Dick Mills’ info referent to “science-based” pitching mechanics as opposed to “belief-based” has caused considerable stir for some time now. This past weekend, while attending the ABCA conference in Chicago, one of the presenters - Tom House - revealed that he has changed/altered some of his previous “thinking” relevant to many of the old standards of pitching mechanics. For instance, none of the following are based on science: stand tall and fall, drop and drive, push off the rubber, don’t land on your heel, don’t point your toe toward home plate, break your hands/thumbs at your thigh…and many more. Since a lot of this is what Mills has been saying for years, what are the thoughts of any of you pitching coaches today? I’m not saying I agree with Mills’ ideas, but he has caused me to question much of what I have learned (and taught) over the past 40 years. Having read material by House, John Bagonzi, Bill Thurston, and Joe McFarland (among others) I have learned much, but I’m curious as to whether or not older pitching coaches are in the same dilemna that I am…
those guys are trying to sell a product so they have to differentiate themselves in some manner. they’re salesman.
i like coach ellis’ site and most of my info comes from active college and pro coaches. the ones out in the field actually doing the job. these are the people i study and get information from.
Yes, they are trying to sell a product but that doesn’t mean that they are wrong. Mills isn’t the only one. Bagonzi, Nyman, House, Woolforth, etc. are all doing that. Some of them are doing much study/research in order to pass on something useful. Mills is on a crusade right now because the science he’s been exposed to seems to point in a certain direction. Nyman does the same, as does Mike Marshall. Who’s right? I don’t know but let’s not dismiss what they are all doing just because they are selling a product. Let’s look at the info they are using to base their conclusions on. For example, Mills is putting a lot of stock into some Dr. Frank Jobes studies which, according to Mills, shows, by EMG monitoring of muscular activity, that there is little to no muscle activity in the shoulder and arm during the acceleration phase of a throw. So, if this is a valid scientific observation, he concludes that there must be some mechanism other than arm strength that is the active ingredient in throwing. Hence, his talk against long toss and/or weight training to build arm strength in attempts to increase velocity. If the science he’s referring to supports the idea that there is little or no muscle activity, then that does have some bearing on how we should look at generating velo.
He just made his new book available to his customers which supposedly lays it all out. I don’t know if it will stand up to scientific scrutiny with respect to the science observed and the conclusions drawn from it. We’ll see.
i dont disagree that these guys have useful information. ive used some dick mills stuff and some tom house stuff. good stuff in my opinion.
my only comment is dont dismiss something because they say its so. they are marketing products and to do this they have to differentiate themsleves from each other in some areas. i personally put more trust in the guys actually coaching in a team setting. that in no means says mills, house, etc. are wrong. like i said ive got alot of their material and use some of it. but i spend more time studying the pitching coaches in the college and pro game.
Baseball’s funny in some ways. When it comes to mechanics and training methods, nobody agrees. Are the college and pro guys up on the latest “scientific” info? Maybe. I hope so. So, what does one do? It’s a jungle of opinion and belief out there. Mills is saying he’s been exposed to the science that the others haven’t. Nyman is saying his engineering and physics background places him better to know the “science”. Oh, decisions, decisions. :roll: Who’s right? Dunno. I guess that’s what makes this so much fun.
While I agree with most of what you said, I do think that the college and pro instructors are up on the latest scientific technology. I don’t think they can afford NOT to be since there’s always going to be someone waiting in the wings to replace them should they not perform to satisfaction. Additionally, I believe the majority of the top instructors are in basic agreement with basic mechanics. They may present their views in different words, have slight differences in their techniques, but the majority of the instruction is the same.
What angers me, though, is being told that the methods I’ve been using (and have for years) may have injured the pitchers I’ve worked with and/or that I’ve been wasting that pitcher’s time and effort - and in the instances when I’ve been paid for that instruction - money. When I read the comments made by Mills (via his blog) contained within the numerous articles that he has written, I would very much like to see his method of instruction (via his DVDs), learn this new “science-based” method of instruction, but I can’t afford them ($394.00 for the total package). It’s at this point that I don’t just get angry, I get livid.
I understand that an extremely knowledgeable clinician (which he is said to be) should be paid appropriately for his “services”, but, to me, when the “money” appears to have become more important than the “message” there’s something wrong! If it’s so important to get the “new” message/education out there, then it should be done as quickly and as affordably as possible.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m as interested in making a buck as the next guy, but NOT if it’s going to result in making it more difficult for unknowing/uneducated “belief-based” coaches to get that material because my product is so costly. I’d rather that my profit came from the sale of many to many, not few.
I don’t know Dick Mills personally, but if his intent is to get more coaches to see his side, understand his teaching, and accept his method of instruction, I truly believe he’s going about it the wrong way. I realize that I may be “old-school” in placing the “message” before the “money”, but with the masses he has the potential to influence…that’s not just unfortunate, that’s sad.
I’ve followed his thoughts a couple years now and he’s definitely changed. He started with nutrition and exercise as main ingredients along with long toss. When I talked with him a year ago he felt maturation and body type although uncontrollable were the main ingredients to velocity given that basic quality mechanics were there already. What I would like to know is whether the injury rate today for pitcher’s is higher or lower than years past given all the knowledge and training we have today?
“maturation and body type although uncontrollable were the main ingredients to velocity”
I get so annoyed with these marketing schemes professing if your 14 yr old son spends 6 months on his program , his velocity will jump 5 mph . In many cases , if that same kid played soccer ( geez I hate that sport ) in the fall , hoops in the winter … and began spring training for baseball in january … he’d also gain velocity . I have found the info here on Steve’s site by far the most sensible , I could be very naive here but I truly think he is concerned first and foremost with individual development and not his own agenda ( ie, cha-ching !! ) .
[quote=“skwezeplay”]I understand that an extremely knowledgeable clinician … should be paid appropriately for his “services”, but, to me, when the “money” appears to have become more important than the “message” there’s something wrong![/quote]I don’t have a problem with the guy doing this as a business venture. That’s capitalism, I guess. My frustration isn’t with him or Nyman or Woolforth. It’s with how each claims “special” knowledge of science that nobody else has seen or figured out. The other guy is always wrong and you’ll waste your time if you go there. Mills’ argument is interesting and compelling, IF he’s interpreted the science correctly. It would have implications on training methods. Reference the Jobes study that supposedly showed that there is little or no muscular contractile activity in the arm and shoulder during the acceleration phase. If this is true, then maybe Mills has a point about the futility of looking at increasing arm muscular strength as a way to gain velo. IF he’s correct. He also claims that the Coup de Renne studies regarding overload and underload have serious scientific method flaws and are therefore not reliable as “science”. Again, I don’t know if he’s right. Very compelling arguments though. Will there ever be a day when his conclusions are corroborated or refuted, scientifically. Dunno.
And now for some “belief” of my own. Having spent a lot of time on Mills’ forums, Nyman’s (pitching-mechanics.org) and others, I “beleve” that Nyman’s site is the best I’ve seen for it’s ability to analyze MLB pitchers’ mechanics and describe what’s really going on there. Taking video of Clemens or Nolan Ryan and having discussion threads happen has opened my eyes to some significant mechanics issues (horizontal W arm action, hips opening into landing, etc.).
Just my BELIEFS.
Update on the pitching rebel…
For those of you who may be interested, Dick Mill’s latest book - “The Science and Art of Baseball Pitching” (not to be confused with Tom House’s book “The Art and Science of Pitching”) will be out the week of February 13th.
It is 608 pages long with 500 references (13 pages just for the Table of Contents) and will sell for $97 (plus $6.95 for shipping). If you have already purchased his DVD program the book will be available to you for $67.
As Steven Ellis has commented, even though Mills has caused a considerable stir with his science-based info on pitching, his studies/conclusions still merit continuing review and discussion. However, considering that most publications on pitching are in the $20-$25 range, I just wish - even with its 600 plus pages - that it wasn’t so pricey.
on the note of the book I’m probably gonna wait a little while to get it and maybe pickup a discounted or used copy on half.com or ebay (get most my books from these these two combined.
I feel like I’ve made the changes I needed, and with tryouts in 2 weeks for me, it’s something that can wait for the immediate time.
I definately plan to pick up the title if I can get a decent price on it, have to see what some writeups say I guess.
Dick Mills unlike most pitching instructors understood the difference between throwing a ball upward as opposed to downward as in the pitching motion.
Concerning your passage: "For instance, none of the following are based on science: stand tall and fall, drop and drive, push off the rubber, don’t land on your heel, don’t point your toe toward home plate, break your hands/thumbs at your thigh…and many more."
There is science to be found (in this case physics in connection with human biomechanics) in some of these pitching assertions. The disconnect is where lack of physics know-how meets pitching know-how. That’s what I do in the Physics of Sports find the connections that make sense with the science and the art or practice of throwing and swinging stuff: balls, bats, rackets and clubs.
Unfortunately his ultimate experiment in understanding Kinesiological science all fell apart when his own son destroyed his Elbow using those same actual techniques that all else still use today! Sad.
My interest is in the Physics of Sports and I like the physics I see, for example, in the pitching delivery of Steve “Dalko” Dalkowski (1939 - 2020) the fabled fire-baller who threw 110 mph: New Britain, CT: Home of the World's Fastest Fastball
Sounds unbelievable, but a man that baseball writers have called the Bigfoot of Baseball, White Lightning and the Paul Bunyan of Baseball was only 5’ 10’’ and 175 lbs.
In the next section, I include links to my research into pitching mechanics - that I believe offer good advice for slowing the rash of throwing injuries in baseball.
(1) Power-Pronation (supinate and then pronate). Also useful for a tennis serve:
(2) Pole-vault Pitching: