White Sox pitching coach talks about staying closed

Stay closed at landing and always throw back to front?

Your toughts?

One thing that always bothers me, should pitchers be explosive just before the foot plant or after it?

Who is this guy? I’ve never heard of him. But IMHO he’s too up and down. Pitching is more of a side to side movement, especially during the phase he’s talking about – the explosive expansion away from the rubber (long stride out) to make a pitch.

Yeah I don’t know what this guys talking about?

ankle and hips closed at landing? Good luck with that one. 99% of guys can’t keep their hips completely closes at landing. Ankle closed? Maybe if you land with a completely closed foot… hmm… it’s a mystery.

I checked out the video and I agree the part about keeping the ankle closed doesn’t make sense. I also watched a few other videos he’s got on the web. Sounds like a bunch of outdated, bogus, conventional wisdom. Yes he promotes staying back. :reallyconfused: Yes he promotes balance point. :nono: Yes he promotes staying tall. :ughh: Yes he promotes absolutes. :pullinghair:

(Steven, where’s that :puke: emoticon?)

Yeah I do want to vomit after hearing all that outdated stuff.

when you slow it down, everyone goes into rotation before the stride foot hits the ground. your stride foot is slightly closed at landing but not completely. that locks up any rotation and would really stress the knee.

you develop force one of three ways. horizontally in a straight line from the ball of the rear foot to the ball of the front foot toward the plate. rotationally- rotating the hips first and lagging the shoulders behind (separation) to activate the stretch reflex in the large core muscles of the trunk using centrifugal force (very powerful plane). and finally up and down in a predominantly verticle plane pulling down if you throw above the shoulder, and pulling up if you throw below the shoulder by taking the weight and momentum of the upper body toward the plate and transfering the force through the shoulder, elbow hand and the ball (the three weakest links in the chain and how you get velocity off the ball in the change up).

that’s pretty much it. everyone uses these planes to different degrees and you have to find one that is safe and works for you, then repeat it until you develop the feel to throw the ball where you want it to go safely.

also need to read the abstract to doc andrews’ article in the american journal of sports medicine about risk factors in adolescent baseball pitchers. he is the surgeon who does all the tommy john procedures at birmingham sports medicine institute.

he says the primary factors for blowing out are overuse, fatigue and increased pitch velocity. these factors are greater than pitch type, private instruction, strength and conditioning and pitching mechanics. kind of throws some cold water on us guys that think mechanics and strength training is the cure all for injury prevention. i’m going to order the complete article, but the abstract is free and very good.

That’s Don Cooper, White Sox pitching coach. Let’s just remember that being a pitching coach in the bigs is a lot more than just mechanics, and lets be thankful for that after watching these videos.

wow, my bad. looked him up on the white sox web site and he has been with them for some time. to be around that long, you have to do something right.

i think if you asked him using a video clip he’s not making himself clear on keeping the stride foot completely closed when it hits the ground. that has to be an error or something.

there are obviously scouts other than the cub scouts that like him.

You would hope he would know what he’s talking about, but dang, he came off miserably in that video. Just brutal advice. Wonder if Buerhle listens to him… ha

I saw Don Cooper talk that night. It was free for coaches. Over 450 showed up. He has been with the White Sox for 20 years, been their major league pitching coach for five. (that includes their world series year). He is known for having very healthy pitchers. That’s a good reputation to have. Their minor league instructor was there as well.

As for his talk on mechanics. When he says “keep weight back” he emphasizes keeping your head behind your belly button as you move sideways toward the plate. (he used a certain part of the male anatomy, not belly button, but I’m keeping it clean.) You can see Nolan Ryan does this and Sandy Koufax thought that getting your hips in front of your upper body was vital for velocity. So in context of the discussion, “keep your weight back” is not crazy talk.

Balance position:

It’s clear from video that a lot of pitchers get their hips moving early. No disagreement. In the context of the discussion they show the typical balance drill but they don’t have people hold at the top of the leg kick but with the lift leg 6 to 12 inches off the ground to emphasize not falling back towards second or off to either side. Then they have them lift the rest of the way and throw. So he didn’t say anything about getting hips moving early but with the leg that low you could use it to help a kid learn to get the hips going ‘earlier’.

Overall he was very big on directing your momentum to home plate and not “spinning out”. I’ll write more on his closed position but I’m hungry and I’m going out to get some pizza.

Well that stuff makes sense rj35, we just saw a small piece that just came off rotten.

Part 2

Landing closed.

It seems to be bio mechanically true that hips open first pulling shoulders around. I would agree with that. Now in the real world when teaching people one of the most common problems has to be opening up the shoulders too soon. In my limited experience working with kids I have yet to see someone staying closed too long. So as a practical matter,right or wrong, coaches tell people to land closed. I’ve seen them draw their lines and tell kids to stay closed and suddenly the kid is throwing harder and more accurately. Now if you break out video you know his hips are opening before landing. I did hear one coach say he knows the hips open first but when players started thinking about it they would also get shoulders going too soon. So he went back to telling them to land closed and problem solved. (their hips opened first regardless as long as they move off their back foot properly) So what does Don Cooper really believe about the hips? I have no idea but my guess is his teaching experience has taught him that his current “cue” has worked for his players. No reason to get angry.

I’ve seen good golf instructors with no video fix a slice in five minutes. How could it be? Some people have seen so many swings, so many pitchers, their brain knows how it should look. Don’t get me wrong I love video, it’s a great tool but the goal is to turn out good, healthy pitchers not bio-mechanical scientists. Some kids eat up the details and the how’s and why’s and some kids get all that info. and can’t get within 10 feet of the strike zone. So know the kids. Know how they interpret the info. And help them experiment until they find the method that works for them. That’s all.

RJ,

Thanks for the clarifications. Also, good point about adjusting your teaching to the learning style of the kid. That’s very important.

EDIT: In hindsight, applying the point about adjusting your teaching to the audience, I’m thinking that since Coop was talking to other coaches - not pitchers - he should have dropped the “cues” and spelled things out for the coaches. That is unless his talk was specifically about using appropriate cues with different pitchers.

[quote=“RJ35”]Part 2

Landing closed.

It seems to be bio mechanically true that hips open first pulling shoulders around. I would agree with that. Now in the real world when teaching people one of the most common problems has to be opening up the shoulders too soon. In my limited experience working with kids I have yet to see someone staying closed too long. So as a practical matter,right or wrong, coaches tell people to land closed. I’ve seen them draw their lines and tell kids to stay closed and suddenly the kid is throwing harder and more accurately. Now if you break out video you know his hips are opening before landing. I did hear one coach say he knows the hips open first but when players started thinking about it they would also get shoulders going too soon. So he went back to telling them to land closed and problem solved. (their hips opened first regardless as long as they move off their back foot properly) So what does Don Cooper really believe about the hips? I have no idea but my guess is his teaching experience has taught him that his current “cue” has worked for his players. No reason to get angry.

I’ve seen good golf instructors with no video fix a slice in five minutes. How could it be? Some people have seen so many swings, so many pitchers, their brain knows how it should look. Don’t get me wrong I love video, it’s a great tool but the goal is to turn out good, healthy pitchers not bio-mechanical scientists. Some kids eat up the details and the how’s and why’s and some kids get all that info. and can’t get within 10 feet of the strike zone. So know the kids. Know how they interpret the info. And help them experiment until they find the method that works for them. That’s all.[/quote] :applause:

RJ
Excellent post!!

this make sense. telling someone to do something that he knows they cannot do to get the desired results. to us rookies, it sounds like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. to the wise veteran, it works.

lesson learned.

you probably want to listen to someone with a world series ring and major league retirement. i will never rag on someone again on this site. that was bush league.

Great Thread! :clapping: