Sideways momentum

Roger and Chin. I concur!!

I am trying to follow all of this convo and I am not sure if you came to a solid conclusion, but I am gonna drop my 2 cents in on this to see what others think.

First, you can control arm speed/deceleration by controlling your front side. Your front side should be quiet but strong. By quiet, I mean that your lead arm should not be flailing all over the place, but at the same time it should be strong enough to keep your body from rotating too fast, which would lead to arm drag. One way to think about a quiet but strong front side is to have your (glove hand) thumb down when landing, as you begin to torque your body into a throwing position you should turn the glove over to face yourself for, what seems like an eternity, roughly 1/2sec. This is a complex way to keep your frontside closed, which in turn, will improve control. This is not as complicated as it looks in writing.

Second, you can find the most natural hip positioning for pitching by using the same lower half you use when you play catch. The easiest way to recognize this is to stand behind the rubber and, if you are right handed, take a step with your left foot, the step in front of the rubber with your right, and throw the ball. This, I believe, is the easiest way to find out what is the proper way for some people to throw. Another idea as far as your “balance point” is concerned is to not have one. Pitching has so many different philosophies and everyone believes that their way is right.

I, by no means, believe that this way is the best or the only way. I have been through a few pitching coaches in my day and this is one thing that I was taught to help use my size to my advantage (6’6 255 lbs.) You can use your lower half as a “slingshot” to keep your momentum moving towards the plate. So at this point as soon as you lift, you should be moving towards the plate. Some pitchers arms work better than others. This is where people will vary with their lead leg. Some will add a slight upper body rotation to keep good “tempo,” others will lift their lead leg at an angle forward to keep their repective “tempo.” This is where I usually lose people. After you lift your lead leg, you are going to push your hips towards the plate but keep your right/left shoulder over your plant foot. You have to be careful not to lean backwards, just flex that hip and use your glute to push you forward. It sounds weird that I say lead with your hips, but you really arent. It is what you can call a hip flex, almost as if you flex your glutes. If you do this right your IT band will be very tired after your first few outings until you get used to it.

From your hip to your foot, your leg will be bent inward. This sounds crazy but if you can find someone to explain it to you, it might be something to try. So if i was facing a RHP from his front side(and I mean the side that faces third base,) as he goes to the plate his back leg would look something like this " ) " but obviously the knee doesnt bend like that and your back hip will be infront of the foot. It may sounds crazy but if you were to see it then you may be able to follow.

This mechanical form is taught in belief that pitching comes from arm strength/flexibility and core strength.

What do you any/all of you think? Is this too complex? Does it sound like too much? Is it absolutely crazy?

What is the IT band?

[quote=“ajhines”]I am trying to follow all of this convo and I am not sure if you came to a solid conclusion, but I am gonna drop my 2 cents in on this to see what others think.

First, you can control arm speed/deceleration by controlling your front side. Your front side should be quiet but strong. By quiet, I mean that your lead arm should not be flailing all over the place, but at the same time it should be strong enough to keep your body from rotating too fast, which would lead to arm drag. One way to think about a quiet but strong front side is to have your (glove hand) thumb down when landing, as you begin to torque your body into a throwing position you should turn the glove over to face yourself for, what seems like an eternity, roughly 1/2sec. This is a complex way to keep your frontside closed, which in turn, will improve control. This is not as complicated as it looks in writing.[/quote]
I agree with the strong/quiet front side idea. I call it front side stability. It creates a stable base for the throwing arm to move against. And it should lead to consistency. But I have to admit I’ve never thought about using it to to keep the body from rotating too fast. Maybe you mean it helps keep the body from opening up too early? That does lead to arm drag. And it would be consistent with the technique of turning the glove thumb down.

I don’t understand your comments about hip positioning - I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. I will agree with your comment about not having a balance point. The pitching delivery needs to be fluid and build momentum - not come to a stop part way through.

[quote=“ajhines”]I, by no means, believe that this way is the best or the only way. I have been through a few pitching coaches in my day and this is one thing that I was taught to help use my size to my advantage (6’6 255 lbs.) You can use your lower half as a “slingshot” to keep your momentum moving towards the plate. So at this point as soon as you lift, you should be moving towards the plate. Some pitchers arms work better than others. This is where people will vary with their lead leg. Some will add a slight upper body rotation to keep good “tempo,” others will lift their lead leg at an angle forward to keep their repective “tempo.” This is where I usually lose people. After you lift your lead leg, you are going to push your hips towards the plate but keep your right/left shoulder over your plant foot. You have to be careful not to lean backwards, just flex that hip and use your glute to push you forward. It sounds weird that I say lead with your hips, but you really arent. It is what you can call a hip flex, almost as if you flex your glutes. If you do this right your IT band will be very tired after your first few outings until you get used to it.

From your hip to your foot, your leg will be bent inward. This sounds crazy but if you can find someone to explain it to you, it might be something to try. So if i was facing a RHP from his front side(and I mean the side that faces third base,) as he goes to the plate his back leg would look something like this " ) " but obviously the knee doesnt bend like that and your back hip will be infront of the foot. It may sounds crazy but if you were to see it then you may be able to follow.[/quote]
I agree that the lower half is very important to pitchers and that pitchers differ in certain aspects. I also agree with the idea of getting the hips started soon and (relatively) fast.

… and core flexibility.

When I was talking about hip positioning, I was referring to how tall some pitchers stay and how low some will get with more of a drop and drive. Hip positioning can also refer to cocked or open. sorry my description was a little vague.

To JKD:

Here is a link that may help you understand what it is. Most people know where it is and what it is, they jsut dont know the name of it.

http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/itband.v2.html

Well I have been working on the tips given to me from this post and here’s what I do. Basically, I have my hips cocked slightly towards the plate and as soon as I pick up my front leg, I already start to falling towards the plate, which in turn leads to a faster foot plant. Is this the “push off the rubber”? And yes, my IT band is tired. I have never felt sore in that area after pitcihng until now. For years, I was taught this balance drill where you stand balanced at the post position and the coach hands you ball to throw. If you are supposed to be moving at at leg lift, then why would you need this drill?

You are right. The balance point is no more. Also gone are the corresponding drills. I’m embarassed to admit I use to put my pitchers through those drills. Of course, this is more modern thinking and I’m sure there are many “old school” instructors that won’t buy into it.

JKD:
I notice that you said that you are falling to the plate. Instead of falling to the plate you should be under control, pretty much keeping your shoulders level. Falling towards the plate can create a lot of control issues as well as arm problems. One way that I was taught to keep from falling towards the plate was to work on landing with your shoulders at the same height. I am not sure about any other pitchers that are on here, but I have talked to my brother, who played with Steven in the cubs org., and any time that a pitcher makes an adjustment you should over exaggerate what you are trying to do and it almost always will fix your problem. As you create an increased amount of muscle memory, a little adjustment will not always fix your problems, instead it takes a drastic movement that may not feel right but will, in turn, fix your problem.

One of these drastic changes that you can make but may not feel right is to “tilt” your shoulders downward towards your back foot. When I say “tilt,” I am not saying that you should add a lean. It should be a slight “tilt” so that your front should is higher than the back. This movement should be used as you gain momentum toward the plate. As you land your front shoulder will drop some to create the even shoulder height that I spoke of earlier. This slight adjustment can correct falling towards the plate and will also help keep your tempo in check.

I have a few other drills that may help you out if falling towards the plate is an issue.

On a side note, the balance drill, in my mind, is still a good drill. I do not say this because I believe in a balance point, but because it establishes muscle memory as to where your hand should be at its highest point. Workign from the balance point can also help to avoid “hooking” the ball and will also help establish an arm path that will hide the ball. As I said earlier, the balance point has come and gone, but this drill helps pitchers to get their lead leg to the highest, under control point, in their windup. I am a firm believer in breaking my pitcher’s mechanics down into sections then putting it all together. By breaking the mechanics down into sections, they can concentrate more on just that one section, instead of doing dry deliveries and trying to figure out what is wrong with the delievery as a whole.