshop”]Hi NCCY,

As a pitcher plants the lead leg and rotates over the front hip, the glove arm and shoulder complex can apply leverage to the throwing arm through what the Momentum Pitching method describes as a ‘force couple’.

If you’ve ever seen a playground merry-go-round, imagine that when you pull one side toward you, your force will be applied over the central axis and will produce an equal force (less friction) in the opposite direction on the other side. [/quote]
The merry-go-round is rigid. The human body is not.

When you pull that merry-go-round with the front arm, the merry-go-round pulls forard on the arm (for every force there is an equal and opposite force) in the opposite direction from the direction the front shoulder needs to rotate. So how does that help?

[quote]I’ll sometimes use the prompt ‘push the lever’ with pitchers. -I teach this type of lead arm movement because I think that it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity to use anatomical levers to their fullest extent.

The force couple action is part of creating the leverage which drives the throwing arm. I don’t see how full leverage and elasticity could be developed through the chest and shoulders and arm without this maneuver. [/quote]

For those who have trouble with some of the terminology here, what is being recommended is for hips and shoulders to rotate at the same time. I believe this is based on the formula F=ma (force = mass x acceleration) so increasing the rotating mass should result in greater force (on the ball). Unfortunately, this simply isn’t what pitchers do.

[quote]Some worry about developing backward forces, but this maneuver is done after sideways translation is finished and the front leg has been planted. It’s purpose and effect is to enhance the already accelerating hip rotation.

Finally, the action of the lead arm, as the elbow is pulled down and sideways to the front hip and stabilized there can also help position the throwing shoulder and elbow into an appropriate position for acceleration.

So I think your son’s doing the right thing. Whether his glove ends up in tight to his body, out in front of him, out to the side or even in back, is IMO a matter of individual preference.

Chris

www.PitchersWorkshop.com[/quote]

Interesting topic and conversation. No doubt that glove arm action affects the throwing arm, but I come down somewhere in the middle when it comes to the idea of “pulling the glove.”

First, I agree that one risk with actively pulling the glove is the tendency to fly open (early shoulder/trunk rotation). However, I do think you want to be active with the glove arm, and I find working to keep the glove out in front can make pitchers stiff and limit rotation.

I do, however, think House’s “swivel and stabilize” gives a pretty good description/cue for this action, and I like Roger’s explanation:

For me the glove elbow coming down to towards the hip is important - not only is it what you see most hard throwers do, it helps form a good pivot (along with your front hip) for your trunk to rotate around.

So I don’t think you want to pull the glove, but I also think you want to steer away from getting stiff with that glove arm. I’ve seen a lot of pitchers who were taught to bring their chest to the glove instead of pulling the glove… the problem here is, very often this causes them to actually open early, and keeping the glove in front blocks them off, limiting trunk rotation (precisely the opposite of what they’re trying to achieve).

NCCY, regarding your comment:

I think there’s a difference between pulling the glove side down and just bringing the elbow down. Personally, I like “control your glove.” For me, just vague enough, but gets across the idea being active but stable with the glove arm.

If interested, I wrote an article on this a while back:

Great stuff Phil R.

I’m all over stabilizing the glove arm with a strong front hip pivot.

Opening up early is an ever present danger, isn’t it? I find myself telling pitchers ‘Stay on your line sideways, then launch!’.

Whatever prompts we use (swivel, tuck or pull down)… timing and speed of movement is critical.

Chris
www.PitchersWorkshop.com

[quote=“PitchersWorkshop”]A similar matched counter-rotating action can be developed between the lead arm and the throwing arm and shoulders unified as one long lever.[/quote]As Roger pointed out, the human body is considerably different than a long lever. It has many joints where soft tissue makes the connection and transfers or develops force. It’s not bone to bone. The mechanism of transfer is muscle contraction, both eccentric and concentric, with the Stretch Shortening Cycle coming into play to maximize that process (the strongest concentric contraction is immediately after a strong and quick eccentric one). This is a significant part of the kinetic chain, which every hard throwing pitcher exhibits.

[quote=“PitchersWorkshop”]I don’t see how full leverage and elasticity could be developed through the chest and shoulders and arm without this maneuver.[/quote]Research the “kinetic chain” and the “stretch shortening cycle” in muscle and connective tissues. It’s put to use not only in baseball pitching but in tennis serves and strokes, baseball hitting, javelin throwing, etc.

[quote=“PitchersWorkshop”]…a yoked hip and torso rotation in combination with the force couple allow the pitcher to develop and apply the largest possible force to the largest possible lever.[/quote]This isn’t borne out by video of the best in the business. Tom House’s work has shown that the front arm and glove don’t actually get pulled back in high level, hard throwing pitchers.

A study of video after video of hard throwers will show that use of the kinetic chain is a common feature. I can’t say that I’ve seen a pitcher who throws really hard and who brings the hips and shoulders together or uses a force couple. I can say the opposite.