Understanding Equal and Opposite | tom house/npa

So I just found out I have tendinitis in my shoulder, and I think its because I’ve been messing w/ my mechanics over the off season and into the first weeks of practice. Now I changed my mechanics because I just wasn’t throwing very hard and I wanted to try some of the things Chris O’Leary talked about. Now, I’m not saying what Chris says isn’t true, but I still found myself rushing because I screwed up my timing trying to get the hip/shoulder separation thing. I’d like to hear more about what Tom House says, but there’s little information provided freely on the web. I’ve heard alot about him, having spent time on boards such as this one, but I’ve never really read into what he says (plus, it is so ****ing complicated). Same goes for NPA, but it sounds like there is some relation to NPA and House.

Below is the only clip I have on a mound, and it is how I used to throw – pain free, but not the best.

So mainly, I would very much appreciate it if someone broke down some of the things House/NPA preach (such as arm action, equal and oppo, glove side action, and overall mechanics). I am so frustrated right now mainly because I can’t throw, and secondly because I forgot how I used to throw. :x

That usually costs some money :wink:
The ‘checkpoints’ for delivery according to the npa are:
Balance & Posture (maintain throughout delivery)
lift and thrust
stride and momentum
equal and opposite
hip shoulder separation
swivel and stabilize
stack and track
release and follow through

Just throw short a lot with someone 60-90 feet. a lot

I found this on another board, but once you start doing all of this, it again seems like a “cookie-cutter” mold. I will keep this stuff in mind, but if there’s more to be added, please do so.

[quote]1. Balance and posture (head over belly button, between the balls of the feet, in athletic position. Spine to hip angle that stablizes pitchers head throughout the delivery.

  1. Stride and Momentum. Stride straight towards home plate. Higher leg lift = more momentum. Posture MUST be maintained. Lead with your butt and get your butt moving home as fast as possible. (See Orel Hershiser.)

  2. Opposite and equal arms. Mirror imaging of the glove arm and throwing arm. (Can be reverse mirror, e.g., one arm bent down at elbow while other is bent up–the relative angles should be about the same.)

  3. Separation and delayed shoulder rotation. Separate front hip and back shoulder ( many MLB photos show this, e.g., at foot plant, the hips are open/ing and the shoulders are still closed).

  4. Stack and track. As shoulders rotate around the spine, torso stays online and continues towards the plate. Head should stay upright and over the shoulders through release.

  5. Swivel and stabilize. As shoulders start rotating, glove needs to stabilize over the landing foot (between shoulders and belly button). Torso moves to glove, not glove towards torso. Unstable glove causes high-low miss.

  6. Release point and follow-through. If the above is done properly, with good timing and sequencing, the release point and follow through will happen naturally.[/quote]

Hey!

You are right, Tom House writes some veryyyy complicated stuff. But, I really trust what Mr. House has to say about pitching as a whole. My pitching coach recommended I started reading up on him, because he has met him quite a few times and thinks he really knows what he is talking about (not to mention he has a qualifying background, hands down. He’s not the pitching coach at USC for no reason :wink:) I purchased The Pitching Edge and Fit to Pitch and really find them to be great reads and VERY helpful. They are totally worth it, and I recommend you take a look at his books!

Hope I could help
:slight_smile:

For all intents and purposes, the NPA is House’s organization.

Equal and opposite serves two purposes. The first is balance. Keeping the weight of the arms equidistant from the spine aids balance. The second and more important purpose, it timing. Making the glove arm take the time to mirror the throwing arm buys time for the shoulders to stay closed while the hips open. Failure to get the glove arm to equal and opposite will lead usually lead to early rotation.

That’s a very good description of the current House/NPA mechanics model.

As for it being cookie-cutter, that’s debatable. As soon as you idenfity something that all pitchers should do - somthing that you might want to teach, someone will call that “cookie-cutter”. Some things might be very fundamental and would not be considered “cookie-cutter” while other things might be very specific and would be considered “cookie-cutter”.

The NPA model was derived from high speed video analysis of the top pitchers in the game - specifically from those things that the top pitchers had in common. The NPA believes these things do not inhibit those things that are part of personal style and which make pitchers look different from each other.

[quote=“SP1B”]Hey!

You are right, Tom House writes some veryyyy complicated stuff. But, I really trust what Mr. House has to say about pitching as a whole. My pitching coach recommended I started reading up on him, because he has met him quite a few times and thinks he really knows what he is talking about (not to mention he has a qualifying background, hands down. He’s not the pitching coach at USC for no reason :wink:) I purchased The Pitching Edge and Fit to Pitch and really find them to be great reads and VERY helpful. They are totally worth it, and I recommend you take a look at his books!

Hope I could help
:)[/quote]
House’s book, The Art and Science of Pitching, represents his current mechanics model. So if you’re looking to get the most up-to-date House information, this is the book to get.

okay thanks Roger. I was really in a bad mood this morning, but now I’m really anxious to get back out there. The doctor simply said to wait a week with no throwing, and then slowly get back into it next week.

The NPA seems to be more about allowing the body to move as it can instead of making the body to move as someone else says.

Education, not pontification is the concept that attracts me as logical. I strongly respect that.

If you only have to shut down for one week, you must not be in very bad shape. The tough part will be forcing yourself to start back up slowly. My recommendation is to come up with a plan. Knowing what your supposed to be doing will help you stick to it.

BTW, if you have any questions about the items in the NPA mechanics model, just ask.

Good luck.

[quote=“Roger”]
If you only have to shut down for one week, you must not be in very bad shape. The tough part will be forcing yourself to start back up slowly. My recommendation is to come up with a plan. Knowing what your supposed to be doing will help you stick to it.[/quote]

Well, I have been resting it (not throwing in practice) and icing it some for the past two weeks. I never let it get really bad. The thing that sucks is that we have 8 games in 8 days starting Friday and I really want to pitch, instead of just playing 1st base like I probably will have to do.

Anyway, I do have a question about equal and opposite. I think I can better explain my question using the clip below of Randy Johnson:

I see his hands break equally…and oppositely, but all seems to happen before his foot lands. Is it right when his foot lands that the picture below takes place?

And also, is the whole point of equal and opposite to balance the weight on each side (if arms = 7% of body weight, then you want 3.5% on each side)? So are you really trying to mirror the throwing arm, or just match it so to speak?

[quote=“ltdan”][quote=“Roger”]
If you only have to shut down for one week, you must not be in very bad shape. The tough part will be forcing yourself to start back up slowly. My recommendation is to come up with a plan. Knowing what your supposed to be doing will help you stick to it.[/quote]

Well, I have been resting it (not throwing in practice) and icing it some for the past two weeks. I never let it get really bad. The thing that stinks is that we have 8 games in 8 days starting Friday and I really want to pitch, instead of just playing 1st base like I probably will have to do. [/quote]
Like I said, forcing yourself to be patient will be the hard part.

[quote]Anyway, I do have a question about equal and opposite. I think I can better explain my question using the clip below of Randy Johnson:

I see his hands break equally…and oppositely, but all seems to happen before his foot lands. Is it right when his foot lands that the picture below takes place?[/quote]

Equal and opposite doesn’t have anything to do with hand break. Rather, it deals with arm positioning at front foot plant. So, yes, the picture below showing an equal and opposite arm position is at (or near - can’t see the feet) foot plant.

[quote]

And also, is the whole point of equal and opposite to balance the weight on each side (if arms = 7% of body weight, then you want 3.5% on each side)? So are you really trying to mirror the throwing arm, or just match it so to speak?[/quote]
Balance is only one aspect of equal and opposite. And, in my opinion, it’s the least important aspect. The other, more important, aspect of equal and opposite is that of timing. If you fail to get to equal and opposite at foot plant, you will likely have timing issues. The most common things that I see are either the glove arm never achieves equal and opposite or it does so before foot plant. Both of these usually result in early rotation. Forcing the glove arm to take the time to get into equal and opposite buys time for the shoulders to stay closed long enough for the hips to fully rotate and that lets you get maximum benefit from hip and shoulder separation.

Equal and opposite pretty much means equal angles at the elbows and wrists but nothing more. The arm positioning doesn’t need to be held for an artifically long period of time. In fact, the position is often achieved momentarily in passing- there is no pause at that position. If you find that you need to pause there until your front foot plants, chances are you’re not moving forward soon enough and/or fast enough.

Itdan,
your video looks pretty good …

May I suggest the following:

as you turn sideways with your leg lift - before you start your foward stride, raise your glove arm elbow up to at least arm pit level and point it towards the right side of he catcher (your right).
your shoulders and both elbows should be on a slight angle … with the glove elbow high (arm pit level) and the pitching arm’s elbow down at rib cage level. … all of this just before you break with your hands.
when you break with your hands and start to stride … let your glove elbow lead the way
staying at arm pit height, your glove stretches out … just before the stride foot’s plant and your chest moves towards the glove.
finish off with your delivery .

also, your foot on the leg lift has its toe pointing up, try pointing your toe down … it helps you “glide” better when stretching out your stride foot and it gives you a better posture when landing.

Just make sure your medical needs are addressed completely b-4 trying these suggestions.

When you get a chance, post pack and let me know how this worked for you.
Coach B.

Okay, Roger and C.Baker, that helps a lot. Now I have a question for Coach Baker–

The question is about the “glove stretching out”, kind of a minor question I guess. Since I know they’re both under the NPA’s “advisory board”, I thought I’d use Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson to illustrate my question. Below, Randy Johnson has his glove stretched out vertically toward the target, and his chest moves into the position of the glove. However, Nolan Ryan never has his glove pointed toward home, but instead is in a horizontal position which slides across his twisting torso.

So in relation to your advice, do you want me to get my glove pointed home, or just have the elbow point to the target like Nolan Ryan does?

EDIT: This post was unnecessary.

Actually, your video looks almost exactly to O’leary’s standards. good separation, great timing, little hyperabduction.

He personally told me in an email that I was not getting the hips going home fast enough, was leaving my foot behind on the rubber, and the hip/shoulder separation was not what it should be. All of these things I agree with. Yet, when I try to fix these things, it messes up my timing (which led to my rushing, which I think led to my shoulder problem [but I WAS throwing too much too soon in the season]).

I think O’leary’s “standards” are actually just him saying “add this to what NPA says”, considering I think Chris agrees with what they have to say.

One of the problems with using “other” people to compare THEIR and YOUR performace, is … each and every one of you/them are different. And although Ryan and Johnson may act and perform identical moves … a closer look-see will point out minor details that … when added together for each pitcher … gives that pitcher, and you a truely different FEEL to your performances.

Johnson for example has a glove arm discipline that drives me up a wall. It (glove arm) after the hands break, swings down in front of him like a back yard swing set … and his delivery is more of a whip’g action than anything else … but it works for him.

Ryan on the other hand is built differently… physique wise, thus his upper body posture, gove arm discipline and delivery is like night and day from Johnson’s.

Now I’m not going to gt into the dynamics of timing muscle - bone- hips - and when Saturn alines itself with Mars… there’s enough of that going around. But for you, your body posture suggests to me that you’ve had to cope with playground surface conditions and a host of other environmental factors that well beyond simple “mechanics issues”. So, it would be safe to say that … based on what I saw in your video post, you have the makings of an excellent pitcher … even better as you get older and stronger. The suggestions that I offered earlier were to compliment that strength that you’ll be bringing to the mound … and the safety issues of letting your body deal with demands of using that strenght.

Again, Johnson and Ryan are no doubt great performers … they did that by “feeling” their own grove and working with it. You too will fit into your own “grove”. So, keep that glove arm elbow up … and keep it up at arm pit level … something like Ryan’s … but for you with less bending of the top portion of your torso. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if your strike percentage increased dramatically.

Try these suggestions … in addition to others posted here and get back to us.

Coach B.

[quote=“ltdan”]Below, Randy Johnson has his glove stretched out vertically toward the target, and his chest moves into the position of the glove.[/quote]Randy doesn’t quite stretch it out toward the target as much as he “sweeps” it across in front of him. The still you showed doesn’t tell the whole story as much as the video does. Watch where the glove goes. It goes much past pointing toward the target and “settles” by his side. I suggest that it’s more of a stabilizing element at his side than it is a bringing the glove to wherever the glove might have been for a particular nanosecond.