What am I looking at, front shoulder, video


#1

hey guys, can you go to this link:

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/events/draft/y2006/tracker/search.jsp

… and page down to # 28 Daniel Bard, picked by the Red Sox out of NC …

It looks to me like when his front foot plants, his front shoulder has already opened up. Do you agree? It looks to me like he does, and that goes against what Chris always preaches about the Casey Fossum ideal of maximum shoulder/hip seperation.

I bring up this guy Bard’s mechanics because his shoulder/hip seperation looks to be at a similar level to my own. (and I’ve still not been able to upload my own video, but that’s another story).

So, I just want to know if I’m studing this guy Bard’s mechanics properly. Is he opening too soon? Am I seeing this right?


#2

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]hey guys, can you go to this link:

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/events/draft/y2006/tracker/search.jsp

… and page down to # 28 Daniel Bard, picked by the Red Sox out of NC …

It looks to me like when his front foot plants, his front shoulder has already opened up. Do you agree? It looks to me like he does, and that goes against what Chris always preaches about the Casey Fossum ideal of maximum shoulder/hip seperation.

I bring up this guy Bard’s mechanics because his shoulder/hip seperation looks to be at a similar level to my own. (and I’ve still not been able to upload my own video, but that’s another story).

So, I just want to know if I’m studing this guy Bard’s mechanics properly. Is he opening too soon? Am I seeing this right?[/quote]

It’s hard to tell for sure, since I can’t go frame by frame through the video. I definitely don’t see it in the first two pitches. I might see it in the third pitch (fastball).

It’s also harder to see given the action of his GS arm. It starts to pull back a little early. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that his shoulders start rotating early.

However, even if he does open up early, his hips still rotate ahead of his shoulders.


#3

quote]

It’s also harder to see given the action of his GS arm. It starts to pull back a little early. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that his shoulders start rotating early.

However, even if he does open up early, his hips still rotate ahead of his shoulders.[/quote]

regarding the ‘starting to pull back early’ — that’s pretty much what I’m talking about, it’s the pulling the elbow back … but does the elbow pulling out necessarily mean the shoulders have begun rotating?


#4

No.

I will say that I have seen this pattern before and don’t like it. For example, I believe it might be related to Mark Mulder’s problems.


#5

mmm, that last shot is pretty clear … that’s what I do … I can delay my shoulder rotation pretty close to leg plant, but my lead elbow starts drifting to the left of the plane with my left torso before my lead foot hits the dirt …

You think this is a problem with injury? Or with losing power?

What was Mulder sidelined with most recently? I’ll look it up …


#6

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]mmm, that last shot is pretty clear … that’s what I do … I can delay my shoulder rotation pretty close to leg plant, but my lead elbow starts drifting to the left of the plane with my left torso before my lead foot hits the dirt …

You think this is a problem with injury? Or with losing power?

What was Mulder sidelined with most recently? I’ll look it up …[/quote]

My theory is that letting the GS elbow drift open too soon can cause both power and (possibly as a result) injury problems. If the shoulders open up too soon (which in inefficient), then that lost power has to be generated by the rotator cuff, which can cause it to be overloaded.

Mulder has had problems with his rotator cuff.

This photo of Mulder is interesting for a number of reasons (all of which are a bit unusual)…

  1. He is pulling his GS elbow in before his forearm is vertical. This will probably start his shoulders turning early, which will cause his PAS upper arm to externally rotate especially hard.

  2. I don’t like how low Mulder’s PAS elbow is in this photo. I believe that it is bad if a pitcher’s PAS elbow is either too high or too low. I think it’s best if the PAS elbow is just below the level of the shoulders (ala Greg Maddux below)…

Notice that in the photo below, Maddux’s PAS forearm is at basically the same point but his PAS elbow is higher and his GS elbow is not yet bent. IOW, Maddux doesn’t seem to open up his shoulders as early as Mulder does.

One thing that strikes me about the photo below of Mulder is how adducted his PAS upper arm is. Look at how far behind his back his PAS elbow is. Yes, it’s below his shoulders, but it’s still way behind his back.


#7

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]My theory is that letting the GS elbow drift open too soon can cause both power and (possibly as a result) injury problems.

One thing that strikes me about the photo below of Mulder is how adducted his PAS upper arm is. Look at how far behind his back his PAS elbow is. Yes, it’s below his shoulders, but it’s still way behind his back.[/quote]I suggest that people should do some research on “scapula loading” before concluding that, because the elbow is “behind the back”, there is a problem. The humerus is connected to the body via the scapular complex, which includes the shoulder socket. The scapular complex can move quite freely around the rib cage, carrying the humerus with it. Thus, the humerus can be “behind the back”, as shown in the photo(s) but it can also be very “safely” aligned in the glenoid.

Go to setpro.com and see if you can find some discussion about the differences between scapula loading and hyperflexion. Let’s not automatically conclude from such still images that there is a problem. This motion can and does happen without the acromial line changing at all. The shoulder does not necessarily have to open because of the elbow “going behind the back”. There is no “cause and effect” there.

Also, the position of the glove side elbow and it’s adduction doesn’t again “cause” a problem. MLB pitchers throughout the history of the game have had varying lead arm actions with varying degrees of success.

Let’s be very careful to say “this causes that” problem, so don’t do it. As far as injury risk is concerned, all of the mechanical “causes” that we keep hearing about on this board is SPECULATION at best. Injury incidences are so prevalent in this motion, with every kind of mechanics you could discuss (with the possible but dubious exception of Mike Marshall’s) having “caused” the problem.

This is a NASTY activity on the elbow and shoulder. We’re pushing the envelope here and the risk is high. ASMI will tell you that they have absolutely no evidence of any mechanics issue CAUSING injury risk to rise. Their research indicates that it is the volume and frequency of this stressful act that is linked to injury risk, not mechanics.

That being said, it doesn’t mean that mechanics don’t play a role, just that the evidence isn’t there, yet.


#8

First, what I am discussing is my theory of the root cause of Mark Mulder’s problems. That’s why I started out my most recent post with “My theory is that…”.

Second, I think that Paul Nyman’s distinction between scapula loading and hyperflexion is suspect. What he says may be true, but only to a degree.

Having said that, I think that scapular loading isn’t necessarily bad as long as the elbows are below the shoulders.

I believe that there is a huge variation in lead arm actions. However, I also believe that there may (and I mean “may” and not “is”) also be a correlation between certain lead arm actions and an increased risk of injury.


#9

Oh I know it’s all speculation, but speculation is allowed. I’d hate to see a lockdown on speculation.

Chris, interesting if you look at the pick of Maddux in the Dodger uniform, it appears that his left elbow is drifting to the left of his back the instant before his left foot hits the dirt. I have some pics of Pedro doing this as well.

This is what I was getting at originally, and this is what I cought the guy in the video doing. This is what I do as well.

My hope is that you don’t lose much power doing so.


#10

In the interests of intellectual honesty, I’ll admit that if Maddux does something then it’s probably not bad.

I will say that it looks to me like Maddux does it differently than Mulder does at the same point…

Notice how Mulder’s GS elbow is farther behind his back.

Pedro has had rotator cuff problems, so he might do it differently

I’m not sure.

I would say that the closer that you can get to Maddux the better.


#11

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]hey guys, can you go to this link:

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/events/draft/y2006/tracker/search.jsp

… and page down to # 28 Daniel Bard, picked by the Red Sox out of NC …

It looks to me like when his front foot plants, his front shoulder has already opened up. Do you agree? It looks to me like he does, and that goes against what Chris always preaches about the Casey Fossum ideal of maximum shoulder/hip seperation.

I bring up this guy Bard’s mechanics because his shoulder/hip seperation looks to be at a similar level to my own. (and I’ve still not been able to upload my own video, but that’s another story).

So, I just want to know if I’m studing this guy Bard’s mechanics properly. Is he opening too soon? Am I seeing this right?[/quote]

Hard to tell for sure without frame-by-frame viewing and without a side view but I see a couple possibilities. First, I think the pitcher does not get much separation nor delayed shoulder rotation. That may create the appearance of opening up the shoulders early though it doesn’t necessarily mean that.

Second, the glove arm does seem to get pulled back and to the side. This can cause timing problems which result in the shoulders opening early or the pitcher spinning out of his delivery (though this pitcher doesn’t appear to do that).


#12

His glove arm displays no issues to me. I believe we’re splitting hairs with this one. His arm action looks great!! Both sides. I’d like to see him employ a bit more forward momentum with trunk flexion, though.


#13

Roger, you frequently make me scratch my head (that’s a good thing because you make me think)… Here you say:

"I think the pitcher does not get much separation nor delayed shoulder rotation. That may create the appearance of opening up the shoulders early though it doesn’t necessarily mean that. "

So, you’re saying that you can keep the shoulder closed sufficiently even thought you have little seperation or delayed shoulder rotation? Is that what you’re saying? If so, it sounds contradictory, no?

When DM59 says we’re splitting hairs, do you mean we’re putting too much emphasis on the delay in rotation?


#14

Keep asking questions because it’s how we all learn. We all see things differently. We all have different experience, training and knowledge. And, of course, we all have different opinions about what’s important and what isn’t, what works and what doesn’t, etc.

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]Here you say:

"I think the pitcher does not get much separation nor delayed shoulder rotation. That may create the appearance of opening up the shoulders early though it doesn’t necessarily mean that. "

So, you’re saying that you can keep the shoulder closed sufficiently even though you have little seperation or delayed shoulder rotation? Is that what you’re saying? If so, it sounds contradictory, no?[/quote]
I agree it sounds contradictory. Ultimately, we care about where the shoulders are at release. So when we talk about the shoulders opening up early, we’re talking about the shoulders reaching the squared up position prior to release and (probably) rotating beyond being squared up to the target at release. A pitcher who doesn’t get much separation will not have as much delay between when the hips fire and when the shoulders fire. As soon as the hips open, the shoulders will quickly follow. The “stretching the rubberband” effect is diminished for these pitchers. So, to make up for that, it is not uncommon for such pitchers to reverse rotate (i.e. “show their number”) by taking their knee back instead of lifting it up. That, in effect, delays the firing of the hips which, in turn, delays the firing of the shoulders. The pitcher in the video doesn’t do this so his shoulders do come around rather quickly. And I think he accomodates it by getting into foot strike sooner via a shortened stride. Of course, this probably comes at a cost of some velocity.

This is what I was thinking of. Hope it helps explain things. I admit this is a bit of a grey area for me so take it with a grain of salt.


#15

""So when we talk about the shoulders opening up early, we’re talking about the shoulders reaching the squared up position prior to release and (probably) rotating beyond being squared up to the target at release. “”

ahh, so the pitfall of opening the shoulder too early is that at release your glove-side shoulder will be rotated too far back (pointing closer to the direction of first base for a righty), screwing up the timing, and throwing off your control.

It’s funny, you always hear, ‘keep your shoulder closed’ - and for all the thinking I’ve done about pitching, I never really considered why it is they stress this.

In this pic here …

http://espndeportes-att.espn.go.com/2003/photos2005/0216/a_martinez_pedro_ht.jpg

… it’s fair to say that pedro has timed it so that his shoulders are “square” to the plate, correct?


#16

Yep. Early shoulders waste energy being transferred up the kinetic chain and put the arm in a more vulnerable position that puts more stress on the arm.

Balance problems, posture problems, glove pulling, etc. can all mess up the timing. Timing is the bottom line. We need to have proper mechanics so that we get proper timing. Proper timing is what leads to consistent release point, maximum velocity, and healthy arms.

Keep in mind that I tend to speak from a Tom House/NPA perspective which others may disagree with. Accept the parts you agree with and discard the rest.

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]It’s funny, you always hear, ‘keep your shoulder closed’ - and for all the thinking I’ve done about pitching, I never really considered why it is they stress this.

In this pic here …

http://espndeportes-att.espn.go.com/2003/photos2005/0216/a_martinez_pedro_ht.jpg

… it’s fair to say that pedro has timed it so that his shoulders are “square” to the plate, correct?[/quote]
Correct. It does look like Pedro was squared up at release.


#17

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]When DM59 says we’re splitting hairs, do you mean we’re putting too much emphasis on the delay in rotation?[/quote]What I meant by this is that I believe this pitcher isn’t doing any of the things mentioned in this discussion to any significant degree, if even at all. The discussion here is a good one. I just don’t see a problem in this particular pitcher.


#18

I’m glad you don’t see the pitcher Bard as problematic, given as I said he reminds me of me with his front sholder & glove side arm action.