The O'Leary Theory

the result of that was a compression fracture of the elbow (Line drive off of the elbow).
Then there was the shoulder injury from a collision with Marcus Giles, an achilles tendon injury, a strained shoulder and subsequent tendonitis, and a strained oblique (incurred during batting practice).

These are Mark Priors actual injuries

Before anyone gets on me about Mark Prior’s having supposedly perfect pitching mechanics, let me explain something. The person who said that Mark Prior had perfect pitching mechanics is a guy named Tom House. Tom House also happened to be Mark Prior’s pitching coach and designed Mark Prior’s pitching mechanics. As a result, Tom House shouldn’t be considered an impartial, objective observer and his pronouncements about Mark Prior need to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

“The result is that Mark Prior’s PAS elbow will end up much higher than is safe. That will put him in a position to damage both his elbow and his shoulder.”

The 2nd quote came via Chris’ website as well as the 3rd. I would like for Chris to address this disparity between Priors actual injuries and the supposition he portrays as fact within his essay…as he’s not really ever had injury (Defined as dl time directly attributed to pitching motion injury…no impingement as Chris declared was immenent…no rotor cuff destruction…) For the record I don’t think Mark Prior is perfect…Tom House I don’t believe was his pitching coach at USC (Though I could be wrong) where these mechanics solidified and while on the Cubs he worked under Larry Rothschild…so other than attempting to make House look bad…what basis in fact do you have for your accusations and suppositions Chris?

I also have no ax to grind on Chris, his spirit and efforts are admirable, I see a real desire to assist kids and am sure he has. This particular point was brought up on the elbow height thread and I simply followed the link one of our posters listed on a mechanics thread and saw this tonight on Chris’ web site. I believe it needs be addressed and corrected for the record and that is all.

Good points about Prior’s injuries. It’s easy to get caught up in O’learys theories which I will admit I do believe to be sound. In fact I do believe that he’s on to something but on the same page he really doesn’t have much scientific evidence or data to back himself up. I think the one thing that is obvious regarding arm action is that scapular loading in some fashion is a necessary component of the delivery. The evidence that does back his claim is the clean medical records of the pitchers like Maddux, Clemens, and Johnson that he uses as models. So yes I support O’Leary, but I can understand people’s skepticism.

Any time you try to apply a universal maxim to the human body there is going to be problems. Due to the different experiences that all of us have, our physical attributes are going to be markedly different from others, and any one of these adaptations can lead to injury, muscle imbalance, etc. For example, if you have a young pitcher that spent several years as a boxer, would his shoulder condition be different than one who had played only baseball? Or more subtle differences, such as muscle imbalance, or flexibility issues in certain joints, can cause problems throughout the kinetic chain (see Pete Egoscue’s work in rehabilitation).

See, that is the problem when trying to find an overarching solution. You neglect the personal differences that exist between each athlete and start treating them all the same. “If all of you throw like this, there wont be any arm injuries.” Thoughts like that just do not apply to a system as complex and varied as the human body. You can take two athletes who are training to do the same thing (pitching, running, basketweaving, etc.) and their training needs might be completely different. If you try to apply a cookie cutter approach, telling everyone to do the same thing, you’ll fail every time.

What is the source of this quote? If you Google around, you can find multiple accounts of Mark Prior’s injuries, and they differ from the one above.

Also, are you implying that Mark Prior has suffered no injuries related to his mechanics?

Please explain why you think any of this is inaccurate.

Also, I bring it up because people tend to bring up the quote that Mark Prior had perfect mechanics without understanding the true nature of the quote.

Exactly what disparity are you referring to?

Yes, there are disparities between what I said and your quote, but there are no disparities between what I said and the overall body of evidence.

This is simply wrong.

I’m not trying to make House look bad.

What I’m trying to do is make it clear that Mark Prior’s mechanics are very different than those of great pitchers like Greg Maddux, that those mechanics may be responsible for Prior’s problems, and that people should be copying Maddux and not Prior.

Again, I’m not pushing Mike Marshall’s mechanics. Rather, I think that young pitchers should be encouraged to copy…

  • Greg Maddux
  • Tom Glavine
  • Roger Clemens

I think it’s irresponsible for people to push the mechanics of the latest flavor of the month, be it Mark Prior or whomever.

While there are differences between people (e.g. acromial clearance), at the end of the day people are far more similar than they are different.

While there are differences between people (e.g. acromial clearance), at the end of the day people are far more similar than they are different.[/quote]
…which is why Clemens, Glavine, and Maddux have almost identical mechanics, right?

Give me a break. Each has different mechanics due to different physical attributes. Clemens is 6’4, 240. Maddux is 6 foot, 180 pounds. Velocity difference is 10 miles per hour. Maddux has made his living on pinpoint control and changing speeds, Clemens as a power pitcher.

How are they similar, beside the fact that both have had outstanding careers?

Here are some relevant quotes about Mark Prior and Tom House…

“Mark is the real deal,” said Tom House, a longtime major league pitching coach who worked privately with Prior for years. “Of the hard throwers, he’s right up there with the (Nolan) Ryans, (Roger) Clemenses.”

House is a new-age coach, relying on coaching and playing experience and also his Ph.D. in psychology. He has taken all that science–computer, medical, nutritional and psychological–can offer to come up with a plan for developing pitchers.

“Mark has been exposed to, and taken advantage of, the best research available,” House said. “He has been the poster child for what is, objectively, non-traditional baseball knowledge. He’s not going to fail.”

Guaranteed?

“It’s not my opinion,” he said. “With motion analysis, blood chemistry, mental-emotional makeup and nutritional makeup, he matches up statistically, objectively.”

House wasn’t worried. He expected Prior to be competitive immediately and dominant later with experience.

House films pitchers at 1,000 frames a second, then downloads into his computer. That way, he can slow down a pitcher’s motion and find exactly where any non-productive movements might be. Of 600 pitchers in House’s computer, he said, Prior has the best mechanics after Ryan, Clemens, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

His mental makeup, nutritional balance, everything else? Off the charts.

But how reliable is House? Is he a pitching guru or a wacko? “Both,” said one of his ex-players, who asked not to be identified.

House was OK with that description. And he believes Prior will be his final validation.

“He has all the pieces,” House said. “Nolan Ryan (who worked with House) had some of the pieces. Other guys have had some. Mark is the first to have them all. Objectively, he’s a can’t-miss.”

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCI/is_12_61/ai_93448065

[quote=“kc86”]…which is why Clemens, Glavine, and Maddux have almost identical mechanics, right?

Give me a break. Each has different mechanics due to different physical attributes. Clemens is 6’4, 240. Maddux is 6 foot, 180 pounds. Velocity difference is 10 miles per hour. Maddux has made his living on pinpoint control and changing speeds, Clemens as a power pitcher.

How are they similar, beside the fact that both have had outstanding careers?[/quote]

Their mechanics are very similar, especially when it comes to their arm action and timing, which is what really matters.

Greg Maddux…

Roger Clemens…

In particular, one way that they are common in not making the Inverted W or the Inverted L.

[i]"What is the source of this quote? If you Google around, you can find multiple accounts of Mark Prior’s injuries, and they differ from the one above.

Also, are you implying that Mark Prior has suffered no injuries related to his mechanics?" [/i]

Don’t need a source, lived it. Saw the liner, saw the collision, reports of the achilles were off of the Cubs official website…what more is there to be said. Oblique strain was reported on ESPN and the Cubs official web site don’t need no stinkin internet supposition when you live through it.
And yes am saying just that, unless you consider his inability to dodge the liner a mechanical deficiency. So no Chris he hasn’t…prove he did.

“Please explain why you think any of this is inaccurate”

I did, House wasn’t his coach at USC (From where you produced the video of him pitching and Larry Rothschild was his pitching coach at Chicago, now I’m not saying that House had no input and that he didn’t make the comment about his opinion of his mechanics, but as I pointed out in the thread about arm height, House does have very impressive credentials, does that make him infallable…ha I doubt it, will he ever say a thing like anybodys mechs are perfect again? Well his comment has made many “experts” out of people who weren’t so I guess you better hope he does…

“Yes, there are disparities between what I said and your quote, but there are no disparities between what I said and the overall body of evidence”

Evidence that Marcus Giles was built like a brick poop house or that taking a line drive off of your elbow can mess you up for real? What does that or an achilles injury have to do with mechanics? The Great Greg has had back issues does that mean his mechs are messed up? Again HA! I doubt it…

[i]"jdfromfla wrote:
as he’s not really ever had injury (Defined as dl time directly attributed to pitching motion injury…no impingement as Chris declared was immenent…no rotor cuff destruction…)

This is simply wrong."[/i]

It came off of the same essay, Chris I was quoting you. ok you were slightly…only slightly more vague than saying immenent and didn’t say rotor cuff but shoulder. Please chronical the injuries you say he’s developed attibuted directly to his pitching motion.

“What I’m trying to do is make it clear that Mark Prior’s mechanics are very different than those of great pitchers like Greg Maddux, that those mechanics may be responsible for Prior’s problems, and that people should be copying Maddux and not Prior.”

I’ve actually worked with professionals Chris in the development of high level athletes and they assess pitchers individually, certainly they have similar athletic motions, but each has a unique portion that makes them who they are, KC has it exactly correct, Randy Johnson looks nothing like Glavine and The Great Greg looks nothing like the Rocket, to approach our art as one would an mba bean counter is wrong and proven so…if mimicking someone was the way, than explain Livon Hernandez, El Duque, Contraris, Willis, Marichall, Tiant, yes Gibson, Nomo, Fernando…shall I name more? How bout Satchel Paige? Vida Blue, Dennis Eckersley…heck even Greg wished he was a power pitcher like the Rocket or Ryan…What about Zambrano vs Beckett…two completely different deliveries that are dominating the sport right now. Cookie cutters are for cookies not people…

“I think it’s irresponsible for people to push the mechanics of the latest flavor of the month, be it Mark Prior or whomever.”

And I think it is completely irresponsible to push kids whose bodies may in fact operate differently enough, to change mechanics just to emulate the guys you think they should and it may in fact be detrimental and a setback…should El Duque change to Maddux mechs?
And Mark Prior is old news… I want kids to learn how to pitch, as they may reach their highest potential. Acting like Greg won’t help Josh Beckett be a better pitcher…that is what I mean by intellectually unsupportable.

"He has all the pieces," House said"
And he did dominate the league for a couple of years…immediately, but that don’t meaan you won’t get hit by a bus when you walk out the door…or a liner in the 4th innig or Marcus Giles on an in field grounder.
Greg Maddux is IMO the best pitcher in history, no kidding…he dominated when big lugs were using steroids to crush baseballs…I saw Glen Allen Hill hit one at Wrigley that was the hardest furthest baseball I ever saw…it was still rising when it hit the Apt across the street behind the scoreboard…Bonds, Sosa, McGuire…unreal…then turn around and win more gold gloves than anyone in history…he’s going to have 350+ wins…3100 k’s…I and everyone else that has seen him are blessed and lucky…so much there to copy…how bout his work ethic, the way he studies competition, his dedication, the unique ways he looks for an edge…oh yah I preach Greg Maddux, my son pitches in a very similar way…ground balls, k’s when he wants them, looks for a 3 pitch inning every time he takes the hill, great fielder and he has had exceptional success (Check out my log on the log forum Grateful, Bringingdaheat…the final season), but his mechs are his own and not Gregs (Actually he has the simple motion of a Zambrano).

Well, Chris, did you notice the following things in the Maddux clip?

  1. Pretty long stride length there. I’m guessing in the 95-100% range. :shock: Don’t you recommend a short stride?

  2. I see those shoulders actually starting to turn BEFORE the forearm is vertical. :shock: I thought you said that was dangerous.

  3. I see the elbow at shoulder height as the shoulders are turning and during the extremes of external rotation. The only time the elbow is below the shoulder line is before the forearm gets to vertical (as seen from the catcher’s viewpoint). This is what I find troublesome about your theories. You speak of the elbow being below the shoulder line being the key to eliminating injuries (you may remember when you said that this was “safe”). The most serious external rotation that the pitching motion produces is during the time that the forearm goes from vertical to laid back to horizontal, yet this is when the elbow is actually at or near the shoulder line, even in Maddux!!

Your theory is focusing on the most benign range of motion, that before the forearm gets to vertical, yet the most serious and stressful external rotation (vertical to laid back) is not addressed in your theory.

Believe what you want to believe.

“Believe what you want to believe.”

What is it that you believe? I saw these things…asked you to chronical the things that back up your statements…have I crossed the line or something?
Are you wore out? Argued too much? Do you think I got this off of the NPA website (I’m not a member)…looks like a sort of cynical response for what has been a very I think cordial and productive discussion Chris…

  1. Maddux doesn’t stride this long now.
  2. I don’t want people to stride farther than they need to and still get their hips around.

The significant rotation doesn’t occur until Frame 101, when the forearm is vertical.

The elbow comes up to the level of the shoulders as the shoulders rapidly rotate (due to centrifugal force). However, it starts out below the level of the shoulders and the external rotation occurs as the elbow is below or just at the level of the shoulders.

I have never said otherwise.

In fact, you can see this in the clip and photos of Randy Johnson and Jeff Suppan.

Wrong.

You guys are vicious! I think y’all are gettin a little nit picky talking about Maddux’s arm action and saying that it isn’t consistent with Chris’s theories. Look at any picture of maddux and you’re not going to see the inverted w that Chris talks about being dangerous. That is the basis of his teaching. It becomes very hard to sufficiently define the exact moments at which things should happen because that is all determined by the pitcher’s flexibility, explosiveness, and different triggers in his particular motion. There are however similarities we can draw from different pitchers’ motions and I think Chris does a solid job of that.

[quote=“jdfromfla”]What is it that you believe? I saw these things…asked you to chronical the things that back up your statements…have I crossed the line or something?
Are you wore out? Argued too much? Do you think I got this off of the NPA website (I’m not a member)…looks like a sort of cynical response for what has been a very I think cordial and productive discussion Chris…[/quote]

“Dr. James Andrews performed a debridement of Mark Prior’s right rotator cuff as well as repair of labral and capsular injuries in his right shoulder during season-ending surgery Tuesday.”

Labrum problems (ala Robb Nen and Chris Carpenter) are typically the result of timing problems, which Prior clearly has.

It also makes me sick that in the past House has thrown Prior under the bus by blaming poor conditioning.

“Dr. James Andrews performed a debridement of Mark Prior’s right rotator cuff as well as repair of labral and capsular injuries in his right shoulder during season-ending surgery Tuesday.”

This was the wreck he and Giles had…

Your final statements I understand and won’t quibble with…His speculation no doubt, I don’t think him any less fallable that myself and I got this whole long list of fallabilities :lol: .

As to the vicious thing…Please…DM and Chris have these discussions…DISCUSSIONS ad nausium…nothing vicious here…you want vicious look up the screen name “Chin Music” and see some of the ways he attacked Chris…that was what you see in Webster under vicious…Right Chris?

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]Maddux doesn’t stride this long now.[/quote]…but you use this clip over and over again as an example of good mechanics and ones that allowed him to throw over 90 mph.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]The significant rotation doesn’t occur until Frame 101, when the forearm is vertical.[/quote]Yeah, my point. So now you’re admitting that the external rotation before then is NOT “significant”. You’re all over the place man. We’ve had discussions about this very thing and you responded that this actually was significant.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]The elbow comes up to the level of the shoulders as the shoulders rapidly rotate.[/quote]I’ve been saying this for how long now?

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”] However, it starts out below the level of the shoulders and the external rotation occurs as the elbow is below the level of the shoulders.[/quote]Wrong!! The external rotation STARTS then but the most severe range of it happens with the elbow at or near the shoulder line and your pic with the white line shows absolutely nothing to support your claim. You’re splitting hairs man. You’re hanging onto your theory by your fingernails.

[quote=“throwinched”]Look at any picture of maddux and you’re not going to see the inverted w that Chris talks about being dangerous. That is the basis of his teaching.[/quote]…but what is it about the inverted W that causes it to be so bad? You need to read more of Chris’ “teaching”. There’s more to it than just the inverted W. These are the things we’re debating. Kids on this and other sites are going to his site, reading this stuff and believing that it’s the answer. We just haven’t been convinced yet. So, we discuss. Nothing vicious about that.

[quote=“jdfromfla”]“Dr. James Andrews performed a debridement of Mark Prior’s right rotator cuff as well as repair of labral and capsular injuries in his right shoulder during season-ending surgery Tuesday.”

This was the wreck he and Giles had[/quote]

I don’t buy it.

This collision occurred in 2003. If it was really that bad, the problems would have cropped up sooner than that.

Scott Rolen had a similar collision with Hee Seop Choi, immediately went down (with Labrum problems), and hasn’t been the same since.