Strong Front Side


#1

Read an article last summer that invovled Tom House. He said that tucking the front side glove in to the chest was incorrect and that instead, a pitcher should leave the front side glove pointing to the target and then should bring his chest the the front side glove. Anyone here of this method of pitching…has anyone tried it or found success with it


#2

House does not recommend pointing the glove. He only recommends getting the glove out front somewhere over the front foot. But the rest of what you said is correct.

Tucking or pulling the glove to the chest, hip or side can cause timing problems in the form of early and/or inconsistent shoulder rotation. If the timing of the tuck/pull changes from pitch to pitch, then the release point changes from pitch to pitch and consistency deteriorates. If the shoulders open early, two things can happen. First, energy transfer up the kinetic chain is wasted and more stress is put on the arm. Second, the body spins off-line from the target early which takes away the timing required for the pitcher to delay shoulder rotation. This pulls the release point back (and most likely up and to the side) thus affecting both consistency and movement.

There are plenty of pro pitchers that stick the glove out front and bring the chest to it. Some keep the glove higher than others. Some keep the glove more in front that others. But they all put the glove out front and leave it there instead of pulling it back. Here are some examples:

Greg Maddux
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=71941113&cdi=0

Nolan Ryan
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=50987231&cdi=0

Anthony Reyes
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=72235840&cdi=0

Randy Johnson
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=71484473&cdi=0

Tom Glavine
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=53149957&cdi=0

Roger Clemens
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=55985426&cdi=0

Pedro Martinez
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=71271886&cdi=0

This year’s Cy Young winner Brandon Webb
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=52597384&cdi=0


#3

Do you know anyone who still teaches tucking or pulling the glove to the chest? My son (now 15) learned this at a quality DI University in Ohio several years ago. After reading “The Pitching Edge” by House I advised my son to keep the glove out over the landing leg knee and move the chest to the glove. Overcoming the muscle memory was a challenge. He still tucks some and like you said it contributes to additional stress on the elbow because of the imbalance. The first edition of “The Pitching Edge” was written in 1994… . a second edition in 2000. I would guess both had been available when my son attended this pitching clinic. Was House’s theories universally accepted back then? Are they now?


#4

I’ve tried the tucking, thinking it would help keep my shoulder closed … but it never felt right.


#5

My tuck is somewhat close to Pedro Martinez’s in the picture above. I don’t try to pull my chest to my glove, it’s just a natural movement for me. For me it’s kinda a all in one motion. Chest to glove, glove to chest. Not pulling the glove, not pushing my chest to the glove. “NATURAL”.


#6

It is my impression that there are a lot of coaches out there who are what I call “old school”. They teach the way they were taught. So, there are probably a lot of coaches that still teach pulling the glove. I don’t know this for a fact - it’s just the impression I have. My exposure to other coaches comes primarily from youth travel ball but also from the high school level. I believe pulling the glove was thought to enhance shoulder rotation but now we know that shoulder rotation happens via hip rotation, hip and shoulder separation, and the stretch-shortening cycle of the core muscles.

There are some video clips floating around the Internet of Bill Thurston teaching mechanics. In one of the videos, he teaches tucking the glove. But I don’t know if the video is outdated or if it represents what he currently teaches.

I’m not surprised.

I wouldn’t say House’s ideas were universally accepted then or now. In the 2nd edition of The Pithing Edge, House admits there were things in the first edition that were wrong. Also, I know there was a period when House was considered too scientific and that probably closed some people’s minds to his ideas. Even today, there are many coaches who think their way is the only way.

One thing you should understand, however, is that House has a high speed video analysis system in his facility and he has done a lot of video analysis to come up with or confirm his ideas. On top of that, he (actually they - the NPA) has an advisory board that they run things by before they are published. So ideas coming from House and the NPA these days are pretty well-founded.


#7

This is one place where I think Tom House is overstating things. He says something is an absolute when I’m not convinced that it is.

Unlike the idea of the hips rotating ahead of the shoulders, which is universal, there is TREMENDOUS variability in terms of what big league pitchers do with the glove. That suggests that it may not matter that much. All that may matter is not flying open with the glove, which is a common problem with younger kids, since that can pull the shoulders open early.

Mike Marshall advocates extending the glove to the target and then pulling it into the Glove Side pec. His thought is that this helps the shoulders to rotate through a process called force coupling.


#8

I have wondered at a couple of points if trying too hard to pull the glove into the chest could screw up a pitcher’s timing by getting the shoulders rotating too soon rather than letting them get pulled around by the hips (which means that I think that Mike Marshall could be wrong about this). If you start to pull the glove in too soon, you could get the shoulders rotating too soon and actually bleed off some power by not maximizing the hip/shoulder separation.

Roger (and all), does this make sense to you? Is this your concern as well?

That’s why this isn’t something that I really emphasize.

I do want the glove to finish at the Glove Side pec for safety reasons (having the glove there protects the face and the sternum), but I’m not overly concerned with how the glove gets to that spot.


#9

This is one place where I think Tom House is overstating things. He says something is an absolute when I’m not convinced that it is.[/quote]
Chris, your comments are based on outdated knowledge of Tom House and his teachings. The absolutes are no more. These days, Tom acknowledges that there are no absolutes. He still teaches certain things that he’s identified as being in common among the game’s best and which lead to not only optimal performance but also health. But he no longer calls them absolutes.

The glove itself isn’t much of a concern. It can be pointed straight, tucked under by bending at the wist, etc. The arm as a whole is what’s important. I think your comment about all that matters is not flying open is on track. That’s sort of the idea behind House’s “opposite and equal” thing. By getting to that position - even though the position isn’t held very long - you create the timing in the arms to do the rest of the mechanics properly (with proper timing). Opposite and equal also aids balance by keeping the weight of the arms equdistant from the center of gravity. This is really important during hip and shoulder rotation but I feel too many people underappreciate this.

The NPA folks would tell you that pulling the glove directs some of your energy backward.

The way I look at it is this - if you pull the glove back, then that has the effect of pulling the glove-side shoulder forward. (Think physics - for every force there is an equal and opposite force.) But that’s the opposite direction you need the glove-side shoulder to rotate! So, the only way that pulling the glove back can help the glove-side shoulder rotate back is if the arm pulls early and then the momentum of the mass of the arm is used to help pull the glove-side shoulder back. But notice I just said “pulls early”. The glove-side arm has to pull back early to build momentum by the time it’s needed. This creates timing problems.


#10

The only problem with this is that IMO the hips rotating ahead of the shoulders IS an absolute.


#11

I have wondered at a couple of points if trying too hard to pull the glove into the chest could screw up a pitcher’s timing by getting the shoulders rotating too soon rather than letting them get pulled around by the hips (which means that I think that Mike Marshall could be wrong about this). If you start to pull the glove in too soon, you could get the shoulders rotating too soon and actually bleed off some power by not maximizing the hip/shoulder separation.

Roger (and all), does this make sense to you? Is this your concern as well?

That’s why this isn’t something that I really emphasize.

I do want the glove to finish at the Glove Side pec for safety reasons (having the glove there protects the face and the sternum), but I’m not overly concerned with how the glove gets to that spot.[/quote]

Yes, that makes sense to me and it is my concern - pulling the glove too soon causes timing problems. It can also cause the throwing arm to drag which results in additional stress being applied to the throwing arm. Combine this with overuse and there’s your injury waiting to happen.

I agree with your safety concern. Pitchers need to finish with their glove in a position such that it can be used to protect themselves - especially their head. I believe there was an incident near the end of the MLB season (maybe in the playoffs?) where a pitcher finished with his shoulders about squared to 1B and his glove to the 2b side of his body. He took a liner off the noggin’ because he finished in a position that made it impossible to protect himself.

BTW, House and the NPA have been working on an injury prevention model to go along with their mechanics model. They are supposed to release a book soon that presents this model. House admits the model might not be 100% correct yet but it gets the ball rolling and offers ideas for people to start discussing.


#12

The only problem with this is that IMO the hips rotating ahead of the shoulders IS an absolute.[/quote]
Are there not pitchers whose hips and shoulders rotate together and who are successful? Not sure but how about C.C. Sabathia? His hips don’t lead his shoulders by much if at all.


#13

Ok so based on the previous assesments, diagnosing my problem of being inconsistent in the strike zone generally high or away could be a result of me pulling with my lead elbow? Some days Im on and I dont seem to have a problem but coaches have told me I have an inconstent arm slot.


#14

Using the glove to protect yourself is a good enough reason to finish with your glove at the chest:

This is a link to video of my son catching a line drive at his head. Cue to 1:30 near the end of the clip. Use full size and volume for best effect.

Explore Mark Mason

#15

Could be. Opening the shoulders early often causes the arm to drag and that usually results in throwing up and in (RHP to RHB) or down and away (due to overcorrecting). Missing side-to-side is often a posture issue. Missing up and down can be an issue with an instable glove. Of course, there are other possible causes for your inconsistency (e.g. posture and balance issues) so it’s anyone’s guess without being able to see you pitch.

The first thing I would pay attention to is posture and balance. In particular, pay attention to what your head does.

Post up some video if you can - a font view and a side view would be good.


#16

alright Ill definitly try to get some video thanks for your support


#17

I think the glove arm should be thought of as “along for the ride.” The reason so many coaches taught the tuck and pull is because of pitchers they saw releasing the ball around their chest area, they assumed that they pulled it there when in reality it was usually stabilized there the whole time. The same thing happened back in the day when coaches would see a picture of a pitcher after released with a pronated throwing arm and they would think they were throwing a screwball when in reality it could have been any pitch. I think when the tuck and pull is taught it causes timing issues because you’re trying to move both arms and sequence them up properly every time.

Instead, I’d rather have a guy think to keep his glove or gloveside forearm locked on the target as long as he can, and let the natural acceleration of the throwing arm determine where the glove side goes. Also, I think it’s important for the shoulders to end in a “home to second” alignment as opposed to a “third to first” alignement, meaning the throwing arm shoulder is facing the plate and the glove side shoulder is facing 2nd base. This can still occur with the glove near the gloveside pec and in a decent fielding position.


#18

Why do you think that is important? And do you think ALL pitchers should do this?


#19

Why do you think that is important? And do you think ALL pitchers should do this?[/quote]

Yes, I think if you really look at it you’ll see that most good pitchers do this. Are there exceptions? Sure, there may be. The first guys who come to mind that might not do this are the guys who end in a good fielding position, aka Maddux. If you look at his shouders though, his right shoulder is facing the plate, and his left shoulder is facing second. His head has not moved, and his glove ends up in a good fielding position.

Even guys like Prior do this. He’s trying to keep the glove fixed over his front leg, but the natural momentum of his back shoulder eventually force the shoulders into this alignment. I think if a pitcher tries to stop their shoulders from following through properly then they will end up with them facing 3rd and 1st. This will often happen when a ending in a good fielding position is emphasized.


#20

I’m thinking that the shoulders ending in certain position isn’t so much a goal but a result of something earlier in the delivery. Do you think proper mechanics (without defining what those are) will lead to this proper position of the shoulders? Which specific aspects of the mechanics are important to this?