The "New" Pitch

Looking for the Gyro!

Attention all pitching coaches, I need your help. If there is a coach out there that has any information on the gyroball, please post some details on this website. The gyroball is an exciting pitch from Japan that has stimulated my interest. I have found some information on the gyroball, but I am seeking to understand all elements on the pitch. Apparently, the pitch is quite successful in Japan.

On my blog, I have posted a picture of Daisuke Matsuzaka. He is a pitcher for Japan’s Seibu Lions. It is said that he has a wonderful “gyroball” that compliments his 98 MPH fastball well. The gyroball appears to have breaking ball characteristics, but breaks hard away from hitters. The pitch, when working, is not only hard to read out of a pitchers hand, but the hard break makes the pitch virtually unhittable.

If there is any coach with drills, grips, explanations, or videos of the pitch, please contact this website and share your knowledge. I believe this pitch can help high school pitchers dominate the opposition.

I have done extensive websearches trying to locate complex information on the gyroball, but have not been able to locate anything precise.
I even bought a book I thought had info in it, didn’t, but atleast it’s a good read.

Anyways, I have heard several statements on the gyroball, the most predominant is how complicated it is to throw/master/teach.

Here’s the best article I have found, although it is extremely confusing, since the writer jumps from topic to topic. Be careful, it may seem he is saying on thing about the gyroball when he is actually talking about something else all together. http://www.robneyer.com/book_04_gyroball.html (I bought the book it leads you to believe has more information (Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers)

The Writer of the article, Will Carrol, also claims he has taught a high schooler a gyroball.
To sum it up Japanese used Supercomputers to develop a physics theory of rotational force (far different from US theorys) and the ball is almost thrown like a bullet out of a rifle, with the sidespin.
I saw a video of the kid throwing, and to be honest I think my curveball has harder break, and bettter movement. Maybe this was because the kid doesn’t throw hard enough to generate hard, difficult movement.

The motion I developed from my reads was a dominated by horizontal forces. The arm angle is much like a football throw. I am pretty confident in that things I am pretty sure about but not enough to say it’s one way or another are that it is gripped like an off axis two-seam and the pitcher kind of rolls of the ball outside of it, to develop a rotation that is side ways, rather than over under.

Also I have heard other opinions such as that people actually think the gyroball is a screwball variation.
I don’t necessarily agree, but I do think unless you are following the motion to a tee, that you are going to injure your arm. If not I think you woill atleast develop bad mechanics from the way your arm has to kind of drag and also the rotation used (in attempting to throw the gyroball I found I rotated incorrectly on my fastballs).

Basically I’m trying to say I don’t know if the pitch is as hot as they make it seem. I’m pretty sure the named Japanese prospect is also sufferring from terrible arm problems and that has delayed him from coming over to the US.
I myself am very interested if anyone has anymore information, I think if mastered the pitch would be untouchable do to rareness, and movement.

Hope this helped.

Well I decided this was a worthy of a new post so here ya go…

I found a very nice video on the japanese guy (can’t remember or spell his name) throwing his gyroball. After watching the video closely a few time I may try and break it down and throw the pitch. The angle is weird but I can still see devastating break.

Upon a little more reading on the pitcher specifically there is a possibility of either the gyroball hurting his arm, or the fact the japanese do not have a concept of pitch count with the named pitcher throwing 140 pitches over 10 times in one season (I think the major league high was like 144 by Livan Hernandez, and that was 1 time).

With a decent guide on the mechanics I’m goign to see if I can get any results.
I’ll also post if I fill any pain/twinge.

EDIT____

After watching the video more, he has intense pro-nation, and I may not try the pitch, or I may try it without the extreme pronation

I just started my research about the gyroball. I agree that the pitch is thrown like a football, but I do not understand the horiziontal process in the delivery of the pitch. I have been fooling around with the grip and pronation of the forearm. You probably agree that these kinds of ideas like the Gyroball become somewhat addicting to coaches and players looking for ways to get ahead of the curve. I will continue to post information I locate about the pitch.

Merry Christmas.

Careful guys. I have seen a video of this pitch and it looks sort of like a football release, kinda short armed. I do believe that some will be able to throw this pitch, it may have to do with quick arm release or finger length. I just know that the japanese are so technical that they are always looking for a new way to play this game. In our quest for more knowledge in this game, we all get caught up once in a while. After reading both of your posts, I believe you both have plenty of good baseball knowledge and sense, and we will contnue to use what works, and try new things that won’t injure or tire a pitcher. Heck, if you’ve taught your pitchers 2-3 pitches, and they can command and control them, and get people out, you’ve done way more than most coaches.

Merry Christmas to all
Coachric

Updated Information on the Gyroball

The listings below are the things that I have found out so far about the Gyroball. I will continue my informational crusade about this pitch until I have learned how to throw it. If anyone, who visits this site, can add to the list, please contact me and I will submit additional information about this pitch.

Things I have learned about the Gyroball

  1. The ball, when getting into position for release, should point at the pitcher’s ear. This position is similar to the quarterback throwing a football.

  2. The Gyroball spins in a perfect, counter-clockwise motion.

  3. The Gyroball looks exactly like a fastball, until sharply breaking right to left, when thrown by RHP.

  4. The Gyroball is delivered using “Double Spin” mechanics, meaning the pitcher’s hips rotate forward followed by the elbow pronating along with the pitcher’s wrist and hand.

  5. The pitcher must make sure their hips and shoulders are aligned at foot plant to throw the Gyroball perfectly.

I’m still searching…

Awesome! Thanks for the update Coach Kreber! I’ve thought about trying to teach myself this pitch, but I’m not sure if I’m old enough to try it out… If only they paid more attention to pitch counts in japan! lol…

i just searched about the gyroball and got this:

"The Ghost Pitch

by Will Carroll

    The pitch is like a ghost. People claim they have seen it, but like a UFO or the Loch Ness Monster, the evidence is a bit harder to come across. Jerky video from Japan hides in the depths of specialty baseball discussion boards. Breathless tales from scouts and fans discussing this ghost would be laughable...

    If they weren’t true.

    Not since the advent of the split-fingered fastball has there been a real "new" pitch. Sure, there are variants like R.A. Dickey's "Thang" and others that recall Rick Vaughn's "Terminator," but the gyroball is not only real, it's teachable.

    The gyroball is less a pitch than an effect. Over the past five years, a new science of pitching is beginning to take hold in Japan. While the translations are non-existent, the best available to me is "Double Spin Mechanics." Rather than using high-speed video like advanced pitching gurus Tom House and Mike Marshall use, the Japanese have gone to supercomputers.

    Simulating various mechanical models, Japanese researchers -- and I would name them if I could find someone to translate their book -- discovered a series of biomechanical techniques that would remove much of the stress from throwing a baseball. This new mechanical paradigm takes a book to explain properly, but the short version is that instead of using the linear kinetic chain that’s the subject of American research, the Japanese attempt to coordinate two circular motions. The first is a motion of the hips and is very similar to the findings of Dr. Glenn Fleisig of ASMI. There is a nearly one-to-one relationship between hip velocity and ball velocity; increase one and the other increases.

    The second "spin" -- and this is what’s revolutionary, perhaps -- is the motion of the upper arm. This differentiates from Mike Marshall’s Newtonian model and demands a forceful yet controlled rotation of the humerus. To get the idea of this in your head, hold your arm out so that your upper arm (humerus) is parallel to the floor. Have your forearm at a ninety-degree angle and hold the ball so that the ball is between your hand and your ear. The proper second "spin" is done by rotating the upper arm so that the forearm goes from pointing up to pointing down and the hand goes from pointing in at the body to pointing away from the body (pronation) just after the release of the ball.

    Got all that?

    Double-spin mechanics are almost unknown in America, but slowly they're reaching these shores. The reason is not the scientific evidence; that remains to be translated and fewer than ten copies of the book have been brought to America. Instead, it is the unintended effect of the new mechanics that is getting the attention. That effect is the gyroball.

    In Saving The Pitcher, I state that I don't believe in the “curveball” as a distinct pitch. All breaking balls are simply the effect of putting some form of spin on the baseball that causes the ball to move off the normal curvilinear path. Secondarily, the spin should be controllable, but that's not always the case. There probably aren’t ten pitchers in the major leagues that could explain the Magnus force, but most of them have explosive breaking balls.

    The gyroball is simply another variation of breaking ball. The same could be said for the slider, the cutter, and even the screwball. Unlike the other pitches, the gyroball does not have a multiplanar path. As the ball leaves the hand of the pitcher throwing a gyro -- or as the Japanese call it, the "shooto" -- the ball comes off the middle finger with what appears to the batter as a pure counterclockwise spin. There is no snap of the wrist; it is a true "set it and forget it" pitch. The spin is an apparent rifle-like spin that keeps the ball true until it takes a severe, late left turn from a right-handed pitcher.

    Let me say that again: the ball comes at the hitter looking like a hanging curve and then takes a hard, flat turn away from a right-handed batter.

    Whether you believe in DIPS or not, the effect is the same. First, the batter has a difficult time deciding whether or not to swing. He will have a hard time detecting not only the spin and plane, but since the ball is delivered with a fastball motion, the speed as well. Not only is there no mechanical clue (ideally, of course), but the ball comes in faster than a slider. Assuming the batter does make contact, it is difficult to hit the ball on the sweet spot. Contact usually leads to a weak hit to the opposite field.

    The gyroball works well in the confines of a supercomputer, but how does it work on the field? There are several pitchers making use of double-spin mechanics, but there is also a clear star: Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Seibu Lions’ 23-year-old ace throws a 98-m.p.h. fastball in addition to his gyroball, but he is best remembered in Japan for pitching ten innings in an Olympics game while just out of high school. He has lived up to the promise he showed in 2000, but has experienced elbow problems over the last two seasons.

    Is this elbow problem the result of throwing the gyroball? Some flaw in double-spin theory? It’s hard to know. While much of the pitching research being done in Japan is on a par with that in America, research on pitch counts and pitcher workload has been ignored. Pitchers routinely throw 150 or more pitches and are asked to throw more in the bullpen after a poor performance. Matsuzaka is reported to have thrown more than 140 pitches ten times in 2002, just before his shoulder problems began. Worse, he had a legendary high-school start in which he pitched a complete game . . . and threw 249 pitches in 17 innings!

    Before his injury woes began, Matsuzaka used his two-pitch repertoire to bring the Lions to the Japan Series. He was honored as the Game 1 starter. When both pitches are working, the combination of mid-90s heat and gyroball is all but unhittable. He's struggled some with control, but generally has had little problem dominating the hitters (there are very few pitchers in Japan who throw as hard as Matsuzaka).

    With the return of Bobby Valentine to Japanese baseball, there is hope that the protective influences of American sports medicine will journey east. There is no Japanese word for "prehab," but work is underway to change that, and in exchange the gyroball will undoubtedly come to America. It may be Matsuzaka -- rumors abound that he could be posted after the 2004 season -- but a creative team could try teaching the pitch. Just as Boston is doing with the knuckler and Arizona did with submariners, there are advantages to be had in being ahead of the curve. So to speak."

The article you pulled up blackdragon is one of the most popular and best explanations of the gyroball in english.

However it leaves way to many unknowns, for instance try searching double spin mechanics (key to gyroball) and you will get next to nothing.

The pitch seems to be very complicated from what I see.

If you want a little more reference I think Coach Kreber posted a pretty good list of stuff that is more or less fact of the gyroball on his blog

well after reading coach krebler’s tips and the article i found i think i know how to throw this gyroball. You set up the ball on what you regularly throw a 4 seam fastball but instad of your thumb being next to your ear its the baseball. So like coach krebler said you will throw it like you throw a football.

Coach if you get any information about this gyroball could you please pass it on to me…I would like to see grips and maybe some slow motion throwing of the ball. It sounds to me that if this pitch isnt thrown right it will hang and be crushed.

Thanx
Ryan

The best video I have seen is here (slow, and you can flip frame to frame in windows media)

http://www.rotoauthority.com/2005/10/daisuke_matsuza.html

It the japanese star Daisuke Matsuza thorwing it, crazy thing is the angle is poor to see movement, and the break/bite is still rediculous.

On a side note Matsuza does and has had arm problems, which have slowed him coming to the MLB and the gyroball in America. Not sure whether or not to attribute the problems to the gyroball or the insane, non existent pitchcounts. (guys go 150 pitches all the time and throw bullpens the next day).

I have also seen a video of a HS sophmore throwing it, (can’t find the link) however since his velocity was so much lower it didn’t look any better than a tight curveball or slider. However if Matsuza is throwing 95 i think it would be impossible to hit)

Here’s my two cents.

First, let me say for the record that pronation is a very good thing. DM’s problems are caused by his pronating too little and too late rather than too much.

If you go frame by frame through the video, you will see that his forearm is supinated as his elbow extends (palm faces the 1B side of vertical). After releasing the ball he pronates his forearm (palm is still supinated and facing up at the release point). This is a great example of what I call Late Pronation, which is pronation that is done too late to protect the elbow. It explains his elbow problems.

DM also appears to have an abbreviated arm path during his follow-through, which can cause problems in the back of the rotator cuff, and might explain his shoulder problems.

In terms of the movement of the ball, it looks to me like it’s spinning slowly on a nearly vertical axis. This may make it something like a horizontally breaking knuckle curve.

I think you might be able to achieve the same effect by throwing a knuckleball or knuckle curve from a flat, sidearm slot (but that may not be a good idea).

Finally, this is not a football-like release. Instead, it is a very standard release and is a good example of two problems that Dr. Mike Marshall talks about: Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce and Pitching Forearm Flyout. Every pitcher’s forearm does this as they turn their shoulders and then release the ball.

Thanks for the interest in my article on the gyroball. It’s not a difficult pitch to teach, but it is like every other pitch - it requires a lot of work to figure out if it will be a “game used” pitch. In a perfect world, the ball has a spin very similar to a rifle bullet or football spiral. From the batter’s perspective, the ball is spinning clockwise. Instead of dropping as significantly as a slider, the pitch breaks away (from a RHB) sharply.

Biggest problems:

  1. Teaching it. It’s only been written up in Japanese and my broad-audience attempts at Rob’s site and in Saving The Pitcher. It’s not difficult - there’s a couple easy teaching points - but done wrong you can hurt the elbow.
  • Someone mentioned trying this pitch without the severe pronation. Go ahead and try that if you like your surgeon.

My teaching points are “throwing the wrist” (as you release the pitch, the wrist should be stiff and if a line run throuth the bone, it would point at the target.) It’s similar, but not the same, as a football throw. Second key is the hard pronation, starting with the fingertips. They impart the rifle spin and start the pronation, so pull down HARD. Finally, it’s a “set and forget pitch.” The ball has to be inside the hand (pointing to the head) at release. Again, similar to but not same as a football throw.

  1. Controlling it. The pitch has a hard break even when thrown wrong. The catcher often has a hard time reading it as well, so it’s not a pitch that can be thrown at the HS level with runners on.

2a. The “backup.” The gyro has a strange tendency to, once in a while, break in to a RHB instead of away. I have no idea why.

  1. Double spin mechanics aren’t significantly different than what we see in the US. Synchronising the spin of the hips and humerus is just something most US coaches haven’t focused on.

I’m sure that some of your pitchers could use the pitch and if interested in more information, don’t hesitate to contact me. My email is available at Baseball Prospectus.

Mr. Carroll:

Thank you for taking the time to assist the pitchers, coaches and dads that read these forums. I was very impressed with, “Saving The Pitcher” and have recommended it to other coaches for it’s common sense approach to developing and protecting pitchers. :smiley:

Mr. Carroll:

I couldn’t locate your email on baseball prosepectus, wondering if you could point me in the right direction.

I’m extremely interested in the Gyroball and think it could be a great pitch, especially since majority of HS players don’t know it exists. I’m only 15 and don’t know if that’s to early, or just fine?

You’ve already simplified the pitch farther than I could have ever deduced (not a surprise lol), and I was hoping I could take the pitch a step farther and start to work on it.

Thanks for all that you have done for basaeball and pitchers!

I just wanted to thank Mr. Will Carroll for commenting on the gyroball and invite him back whenever he has a comment to share. We can all benefit from your knowledge of training pitchers. Thanks!!!

Wow, you’d think that someone added an additional Christmas to the calender.
I’m just a simple lover of baseball, I’ve coached kids since 1986, been associated with a couple of Fla State Babe Ruth Champions, a few District champs, been a religious Cubs fan all of my life. My 2 cents may rub you wrong but I think every one of you is NUTS!!!
Do you think that anything is “New” in baseball? Someone mentions a new pitch and every one of you jumps on the band wagon and starts advocating it…TO KIDS, who A) For the most part have yet to control their body enough to throw strikes with a fast ball much less a breaking pitch B) Are willing to jump on-board with the newest and bestest thing on earth just because it’s endorsed by “Those who know”.
Coach Kreber, you coach at a High School level and scout for the bigs, I find it completely irresponsible that you would gee whiz a pitch that 1 Japanese guy may have mastered (Who has developed elbow and shoulder problems), even though his stats show no uncommon dominance…I suspect that an American throwing the normal variations of pitches of say a Josh Beckett or Greg Maddox would dominate much more than this guy…He’s in Japan remember? Now I take nothing away from the Japanese in their caliber of baseball, but I don’t see anyone running out there and teaching the motion of Nomo and he’s even thrown a no hitter in the bigs.
On this very forum and on Will Carrolls I see kids of 13-16 wanting to step out there and “learn” this thing. I am glad to see one kid from INDIANA be able to throw the thing, woooo maybe he’ll get picked up by someone…just prior to his surgery (Dr Jim Andrews may already have him on the radar).
I have nothing against learning and researching, but you are in a position of responsibility, kids who know no better are going to attempt this and I hope your conscience will bare the weight.
Gimmicks are gimmicks until proven over time, Wakefield ain’t the first knuckleballer and Kim was not the first submariner, in the modern era only Satchel Paige threw gimmick pitches and got away with it.
Steve Ellis you should wipe out this entire section.
If I offend anyone…tough!
Get over it and grow up none of you are Roger Craig and the split finger didn’t get widely taught until many pitchers mastered it at the major league level.
My last thought is that all of you coaches need to put the old ego in neutral and remember you mess with the future of children…There now I feel better.

JD: I can see where your coming from just wanted to put my thoughts to add a little bit.

I’m always curious been diggin up all the baseball ideas and info I could find since young age. I’m just curious to learn more about the pitch, the physics and movement are very interesting to me, and the overall ideas could be possibly applied to other things.

I understand your generlization, however since I’m the only one that is youth asking about it, I’m going to add my note. I realize you say most can’t control their body, definately disagree, I throw high amount of strikes, walk few, usually don’t get a ton of strikeouts but pitch counts are low with low Opponents BA since they are hitting balls when their down in the count and I hit the spot I want. I think the fact that I am even active on the forum should show I’m not exactly your general young pitcher (I’m not advocating ability, more mental). I’ve noticed most on the forums are fathers, where I am a lowly freshman, however my opinions and ideas usually hold their own, and above all my work ethic and desire to learn is definatley present, which is probably the prominant thing in this discussion.

Yes their are lots of unknowns with the pitch, being injury possibility (leaning towards other causes with DM), functionality, ability to master, among other things. I have to say 95mph pitch that falls off as hard as the gyro would be hard as heck to hit, no matter what country. (that’s DM’s speed on it).

To sum it up, players are always looking for an edge, and I think it is worthwhile to atleast learn and research this pitch, without ever picking up a baseball. Yes, I would be ineterested in throwing it, but I want to be further educated in it before chosing either side of the fence. Curveballs and sliders destroy arms every year; I want to learn what the gyro brings to the table.

These are just my opinions/ideas/interpretations, I have high respect for the individuals on the forum as well as their opinion, and look forward to hearing them.

It isn’ a generalization, and your desire to look deeper speaks volumes also making a commitment to learn more is great, but you hit it on the head…you are not typical, I’m not saying kids can’t throw strikes, what I’m saying is that the high school years are those years in which you have to work on fundementals in order to move to the next level, that is not a guess on my part it is a proven thing. To introduce through an “expert” forum the idea that any kid should attempt to largely change the mechanics of pitching, is not in the best interests of those young pitchers. We know all folks interested in playing the game at it’s highest levels want every advantage they can possibly have, but then again you don’t see people writing books on the tactics of Gaylord Perry, you have to be ethical. To place yourself out their as an expert and then advocare an unproven possibly injurious thing to kids in my book is unthinkable. How many kids will see it and attempt it without any coaching or supervision, just because they saw it and it looked neat? If the pros put it through it’s paces and it doesn’t cripple the vast majority that throw it, then responsible people can go out and teach the heck out of it, otherwise we might as well go tell a bunch of 9 year olds to use a 6-12 curve as there main pitch and have em throw 100 innings a year.
Good Luck to you ctrfld! Knockem dead!
My thing says I’m a Little Leaguer so you outrank me!