Throwing across the body


#1

Whenever I hear someone talk about an individual “throwing across their body”, the phrase is almost always followed by a thought that throwing this particular way is harmful to the arm and causes injury.

What exactly is it about throwing across the body causing injury?

Does anyone have a study or cold hard evidence this leads to injury?


#2

An old wives’ tale.
Most sidearm pitchers, especially the ones who use the long-arm delivery, will throw across the body, and I for one have never heard of any problems resulting from this. I was a natural sidearmer who learned to use both the long-arm and the short-arm motions, and I used the crossfire extensively; I never gave it a thought, and I never had any arm problems as a result of doing this—it’s actually a natural motion. So if you throw sidearm, relax. :slight_smile: 8)


#3

If taken to an extreme then it could certainly lead to an injury but I think most pitchers who throw across their body do so only slightly. To me, the biggest concern is blocking off hip rotation such that you fail to maximize hip and shoulder separaton.


#4

There are varying degrees of this body posture. In fact, some are deliberate and functional, thus supporting a particular influence on a ball after release. Take special note to my selection of words - deliberate and functional. Hence there are reasons here that signify practice and perfection because of something deliberate, not causal or due to happenstance.

Then there are those body postures (moving the pitching arm across the body) that are early signs of fatigue, a momentary strain, proposition problems with a pitching surface - like mound conditions, etc. Also, you’ll find a pitcher, now and then, will simply “howitzer” a pitch with all his/her might, with very little follow though in a upright pose, thus giving the same “across the body motion”. .

In any event, this is a very good question. Not only is it topical to all pitchers, regardless of their style and pitch inventory - but, it also plays heavily on those coming off injuries, either from the post season of the prior year, or from off-season sports like football, basketball and soccer.

If you remember, Chew, I sent you a publication that I made for Rookies that made some reference to this question, but in a slightly different way. On page 31 (pictured below) you’ll see a pitcher with his delivery motion “horseshoed” at the shoulders. This finish body posture is uniquely common to those pitchers that have issues - like I described above. But, more importantly, pitchers that display this constant upper body motion that’s abnormal to their usual style, can show signs or nursing an injury - either prior to his/her appearance or during. THIS is the time to step in and start asking, “what’s up?”

The human body has a unique way of dealing with itself when confronted with an injury. Usually, the body as an unsolicited response to demand loads will actually shift those loads elsewhere. For example, let’s assume that you’re scheduled to pitch today, but last night you didn’t sleep well. You woke up and your left shoulder was stiff and not feeling like it should. Add to that, no matter how long you stand under a hot shower, get a rubdown, rotate your shoulders with the trainer, it still doesn’t feel the way it should. Your bullpen duty is a labor, forcing what you know should be your exchange of shoulders, during your “prep” and delivery - but still, the right feel is still not there 100%. Thus your glove side shoulder, being stiff, will actually be supported by more “feeling” from the right-lower side of your torso and stride leg. To the casual eye, there’s nothing to wright home about - but, a bullpen coach will have more to say about that.

As a bullpen coach - without a single word said, her/she will notice and take note. And let’s say that he/she notes that you’re about 85% for “go” and that’s OK. So, let’s say that “85%” is good for your pitch inventory and the days rest that you’ve had, so on and so forth…

But, your projected duration is expected to be only three innings at best - He/she also takes note of that and passes that on to the bench via a discreet squawk box call or note passed down with a runner.

So, as soon as the pitching coach in the dugout see’s you going to a cross body motion, repeatedly, and you’re not showing signs of being on top of your game - health wise and pitch quality wise, out you come. Then, you’re looked at by the trainers and we talk. So although going across your body isn’t a big deal for you - this might not be the case for some other pitcher in your rotation. Depends.

Good question. Go to page 31 of your book and review the generalizations that I made there. In your case, it’s important. When your glove shoulder does not rotate all the way back - allowing the pitching shoulder to complete its final part of the pitching cycle, you’ll be in line for some serious shoulder strain and lower back pain. Your delivery style with your slider can promote stress in the upper portion of your pitching arm, as well, if you show this body style to much.

Coach B


#5

[quote=“chew1109”]What exactly is it about throwing across the body causing injury?

Does anyone have a study or cold hard evidence this leads to injury?[/quote]

I can address these questions with answers rather than guesses. In Correlation of Throwing Mechanics With Elbow Valgus Load in Adult Baseball Pitchers by Aguinaldo et al., they noted:

[quote]-”Fourteen pitchers displayed a sidearm delivery and had significantly higher elbow valgus torques than did those with an overhand arm slot position.”
-”Sidearm pitchers appeared to be more susceptible than overhand pitchers to higher elbow valgus torque.”[/quote]

Additionally, in the actual article:

[quote]These findings indicated that pitchers
who displayed a sidearm delivery exhibited elbow valgus
torques significantly higher than those of pitchers who
threw with the more common 3/4, or overhand, slot position,
thereby corroborating previous suggestions that valgus
forces at the elbow would be least at more vertical slot
positions.[/quote]

This article is freely available here:

http://sdchp.com/AJSM_2009.pdf

I hope this helps answer some of your questions.


#6

On a mature pitcher, if I had no accuracy issues I wouldn’t mess around with it too much. On a young pitcher because I believe the answer to command is flowing the body to target in the most efficient direct method possible, I would see if I couldn’t possibly adjust to a more direct presentation.
Throwing across the body means you are making the body change direction to deliver…as in (We will use a righty) stride foot lands toward the right hand batters box, then in order to hit your spot you have to redirect your body and momentum towards the location you desire…which if you are working outside could be quite considerable…this is (imo) not efficient as a means of consistent accuracy…now that doesn’t mean that it cannot be overcome…Randy Johnson Randy Johnson Randy Johnson…so like I said, a mature pitcher who has no accuracy issues has named his own poison and if it works for him/her ( :smiley: Zita) amen…but for purposes of development of a younger kid, I’d attempt what I consider the most efficient delivery path.


#7

Throwing across your body and throwing side arm are two different things. Throwing sidearm is associated with the arm angle at which you deliver the ball, over the top, 3/4, side arm, submarine, etc. Throwing across your body is generally not a good thing. When you do this, it is usually because you are closing your self off with your landing foot. If your are closed off, your body will rotate from side to side as appose to moving forward which is what you want. If you step across your body, there is a good chance you will throw across your body and can cause you to lose velocity and even injure yourself. Even guys who throw side arm aren’t necessarily throwing ‘across’ their body, they are still keeping everything in line but just have a slightly lower arm angle than most traditional pitchers.


#8

What is meant by throwing across your body?
I haven’t heard that term before.


#9

[quote=“CardsWin”]What is meant by throwing across your body?
I haven’t heard that term before.[/quote]

For a right hand pitcher, it’s when you step toward the third base dugout and throw toward home. The lower body goes one direction while the upper body goes the other. The arm action is sort of like 2 to 8 or even 3 to 9 on a clock. So your throwing arm finishes at your hip or higher rather than by the opposite knee.


#10

Mr. Ellis-
Thanks for answering my question on throwing across your body.
I’ve learned so much just from reading threads on this site.


#11

[quote=“jdfromfla”]On a mature pitcher, if I had no accuracy issues I wouldn’t mess around with it too much. On a young pitcher because I believe the answer to command is flowing the body to target in the most efficient direct method possible, I would see if I couldn’t possibly adjust to a more direct presentation.
Throwing across the body means you are making the body change direction to deliver…as in (We will use a righty) stride foot lands toward the right hand batters box, then in order to hit your spot you have to redirect your body and momentum towards the location you desire…which if you are working outside could be quite considerable…this is (imo) not efficient as a means of consistent accuracy…now that doesn’t mean that it cannot be overcome…Randy Johnson Randy Johnson Randy Johnson…so like I said, a mature pitcher who has no accuracy issues has named his own poison and if it works for him/her ( :smiley: Zita) amen…but for purposes of development of a younger kid, I’d attempt what I consider the most efficient delivery path.[/quote]

I agree big cat. I like to think of it as getting all your energy going towards the target.