Should you plant then break shoulders?

Just a quick question :smiley:

what do you mean break shoulders

like breaking your hands

or opening shoulders

When the striding foot lands, you should be in about equal and opposite with your upper body. Then your lower half begins to turn while your upper body does not and moves as far forward as your strength and flexibility will allow. Then the shoulders rotate and you throw the ball… basically.

Like this:

haha just kidding

Shoulders should be maximally separated at foot plant.
Go to the clips on this site and watch several.



First of all, would like to say I am new to the forum and cannot stop reading the great information. I have read Tom House’s books and I believe in his information. I am also a little confused about when the shoulders and hip can start to separate. Is it ideal to start separation of the hips and shoulders as soon as possibe during momentum on the stride line while holding balance and posture, or should you wait untill your stride foot hits the ground then start the hips rotating while delaying shoulder rotation. Roger maybe you could help me with this?? Thanks alot!!

The latter is what you want to do. For most pitchers, the hips will start to open as the front leg and foot are opened up into foot plant. How much the hips open is dictated by the pitcher’s flexibility in the hip/pelvis/groin area. Once the front foot plants, the remainder of hip rotation occurs. Maximum hip and shoulder separation occurs at about the point full hip rotation has occurred - assuming shoulder rotation was properly delayed. Of course, the maximum possible amount of hip and shoulder separation is dictated by a pitcher’s flexibility through the core.

There are some freaks of nature that have so much flexibility that they can open up the front leg/foot without rotating the hips at all. Check out this clip of Mark Prior and you’ll see an example:

There are a set of muscles that are between the ribs and the pelvic area that contribute heavily to your posture and form – relative to your question. These muscles are called -as a group, your abdominal muscles. This muscle group includes a commonly known set called the “six pack”.

EVERY pitcher that I’ve coached has developed this group –abdominal muscles, during the off season with a balanced exercise program. Not a bodybuilding pace, but a strength and conditioning program. Why? because THIS IS the muscle group that sustains you, pitch after pitch, inning after inning. Your abdominal group is the – TRANSFER STATION, as I like to call it, that allows the lower part of your body to progress to the point where your upper body –chest/shoulders/arms, can literally turn and deliver crisply — then release all that energy after delivery smoothly without that shotgun kickback motion or clasping inward by both shoulders.

Without going overboard on the subject – the abdominal muscle group contains the following:

the transversus abdominus, which firms the trunk.
the rectus abdominus, which is also firms the trunk.
the external oblique, often called the six pack.
the internal oblique, which will allow you to turn to the left and right (basically).

There are of course other muscles that assist and even offer a major compliment to our work. However, for this question you should address this muscle group and how they work for you.

Your body’s build has a lot to do with your question also. For example, if your stocky in build your body’s girth may not afford you the flexibility of following a specific exercise program and expected results. Every human being is different and develops at different paces. So, stocky, slim, muscular, top heavy, bottom heavy, lanky, compact,players and the like will all have different interpretations to this question of yours.

Another topic that was alluded to was the groin area. I can not emphasize enough an exercise program –WITH LIMITS- that includes flexing, stretching and strengthen the groin area. Go very slow at first and allow this muscle group to become accustomed to stretching and strengthen. A lot of time researching what kind of exercises for you and when are necessary.

Great question.

Coach B.

thanks for the information, as a coach I find myself sometimes going over board in teaching the kids. Just curious, why should you wait to separate the hips and shoulders it seems that if you started separation earlier you could create a more separation. I understand you still have to stay balanced and hold your posture. Roger, I was also reading in some previous post that in November you will be talking to House, just wondering if you will be sharing information that you think is useful. Thanks again for all the post!!


Coaching is an art. Figuring out the right things to say and the right amount of information to unload is something that comes with time. Maybe Coach Baker will comment on this issue.

Good question. The pitching delivery consists of a series of load/unload events. This loading and unloading of muscles/tendons is how energy gets transferred from one part of the body to another. The stretch/shortening behavior of these tissues is most explosive when it is performed with proper timing. That pretty much means there should be no excessive delays. So, if one were to open the hips early, then there would be a delay before the shoulders open and energy would effectively get wasted. We really want to delay hip rotation and then open the hips explosively. That will help maximixe the stretch in the core leading, hopefully, to maximum energy transfer and, therefore, more explosive shoulder rotation.

I was in San Diego last weekend (11/1-11/4) for the coaches certification. But, to answer your question, I’m constantly sharing House information because most of my posts come are based on the knowledge I have acquired from them. That’s not to say I don’t base my posts on knowledge I’ve gained from others (e.g. Mills, Nyman, others on this and other websites). But I am definitely weight heavily towards House and the NPA.

Now will I be posting a brain dump of everything they taught? No. I don’t really have the time to do that. But I will post related information as appropriate to the threads I post in. Was there something specific you are interested in?

sorry for the late response, football is fianlly over. Thanks for your explanation it makes total sense. I will for sure be getting back to you on some questions. Just wanted ot say thanks for the post that i received from all. Thanks.