Stretch or Wind-up


#1

Just got named pitching coach at the high school I teach at.

I am considering teaching/coaching pitchers to use the stretch at all times.

Any thoughts? suggestions?


#2

noooooooooooooooooooooo
let them use whatever they are most comfortable with unless there is a runner on 1st or 2nd
i personally prefer the windup 1000x better than the stretch, it just feels much better for me


#3

seriously though, there is so much a pitching coach at this age can teach, this should be at the pitcher’s discretion, using the stretch is more taxing on the body as the wind up is when used correctly, the wind up helps you get your whole body involved way easier as the stretch needs you to use more of your legs and arm to reach the same thing.


#4

I feel that the more you show a team your stretch the more possibility they have to find tendencies and therefore time you while on base. I also feel just as comfortable in the stretch and windup so using the windup doesn’t give me any grief especially since once I am in the post all the mechanics are the same anyway.


#5

I agree that I wouldnt make it mandatory… why are you looking to implement this change?


#6

It might be a good suggestion, but I wouldn’t force anyone into. The good thing about pitching from the stretch at all times is that it makes it less stressful when you do have baserunners and don’t have to make big adjustments in your delivery from what you’re already doing.


#7

My thinking on the matter is as follows:

  1. Most “pressure” moments involve baserunners, so get the pitchers comfortable working from the stretch…Repetition, repetition, repetition

  2. Our starters/relievers are inter-changeable. We have 5-7 pitchers that could either start or relieve

  3. Other than a “comfort” issue, does the wind-up add any other advantages, such as more velocity or more break on a curve, etc…


#8

I don’t think you can really argue that the windup adds velocity… Many of the closers throwing 96+ use the stretch exclusively, and if using the windup would help them get into the triple digits I’m sure they would use it. If you’re using the stretch the right way you shouldn’t be losing velocity… I think anyway.

I think it’s mostly a matter of what’s comfortable for someone. However, you don’t see any major league starters who pitch from the stretch exclusively, so clearly there are benefits to pitching from the windup. Added deception for one thing.

But like you said, everyone should be comfortable from the stretch, and if they aren’t, it might be a good idea to have them use it exclusively until they are.


#9

[quote=“myates22”]My thinking on the matter is as follows:

  1. Most “pressure” moments involve baserunners, so get the pitchers comfortable working from the stretch…Repetition, repetition, repetition

  2. Our starters/relievers are inter-changeable. We have 5-7 pitchers that could either start or relieve

  3. Other than a “comfort” issue, does the wind-up add any other advantages, such as more velocity or more break on a curve, etc…[/quote]

I seriously doubt you’ll take my advice, but I’m gonna give it anyway.

Before you make any kind of big decision like that, you should have reasons based on facts rather than assumptions. What I’m saying is the same thing I’ve said hundreds of times before. You can’t manage what you don’t measure! IOW, find out what IS happening rather than what you THINK is happening.

Get the scorebook, and over the summer redo your pitcher’s stats by whether something happened with runners on or not. I’ve don’t that in great detail over the last 10 years, and I can say with certainty that there are some players who have more trouble from the stretch, some who have more trouble from the windup, and some where it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference. Wouldn’t it make more sense to work on the ones who have trouble from the stretch, and leave the one’s alone who don’t?

Most of the time when I’ve talked to players or coaches about it, I find the tendency is that not as much time is spent in practice from the stretch, even though most pitchers throw more pitches with runners on.

But why is it that you want to do this “great experiment” anyway? What has made you decide that of all the things you could do as a pitching coach, this is the one that should be the centerpiece of you philosophy?

Look. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t do what you’re thinking, but that you need more information before you make your decision. If you like, I can give you lots of personal HS data on this very subject, but the best data would be on your pitchers.

Good luck!


#10

myates22, my thought is, “Do you think that the windup has no useful purpose in baseball other than a different way to pitch.” If most pitchers in college and bigs use windup, why would your kids be any different, my biggest worry would be one of my players, that does have the talent for the next level, goes to a showcase and they don’t pick him up because he can’t pitch from the windup.


#11

The only time I would go to the stretch—set position—is with a runner on first or second. Otherwise I used the full windup, oh maybe 96% of the time, and I never had any problems. 8)


#12

You really want to stir up a hornets nest don’t you. By the nature of your job you will inevitably create controversy, but I can almost guarantee if you force all of your pitchers do anything someone (or their parent) is going to complain and fight you on it. In the end is it worth the controversy.


#13

Thanks for all the advice. I am reading and taking in each one of the comments.

I am now leaning in the other direction. If the season started tomorrow, I would let each of the pitchers choose wind-up or stretch with no runners on.

Once again, thanks for the responses and I look forward to reading any more.


#14

Are you planning on tracking what’s going on? Honestly, I don’t know what the best decision is in your particular situation, and neither does anyone else. You have to be proactive and do what it takes to prove or disprove your hypothesis, otherwise all you’re doing is guessing. Way too many coaches do that, and the result is, they waste one Devil of a lot of time for very little return.

I encourage you to write down your thoughts, and see what you might be able to do to prove them worth spending time on. Since this will be your 1st season as the PC, I’m assuming you aren’t intimately familiar with your players. That’s simple to overcome. Get the numbers!

If you need some help interpreting or analyzing them, just ask! :wink:


#15

Let me say something in favor of the stretch. I think getting your pitchers comfortable with the stretch before allowing them to use the windup is not a bad idea. They have to be quick to the plate (1.3 sec. or less),hold runners close, throw picks to name a few. Once they master the stretch
and its various demands then go to the windup. THere was a review of a study print in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine looking at the two delivers. They stated:" an increased jpropensitty to throw strikes in a game situation for pitchers choosing the set position. ’


#16

[quote=“nick nickason”]Let me say something in favor of the stretch. I think getting your pitchers comfortable with the stretch before allowing them to use the windup is not a bad idea. They have to be quick to the plate (1.3 sec. or less),hold runners close, throw picks to name a few. Once they master the stretch
and its various demands then go to the windup. THere was a review of a study print in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine looking at the two delivers. They stated:" an increased jpropensitty to throw strikes in a game situation for pitchers choosing the set position. '[/quote]

I have always advocated teaching new pitchers to throw from the stretch before the windup because it’s a lot less complicated with fewer thing to coordinate. I don’t advocate it because it makes them quicker to the plate though, and I’d never put one number out there as a standard or target.

Can you provide a link to that article? I’d sure like to see who they’re saying has a higher propensity to throw strikes in the set position.

Thanx


#17

The aricle is from Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2007) 6,1-20
http//wwwjssm.org


#18

Well, I tried to research this referenced 1988 article, but had no luck. I put the excerpt from the study you referenced below. However, from the looks of what I’m seeing, it appears that whatever research was done, wasn’t in any great depth. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t true, but rather that the range of the study was likely extremely limited, plus, I have to wonder about how “propensity to throw strikes” was defined.

Nothing against those particular researchers or researchers in general, but sometimes they define things in such a way as to validate their findings. FI, I just ran some numbers from data I have. For 11,974 batters, there were 13,951 pitches that were strikes and 9,393 that were balls thrown with runners on base, or I assume from the set position.

Yes, I know that some pitchers never pitch from the windup, but trust me, in HS its not a lot. Having said that, if you want to, adjust my numbers by some percentage you believe represents the pitchers who always throw from the set.

Now if that were all there were to it, it would be pretty simple to say there was a propensity to throw strikes from the set position. However, from that same database, there were 12,003 strikes and 8,037 balls thrown with no runners on base, I assume from the windup.

1st of all, that means there were a lot more pitches thrown from the stretch, and if you do the math, it works out to 59.8% strikes from the stretch, but 59.9 from the windup!

And if you dig a little deeper, you have to wonder if “propensity to throw strikes” was based on whether it was a pitch in the strike zone, or one that was technically a strike because a batter swung at a pitch he shouldn’t have.

I sure don’t want to cast aspersions on that study, but I have to tell you that this is the kind of thing that gives rise to the old Mark Twain saying, “There’s lies, damned lies, and statistics!” And its why people need to do a bit more digging than just accept what they’re told. :wink:

During competitive baseball pitchers are allowed to throw from the ‘set’ or ‘windup’ positions as they choose. In the set position, the throwing motion begins with the thrower standing with the ipsilateral (to the throwing arm) foot in contact with the pitching rubber, and striding toward home plate with the contralateral leg. The windup position allows for a short stride backwards or across (with the leg contralateral to the throwing arm) before striding toward home plate. Little work has been done in investigating differences between these two techniques, and it is rarely stated which technique was adopted during analysis of pitching despite a widely held belief that throwing from the windup position confers greater performance. An exception to this was the work of Grove et al., 1988 who documented an increased propensity to throw strikes in a game situation for pitchers choosing the set position (Grove et al., 1988). This group went on to analyze the kinematics of throwing from these two positions finding the set position usually involved a reduction in the amount of thigh rotation, and a more vertically oriented lower leg position. It was also noted that the direction of the stride showed less deviation when throwing a curveball from a set position. These workers suggested that pitchers may benefit by throwing from the set position more often than is usually the case when dictated by game situations (the set position is commonly used only to limit any base-stealing opportunities by the opposition).


#19

So there you have it. If equal amount or strikes are thrown (no matter how they are gotten) from the stretch or the wind-up, maybe it is better to teach pitchers to thrown only from the stretch. First of all a pitcher MUST learn to throw from the stretch with runners on base, and second, it is less complicated. Now the question arises, does throwing from the stretch reduce velocity?


#20

WHOA there big fella! Now you’re doing exactly what I warned ya against. Don’t use the numbers that way.

As for whether pitchers should only throw from the stretch, its moot argument because it assumes every pitcher would have the same results, and nothing could be further from the truth.

This doesn’t mean that everything done in the past was the “BEST” way, but don’t you suppose that in the 100+ years of pitchers using basically the 2 different pitching positions, it would have proven better to use one over the other, and that’s what pitchers would use?

Velocity is a different argument entirely, but the same thing goes for it. There are pitchers who lose velocity in general, pitchers who gain velocity in general, and pitchers to whom there’s no real difference.