Till I Collapse -My Journey to D1 Baseball and Beyond


#721

double post :oops: :oops:


#722

Lefty, what do you believe has helped you with your control? Mechanics, strength or the short box workout in between?

Have you always done that short box in between starts? is it full effort? I assume you do it 2 days before you pitch with a regular bullpen 2 days before that?

Mys son is a freshman at a d3 and is having control issues.

Thanks


#723

Sounds good lanky


#724

[quote=“BillK”]Lefty, what do you believe has helped you with your control? Mechanics, strength or the short box workout in between?

Have you always done that short box in between starts? is it full effort? I assume you do it 2 days before you pitch with a regular bullpen 2 days before that?

Mys son is a freshman at a d3 and is having control issues.

Thanks[/quote]

Bill,

my control has been good all fall since fixing my back hip drive. However, within the fall it has been sharper on days where my mind is clear and I am focused on my routine between pitches. Also, making sure I keep the front side closed and pick up home plate on time with my eyes has been helpful.

So mechanically, my big keys right now are

  1. Back hip drive
  2. Front Side closed

Mentally, my big keys are

  1. Stick to pre-pitch routine
  2. step off mound and use release if 2 spots are missed in a row
  3. ALWAYS stay in attack mentality

Been getting more interest from scouts lately. Lots of letters, questionnaires, etc.

Finished up fall ball today, having a pretty great weekend series where I was named my team’s closer for the 3 games.

I ended up pitching in every game, 3.1 innings total, 1h, 2bb, 5K, 0ER
Was unhittable all weekend, still haven’t had a ball hit hard off of me in roughly 12 innings all fall. Was pumping cheese all weekend, despite having some soreness for games 2 and 3. Definitely sitting at least 90-92, although once again our coach refuses to gun us regularly because he says it poses a distraction.

Final Fall Stats:
11.1IP
0.00 ERA
11K
6H
3BB
0ER
1HBP

WHIP: 0.79
K/9: 8.74

I’m confident if the season started tomorrow I would be ready to face any ACC opponent. That being said, I have a full off-season in front of me to continue refining even more.

I’m going to change my slider grip to make it a firmer, sharper pitch. Right now it’s a 72-75mph slurve that breaks about 2-3 feet, but I have the arm speed to be throwing an 85-87 mph hard slider with maybe 8-12 inches of movement instead.

Beginning a 3-4 week body fat “cut,” hoping to drop from about 217-218ish at 11% to about 210 at 8%. From there we will bulk back up to a leaner 220lbs for the start of the season.

Ben


#725

Sounds like things ate shaping up for you, have a great off season and hopefully everything translates into the regular season.


#726

Thanks Lefty,
what do you mean in yourmental #2 "use release"
is the back hip drive helping you because of the direction of the drive?

I know your a Nyman fan and you may want to check out his stuff over on baseball thinktank, if you havnt already. Its free.

Pretty exciting with the scouts. If your sitting 90-92 I would think your maxing around 94 or 95.


#727

[quote=“BillK”]Thanks Lefty,
what do you mean in yourmental #2 "use release"
is the back hip drive helping you because of the direction of the drive?

I know your a Nyman fan and you may want to check out his stuff over on baseball thinktank, if you havnt already. Its free.

Pretty exciting with the scouts. If your sitting 90-92 I would think your maxing around 94 or 95.[/quote]

  1. A release just means stepping off the mound, taking off your hat, taking a deep breath and using a keyword, focal point or both to help clear your mind and flush the previous pitch from your short term memory. A release resets you for the next pitch and helps you stay present and free of pressure. One of the most crucial skills in order to be an elite pitcher.

  2. Yes, the back hip drives straight at the target while the shoulders stay back and closed. Ride that energy and drive from the hip out as far as possible and the throw just unwinds from there. The back hip drives the entire engine. I didn’t used to believe this because I had never experienced it for myself, but this really is the case for me now. The arm really does sync up and fall right in line with the way the lower half is moving, which is directly at the target if properly executed. My catch play rarely has balls thrown off line now, vs. last year where I was all over the place.

  3. I haven’t checked out Nyman in quite a while. I thought he had disappeared again. The man never believed in me personally being able to overcome subpar high school mechanics anyhow, yet I’ve somehow found a way to do it.

What’s interesting is now that I have relatively high level mechanics, I do have many of the features he talks about in my motion. The difference maker is the “how.” I never got to where I wanted using his backwards chaining method, but through trial and error (and knowledge gained from him among others) I was able to find my own “how” after years of work. For me, segmenting my motion and working on tons of drills didn’t produce optimal results. Rather, practicing my motion as a whole while focusing on my own keys (back hip drive - once I learned how to properly do this and keeping closed) produced better results. All these other extraneous factors fixed themselves (glove side, front leg firming up, follow through, etc.).

Being around high level throwers all the time has done more for me than sticking my head in a smart dude’s website and overanalyzing my mechanics for hours on end.

Also just not limiting myself based on what someone says I can or can’t do. Playing with guys who are just unathletic and weak compared to me, but threw in the 90s showed me that there was no good reason I couldn’t move and coordinate my body in the same way and get the same or better result. Turns out I was right. You aren’t locked in to your mechanics after age 13. The human body is dynamic and malleable. It also wasn’t some crazy long process of overcoming muscle memory and making an awkward change feel natural. Once I simply learned how the back hip drive was supposed to feel it instantly clicked, felt natural and improved all of my pitches. I’m not saying it’s like this for everyone, just that it shows that it can be done.

  1. I don’t know what I’m “maxing” at, because again, our coach doesn’t believe in regularly gunning us. I’m not going to make guesses at what I may or may not have hit, but I will say that I don’t think 90-92 is my ceiling. While I have the arm and body to throw quite a bit harder than that, it’s already a good velocity from my arm slot and delivery, so refining is my goal right now. If I gain 1-2 in the warm weather, great. But I’m more concerned with becoming a pitcher right now, as the velocity is already where it needs to be.

Ben


#728

#729

Lefty, did you pick up your clear the mind, prepitch routine and release anywhere specific? A book or fromyour pitching coach? Sometimes things are going well for my son but after a walk or hitbatsman the wheels may come off.

We never liked Nymans backwards chaing throwing drills either.


#730

[quote=“BillK”]Lefty, did you pick up your clear the mind, prepitch routine and release anywhere specific? A book or fromyour pitching coach? Sometimes things are going well for my son but after a walk or hitbatsman the wheels may come off.

We never liked Nymans backwards chaing throwing drills either.[/quote]

It’s something any college pitching coach worth his salt will constantly harp on. At this level the mental game separates the good players from the great ones. Even the kids throwing 95mph won’t pitch as much as they want to if the wheels fall off like you describe.

The book that we read is called “Heads Up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time”

http://www.ballcharts.com/teams/files/T/temeculabaseball/photos/HEADSUPBASEBALL.pdf

All of that stuff is 100% accurate and is the difference maker for the guys who buy into it and work on the mental game. This stuff will help maximize the ability that is already there. If you can consistently stay cool and collected even when the shit is hitting the fan, then you have mastered the mental game.

Also, I don’t want people to think I’m bashing the backwards chaining drills because I think there is a time and place for them for a lot of guys. For me personally I just found more success with a different approach. There is never one right answer - many paths lead to the top.


#731

I find that things come and go in seasons…at points in the journey things have different meanings and values…in relation to yourself…


#732

Nice stuff lanky


#733

Lefty, Did triple extension increase your velocity and improve your release point? When did you start triple extension? Does the pitching coach at Maryland teach it? My junior HS son is starting the Top Velocity off season program this week. Your thoughts appreciated.
Thoughts and best wishes on your off season training. Have a great senior year.

Regards, Mark


#734

[quote=“vtleaffan”]Lefty, Did triple extension increase your velocity and improve your release point? When did you start triple extension? Does the pitching coach at Maryland teach it? My junior HS son is starting the Top Velocity off season program this week. Your thoughts appreciated.
Thoughts and best wishes on your off season training. Have a great senior year.

Regards, Mark[/quote]

Thanks Mark,

I would say that triple extension is not as much something that is directly taught as something that occurs indirectly as a result of a proper drive (i.e. force vector) from the lower half. I worked on it this summer on my own in addition to some other mechanical tweaks, but I feel like that drive was the huge key that helped everything else fall into place.

I don’t know much about the Top Velocity program itself, but Brent is a smart dude and I definitely agree with a lot of his stuff.

I think the real secret though is the “force vector” concept i.e. driving back hip directly at the target and forming that straight line from heel to knee to hip.

He will talk about triple extension and separation as well, which are certainly features of high level throwing, but in my observation they are more effects of doing the initial part of the delivery right, i.e. force vector/ lower half drive while staying back/closed. If you start off wrong, you can’t compensate for it and still achieve 100% triple extension and excellent separation. Those pieces will largely take care of themselves by an aggressive drive early on in the delivery.

I still refuse to call it a “push” because there is really no active quad involvement. You aren’t straightening your knee and lunging. The back leg stays firm the whole time and the drive comes entirely from the hips (lateral hip + glutes)

I don’t obviously agree with Brent on everything. Would I take a different approach from Brent as far as olympic lifting? Yes, but there are, again, many ways to the top.


#735

Ben
Always enjoy your insights. The big question is when are you going to write your book? :bigthink:


#736

[quote=“Slewbacca”]Ben
Always enjoy your insights. The big question is when are you going to write your book? :bigthink:[/quote]

The story is still being written. :lol:


#737

First day of winter velocity testing. Because we rarely get gunned, I had no expectations going into it. It was 38 degrees outside and I wasn’t feeling particularly fresh.

We moved back into max long toss and closed with pulldown throws. My throws weren’t carrying quite the way they normally do because of a headwind and how cold it was outside.

Once we closed in to 75 feet, we got 4 throws on the gun. Because I do my long toss from my slide-step delivery instead of a crow-hop, I decided to do my first three throws in this way and do my final throw from a crow hop.

I popped a 92 and two 93’s on the gun from the slide-step. This was surprising to me - It was cold, my ball hadn’t been carrying like usual and I was on flat-ground.

My last throw was an awkward crow hop at 94 mph. I could tell I flew open a bit, and my ball sailed about 4 feet to the right of my target as my footwork is pretty rusty and out of sync right now.

After today there is not a doubt in my mind I am capable of throwing 95mph (consistently 91-93mph). If I figure out my footwork situation, 96 or 97 mph is pretty attainable from a crow hop as well.

A bunch of our pitchers were 92-94 from a crow hop, and one was 96-97, but few of them come close to approaching that without the running start. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the velocity came. We’re doing a basic weighted ball holds program this winter, so I’ll keep you guys up to date on that as well.

My flat ground work was out of 16 pitches (2 sets of doubles) for the day.

I threw 13 of 16 for strikes: my change-up was diving and the slider was hard and sharp. I’ll get a velo reading on the slider as soon as I get a chance.

Bodyweight is down to about 214 from 218 or so. Noticeably leaner already. 4 more lbs of fat (2% body fat) to go. Probably at 10% right now.

Ben

We do these types of “holds” with various weighted balls.


#738

Utterly absurd.

Totally ridiculous.

Barely believable… but it happened.

As I alluded to earlier, we are doing a basic weighted ball throwing and arm care program this winter. The creator, Jamie Evans, can be read about here: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130620&content_id=51230920&vkey=news_tor&c_id=tor

One of his assistants / teachers from the area came in to test the entire team’s velocity as a baseline for 2lb, 1lb, 6oz, 5oz, 4oz and 2oz balls.

3 throws were done with each into a net from a crow hop/shuffle start.

The 2 and 1lb ball throws are just absurd, done with balls the size of softballs that encourage total pushing of the ball. It’s ridiculous they actually included these weights in the testing, thrown for max effort. If you’re trying to imagine what this looks like, imagine someone running up with a softball that weighs as much as a baseball bat and kind of catapulting it awkwardly into the ground.

After this ridiculousness, with balls that weigh more than 6 times that of a baseball, we returned to reality with the 2-6oz balls.

Although i don’t typically crow-hop when i throw, I did figure out a footwork that worked for me as long as I kept the shoulders closed.

The 6oz ball felt like a laser out of the hand - our tester didn’t read out the velocities initially, but his eyebrows raised: “how hard do you throw off the mound, son?”

After the next throw: “you should be excited, you’re going to see some really good gains”

I didn’t really know what he meant, but I figured I was throwing reasonably hard. With the 5oz ball I only picked up the intensity, hurling it with a reckless abandon as though I was trying to throw my arm right out of its socket. I moved my feet fast, overemphasized keeping the shoulders closed, and fired my arm as fast as humanly possibly through release point.

Still no visible reaction from him, although I could tell this was significantly harder, on a 55 degree day, than I had thrown the previous tuesday.

The 4oz ball felt impossibly light, and I gave it everything I had.

Finally, the 2oz ball. I kept the same footwork for the first two throws - an aggressive 2 step shuffle.

“103 - come on, you can do better than that. Take a running start this time.”

Encouraged, I took a 15 foot lead-up run into the side shuffle before letting it loose into the net as hard as possible.

“109 - good! Move the feet as fast as you want your arm to move”

These numbers meant nothing to me - it was a 2oz ball after all. I knew that our top arm had already thrown the 2oz ball 110mph and the 5oz ball 98-99mph that day, so I decided to go learn what my 5oz velocity actually was.

5oz
Throw 1: 98
Throw 2: 99
Throw 3: 102

These numbers didn’t register at first. I thought there must have been some sort of mistake. Then I realized I had been throwing the 4oz ball 103-106, and the 2oz ball up to 109 mph. This was the real deal.

Another lefty on our team hit 99, and another righty hit 98mph, but I was the only one to eclipse 100 from this running start.

This was my true max. I now know what my arm is capable of. There’s no reason I can’t be a mid 90s reliever.

Of the others who hit 98 or 99, two of them have hit 95 off the mound and one has hit 96. All of them sit 90-93. There’s no reason I can’t do the same thing…or better.

I realize velocity is only a small piece of the puzzle, but on this occasion, for me, it was a pretty encouraging piece.


#739

Great stuff lanky!

Keep it up


#740

Sounds like you might be moving up the draft boards.