Shoulders Flying Open

I’ve got an ongoing struggle that I’ve been dealing with all summer…keeping my shoulders closed. I’ve been throwing against a wall (and filming myself to check for progress) a lot and doing drills that I picked up off a Tom House video hoping that the “rotate late” part will sink in. So far I haven’t had much luck. When I slowly go through my delivery, I can keep them back no problem. When I actually throw or go full speed, however, it’s a different story. My hips seem to be ok, but my shoulders rotate at the same time as my hips no matter how hard I try to hold them back. Is there a certain trick to keeping the shoulders closed or any drills that I could do? I’d appreciate any advice or suggestions.

Here’s what I told someone else.

First, you have to consciously try to hold your shoulders back; to keep them from rotating at the first moment that they feel the pull from the hips.

Second, you have to work on increasing the flexibility of your torso (this will help both your golf and your hitting).

Third, if you are a RHP, you could try pointing your glove to the 3B side of the plate (LHP try pointing the glove to the 1B side of the plate).

This advice from DM59 also may help…

[quote=“DM59”]In addition to pointing the glove on the throwing arm side of the plate, ensure that the thumb of the glove hand stays down and the elbow is at shoulder height until serious shoulder rotation happens. This keeps the upper arm in “internal rotation”, which helps stop the front shoulder from opening up too soon. Turning the glove over and dropping the elbow early has a way of bringing the shoulder with it.

Also, it’s a timing issue, often, where the throwing hand/arm is ready to fire away much too early. Experiment with hand break timing and overall tempo. The entire throwing arm and hand should get to a horizontal position at shoulder height just prior to the front foot turning over to land. If you go through this position at the right time, your hand will not be ready to throw yet and you MIGHT not start shoulder rotation so early. Also, if the mental imagery is such that the throwing forearm and back of the throwing hand is on it’s way up toward high cocked as the front foot and hips begin to turn into landing, your throwing hand SHOULD be going through high cocked just as the front foot actually lands and bears weight, which is the correct timing.[/quote]

Which drills are you doing? The drills I can think of that would help you specifically practice late shoulder rotation would be:

(1) Knee drill
(2) Mirror drill
(3) Stack & Track version of towel drill

I believe these are all shown on the latest Tom House/NPA “Performance Drills” video but I’m not sure about older videos.

Of course, when you do any drills, you should intermix some live throwing in between. That way, you practice a skill and then immediately try to carry it over to the live throwing. Then you practice the next skill (or the same skill again using a different drill) and carry it over to live throwing. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I was told- Chin to chin, meaning bring your glove shoulder to your chin while you’re cocking up, then meet the other shoulder at the end. Practice it just at your computer.

Chris…I’ve been conscientiously trying to keep my shoulders back and when I think I’m getting it, I look at the video and my shoulders are still rotating with my hips. Maybe it’s something that just takes a lot of time before it finally sinks in?

Roger…The drills I’m doing are from an older video. I don’t remember the name of the drills but…(1)cross arms, bring knee to belly button, stride, rotate late. (2) Get into flex T position and throw from there. I’ll definately look into those other drills and maybe that new video. I didn’t know that about doing live throwing in between drills. That’s something that I need to start doing.

I appreciate all the advice guys. :smiley:

Here’s something to think about…

While you are delaying your shoulder rotation, you might be doing something that prevents keeping the shoulders closed. For example, if you have a posture or balance problem, that may cause you to fall off to the side and that will make it hard to keep the shoulders closed. If you pull the glove to the side, a premature pull will make it hard to keep the shoulders closed. If you have a short stride, that will likely cause everything to open up sooner than you’d like.

So try to assess whether or not there is something else you are doing that is pulling the shoulders open.


It also takes time to increase your flexibility.

Roger and Chris…You guys are awesome! I figured out that when I try to hold back my shoulders, I also lean forward (towards 1st base). I started doing the towel drill and after a while, got to the point where I finally held my shoulders back long enough to hit the target. I’m starting to get a feel for it now. I still got some work to do on it, but I’m making a lot of progress. I’ll try to get a video on myself in the next couple of days to see if it looks right.
Thanks for all the help.

Backwards Chaining will help you out as well. Try and do a search on it and do some surfing. Backwards chaining will help with your release point and keeping your mechanics consistent. I am going by previous experience here. You also go some very good info here as well. IF you have a mirror try looking at your motion and video taping yourself .

Good luck!