Roger Clemens' mechanics


#1

According to a certain prolific poster on this board, Roger Clemens has ideal pitching mechanics. In fact, it has been suggested — or at least, implied — that pitchers may want to emulate Clemens’ mechanics if they want to prevent injuries.

Yet Roger Clemens has suffered not one but two serious rotator cuff injuries in his career.

Any ideas how this is could have happened to a guy with “picture perfect” mechanics?

Looking forward to hearing everyone’s ideas.


#2

He’s a major league pitcher who has thrown a lot of pitches at high speeds?

Steroids?

Hard workouts?


#3

clemens’s mechanics changed a lot since when he first came out. I don’t think he has perfect mechanics but he sure has something good going on.


#4

Who’s Roger Clemens? Oh, yeah. :lol:

Personally, I think his mechanics were only perfect on the bat thrown at Piazza in the World Series. :roll:

I am of the opinion that regardless of what the perfect mechanics are, or whether they even exist, players may get injured for reasons directly related to, indirectly related to, and not related to baseball. Because of the use and perhaps over use of certain areas of the body, these are more likely to break down, especially given personal health and biomechanical problems that may underly any given pitcher.

The more the area is used, the more likely it is to have a problem, I think that is pretty obvious to everyone. But different people may (and in my opinion probably are) prone to injuries based on the structure of their bodies, even if they use the perfect mechanics for their body type.

That’s why forums like this are so invaluable. Information on what to look for and how to avoid, diagnose, and rehabilitate are fantastic tools.

As to Clemens…he’s just a gimp. 2 games, 38 strike outs, 12 years apart. Man, that hoss ain’t got no hay… 8)


#5

I am confused…What is the expectation here? We somehow in our egotistical human way, decide that somehow, someway we (Because we are smart humans…with doctors and phd’s and congregations of very smart stuffed shirts) can design a way for “everything” to be safe and risk free. It’s an unacheivable goal folks. At best we can attempt to assist the kids we teach to throw in a smooth and efficient manner. I have cautioned in the past that we are errant in our approach when we hand over control to the medical establishment in the way we look at our art and sport. Doing any activeity has potential risk associated with it. We cannot make those risks go away, they will exist (I disagree with Marshalls very premise about his method being risk free). This eternal discussion as to how to minimize those risks is entertaining but very much subjective. I have complete respect for the doctors that actively work to help people know how the various body parts associated with the body movement we call pitching. If any kid I work with develops injury I will be the first in line with them.
The ignorance of the arguement that we should “emulate” the exact mechanics of any pitcher is too lightly thought out to give much credance to. If I was Greg Maddux my motion would be the “perfect” mechanic. If my name was Dan Quisenberry my perfect machanic would not be Greg Maddux. I think that Greg is possibly the greatest pitcher ever to toe a rubber, given his success vs what he brings to the table. I believe his approach to the art of pitching is the wisest, most successful approach a person could have towards what he does. His mentality, his regimine, his discipline, his competitiveness are all beyond what most can reach. All that said, if I have a kid that has a body, that due to the processes associated with growing up, doesn’t move in that manner efficiently, well then just by way of obvious logic, it could actually be injurious to change his natural motion to Greg’s.
I have often heard Chin say that pitching is the whole thing, mechanics, conditioning, strength amongst other things. I completely agree. When we get into the knock down drag outs we do over such things as where the hands break, how the toe does or doesn’t point, whether we point the ball to heaven or third base and then turning around and saying that to do it another way “could lead to injury”, we are lying of the face of it or at best being completely immature in our assessment process. We don’t know. We could speculate and say that some that have done it that way have not had success, but to paint it with the “your gonna get hurt” brush is just wrong. Why? Because the very act of doing this (Which ever mechanic you choose…And Marshall hasn’t produced 1 guy yet to do what he claims) is potententially injurious. The human body has an inherant frailty we didn’t engineer and we cannot control. Some guys develop blisters, some guys have back problems, some hurt their elbows and some their shoulders…Some, like Prior take liners off their elbows, or Matt Clemment who get whacked in the gord, some die, some get cancer.
I am absolutely sure that my recommendations to any pupil that is instructed to “do” any change in what they 'do" based on what some schmuck on a web-site “instructs” them to do, will be to run the other direction just as fast as they can, because it is only a generalized speculation based on what they are attempting to sell (Real or imagined). I’ve been completely underwhelmed by every “Guru” (Real or imaginary), that I have seen or heard in my travels. Cut through the chatter and you come up with the same message drapped in whatever shade they are wearing that day.
This is why and how I’ve come to really respect Steven Ellis, he will share his experience, he will counsel on how best to approach our art, he will (rarely) share his opinion’s but he doesn’t have to have anyone conform to his belief. He freely allows others to assert their style and opinions to “HIS” site only objecting to attacks. This is why this is a very special site and thank you for it Steven!!!


#6

Clemens had two serious rotator cuff injuries? He did? I musta missed something. I don’t recall that.


#7

Perhaps you’re showing your (young) age ?

Clemens suffered a slight tear in his rotator sometime during his first two seasons in the big leagues, back in 1984 - 85. It caused him to miss much of the '85 season.

He had a similar injury that plagued him in 1994-1995 (he also had some elbow issues around 1992).


#8

I AGREE 100%, with just about everything you’ve stated.

However there are a few people on this board who think this is unfathomable poppycock. Some people really believe that “perfect mechanics” can be achieved and that if they are, a pitcher can throw millions of innings without pain or injury. And Clemens has been brought up many times as an example, and in support of this theory. So I guess I’m waiting for these theorists to explain the discrepency.


#9

I think jd just verbalized alot of what I’ve been thinking and meaning to say. Nice job jd.

It doesn’t hurt to sit down with your teanage son and let him know he doesn’t have to pitch like Roger Clemens or any other MLB stud to make you proud. Just respect and enjoy the game. I know my kid needed to hear me say that and it put things in proper perspective.


#10

Perhaps you’re showing your (young) age ?

Clemens suffered a slight tear in his rotator sometime during his first two seasons in the big leagues, back in 1984 - 85. It caused him to miss much of the '85 season.

He had a similar injury that plagued him in 1994-1995 (he also had some elbow issues around 1992).[/quote]

I’m not that young. I just didn’t know about it.

Ya know, he used to have some really high pitch counts with the Sox. Also, in 86, he started the All Star game on two days rest and went three innings. That would NNNNNNNNEEEEEVVVVVVEEEEEERRR happen today.


#11

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]
I’m not that young. I just didn’t know about it. [/quote]

Well then we know for sure you are a male. A woman would have been thrilled by the comment.
:slight_smile:

Yeah, I’m guessing a lot of his problems stemmed from overuse. In addition to the workload in Boston, he was definitely overused at U Texas during his college career.


#12

joe is correct again. have video of r.c. since u-tex days when he was a slim and well conditioned player. as a pro his physique changed each year and his release from the glove became higher but not like foulk. for someone who ran and worked out as he did he gained weight. writers in boston never mentioned roids but questioned his own style lingo. clem was one of the best ever in boston. he was a bulldog, mentally tough, worked through pain. i have tremendous admiration for him and his work ethic. everyone has his own style , endurance , body frame, strength etc. why should any of us determine who has the best of any mechanics since we all look different, think different , train different and have different skills…having said all this most pithers look alike at point of release ; what happens before and after will be discussed for years to come.


#13

Well put.

Now what do we have to do to goad Mr. O"Leary into this discussion and offer his point of view? Chris, your lack of input here is conspicuous.


#14

I don’t get it… you want to bait Chris by somehow implying that Clemens is not a good role model, mechanics wise?

The guy (clemens) has obviously been doing a lot of things right mechanically. I don’t see how that could possibly be debated. The proof is in the record and longevity.


#15

Good topic! I don’t believe there is a “perfect model” for everyone when it comes to pitching mechanics. Clemens has perfect mechanics … for Clemens. Nolan Ryan had perfect mechanics … for Ryan. But if Dontrelle Willis or Jason Schmidt, etc., tried to pitch like Clemens or Ryan, using their “perfect pitching mechanics,” I don’t think Willis and Schmidt would be in the big leagues. It would mess them up.

So while it’s nice to aspire to be like Clemens and pitch like Clemens, every pitcher should really aspire to get to most out of their own style – and that’s different for everybody. (This point has been brought up by previous posters. Well put!)

My question is, is there a list of “attributes” that all pitchers do, regardless of style? We started a post on this a couple of months ago, but it might be good to revisit…


#16

Well put.

Now what do we have to do to goad Mr. O"Leary into this discussion and offer his point of view? Chris, your lack of input here is conspicuous.[/quote]

Joe, my lack of input simply means that I’ve been busy looking at pro prospects.

In particular, I’ve been trying to figure what to do about a guy that we are thinking about drafting. He’s got Chris Carpenter’s arm action, rushes all of his pitches, has already had Labrum problems, and lacks Carpenter’s curveball (instead, he throws a slurve). Most of the people in the organization think he’ll top out at 98 MPH.

My friend and I aren’t so sure.

In terms of whether there are absolutes in terms of pitching mechanics, I think there are. Certainly there are style differences like Wind-Up, leg kick, finish, and things like that. However, there are also absolutes that healthy, long-term successful pitchers do. That includes things like proper timing (e.g. no rushing) and low PAS elbows.

In terms of Clemens, as I have said before, his mechanics have improved over time. They’ve moved in the direction of Nolan Ryan’s. For instance, his timing is much better now than it was when he was in Boston.


#17

Here is my own version of attributes taken from the idea of “BRASS TACKS”. The words are from Webster the translation/ order is from the
P’fessa. BALANCE THROUGHT, RHYTHMIC MOTIONS, AIMING POSITION [I don’t want to belabor this one again} STABLE LANDING, STRONG RELEASE. Once a kid understands the meaning and sees a demo it’s up to him to demonstrate his own view, feel and skill to see what part it has in the skill of pitching. Even remembering the first word and the sequence helps in future reference. the TACKS part refers to mental attributes but thats for another time. Thanks for the intellectual responses, keep 'em coming.


#18

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”][quote=“joejanish”]Joe, my lack of input simply means that I’ve been busy looking at pro prospects.

In terms of Clemens, as I have said before, his mechanics have improved over time. They’ve moved in the direction of Nolan Ryan’s. For instance, his timing is much better now than it was when he was in Boston.[/quote]

Nice return. When you refer to Ryan, do you mean before he met Tom House or after? Because it seemed that after he started throwing footballs coincided with his first bouts on the DL. I just want to make sure I’m referencing Ryan at the right time in his career.

I guess your position evaluating pro prospects means good news and bad news. Good news for you, as you seem to be finally getting to a place you want to be, and bad news for us, as I assume your input will be less frequent due to time constraints. Though I disagree with 75-90% of your theories, the debates force us all to re-think things through with a fine-toothed comb – and in doing so there is almost always an epiphany or new lesson learned. Best of luck in you endeavor.


#19

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]Good topic! I don’t believe there is a “perfect model” for everyone when it comes to pitching mechanics. Clemens has perfect mechanics … for Clemens. Nolan Ryan had perfect mechanics … for Ryan. But if Dontrelle Willis or Jason Schmidt, etc., tried to pitch like Clemens or Ryan, using their “perfect pitching mechanics,” I don’t think Willis and Schmidt would be in the big leagues. It would mess them up.

So while it’s nice to aspire to be like Clemens and pitch like Clemens, every pitcher should really aspire to get to most out of their own style – and that’s different for everybody. (This point has been brought up by previous posters. Well put!)

My question is, is there a list of “attributes” that all pitchers do, regardless of style? We started a post on this a couple of months ago, but it might be good to revisit…[/quote]

Excellent post, Steven. Regarding your question about a list of attributes that all pitchers do, Tom House has one. His current mechanics model consists of such a list. It includes things he (and the folks at the NPA) have identified from analyzing tons of video. Since I have a Tom House/NPA background, a lot of the things I recommend on this site come from that list.


#20

[quote=“Roger”]
Excellent post, Steven. Regarding your question about a list of attributes that all pitchers do, Tom House has one. His current mechanics model consists of such a list. It includes things he (and the folks at the NPA) have identified from analyzing tons of video. Since I have a Tom House/NPA background, a lot of the things I recommend on this site come from that list.[/quote]

Roger, please post the site link for us, thanks !