Why keep the front shoulder closed?


#1

I realized today i don’t know why its sound mechanics to keep the glove side shoulder closed — for health reasons, injury prevention, etc.

(im not talking about velocity benfits or control)

im just wondering why and how it physically takes stress off your throwing shoulder when you keep your front shoulder from flying open until your lead leg plants.


#2

Delayed shoulder rotation is part of a kinematic sequence that, when performed with good timing, allows for efficient energy transfer up the kinetic chain. In other words, it allows you to throw hard using your body. To do otherwise breaks the chain leaving you with nothing but arm to throw with.


#3

[quote=“andrew.ra.”]I realized today i don’t know why its sound mechanics to keep the glove side shoulder closed — for health reasons, injury prevention, etc.

(im not talking about velocity benfits or control)

im just wondering why and how it physically takes stress off your throwing shoulder when you keep your front shoulder from flying open until your lead leg plants.[/quote]

About all I can tell you is stand with your feet spread and rotate your hips and allow your front shoulder to come open while your back arm is cocked in a throwing position and tell me if you do or don’t feel a stretch in the front part of your shoulder.

When you come open to early it exposes that group of muscles and puts them under a ton of stress which can eventually lead to serious injury. I say muscle group because I honestly couldn’t tell you what the muscle names are :wink:


#4

There is a function of your body that actually works for you during your pitching cycle - once your leg lift starts to drop and extend forward, and you start to drive forward with your glove side hip, then rotate your hips, holding your shoulder platform (sternum on up) back just a bit.

And here’s how that works:

  • stand as though your stride leg has extended - balancing yourself carefully so you don’t fall. Make sure to point your stride foot in the direction of a catcher that you imagine is your target, while your pivot foot is in its normal position.
    -keep your hips and lower torso (belly) at rest.
    -Now twist your upper body - shoulder platform, back towards your pivot side, and hold it there. Simply let your arms hang down by your side.

Notice the tension and stretch, starting with the entire belly right up to the chest.

Now relax your entire body. Be very mindful of what happens next, without any deliberate or voluntary act on your part. Your entire upper body uncoils and swings around.

THIS NATURAL ACTION OF YOUR BODY’S UNCOILING IS WHAT YOUR TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WITHOUT FORCING IT.

When you use all the features that your body will do naturally, so much of this thing that we call pitching comes about so much easier and since your using the natural functions of the body - the reduction in injuries, sprains and the like are greatly reduced.

Do this help you somewhat?

Coach B.


#5

[quote=“Coach Baker”]

There is a function of your body that actually works for you during your pitching cycle - once your leg lift starts to drop and extend forward, and you start to drive forward with your glove side hip, then rotate your hips, holding your shoulder platform (sternum on up) back just a bit.

And here’s how that works:

  • stand as though your stride leg has extended - balancing yourself carefully so you don’t fall. Make sure to point your stride foot in the direction of a catcher that you imagine is your target, while your pivot foot is in its normal position.
    -keep your hips and lower torso (belly) at rest.
    -Now twist your upper body - shoulder platform, back towards your pivot side, and hold it there. Simply let your arms hang down by your side.

Notice the tension and stretch, starting with the entire belly right up to the chest.

Now relax your entire body. Be very mindful of what happens next, without any deliberate or voluntary act on your part. Your entire upper body uncoils and swings around.

THIS NATURAL ACTION OF YOUR BODY’S UNCOILING IS WHAT YOUR TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WITHOUT FORCING IT.

When you use all the features that your body will do naturally, so much of this thing that we call pitching comes about so much easier and since your using the natural functions of the body - the reduction in injuries, sprains and the like are greatly reduced.

Do this help you somewhat?

Coach B.[/quote]

What are your tips to throw with your body and really have your arm act more like a whip, rather than throw more with your arm?


#6

I’ve heard this expression many times and although there is some visual witness to this, as it seems, I’m not a big fan of expressing such action in that way.

Let me approach your question this way:
A whip has a handle, a length of neck and a tail end - the tail end is the business end of this device and produces the kind of report that gives this item its distinctive characteristics. And if you’ve ever seen a whip in action, the long neck actually bends a bit, in an arch, as the handle brings the entire length forward, and the “crack” that results from the tail of the whip being pulled back, and rather quickly I might add.

None of this action alludes to the arm during its pitching motion - none of it. I do not coach, nor do I even remotely suggest that the pitching arm should parallel the motion(s) of a whip. In fact, those pitchers that try and pull back any portion of the body so as to produce that “tail end whipping” action, invariably experience lower back and shoulder problems, sometimes preempted by abdominal and lower stomach stress and soreness.

What I do (did) coach, was a distinctive discipline for the pitching arm separate - but complimenting, the entire pitching cycle from beginning to end. And that discipline had basic elements, then adjusted for the specific physique of the pitcher that I was with.

Take a look at Roger C., pitching at the top right-hand corner of this web site and you’ll see classically stuff. Watch it over and over again, then, leave the page - start to make some assumptions and then write those assumptions down on paper, then come back and watch again and compare your notes to your second observation. ** A coaching style-method that works rather well I might add**

Notice how Roger C., controls his pitching arm, how he manages it in concert with his glove side, his leg lift, his forward motion, and his commitment to firmly planting his stride foot. I know this is only a front view, but if you study it enough you’ll start to see subtle details that repeat themselves over and over again.

To summarize, the pitching arm is controlled 100% of the time, from the time the hands break until the last part of the pitching cycle - at rest.

Now depending on your physique, your physical fitness, you ability to mobilize coordination and other related matters, so will your pitching arm draw from these assets.

I know this doesn’t exactly answer … do this … do that, but steering you in the right direction that fits your individual situation is my intent.

Coach B.


#7

Well my situation is that i open up to early and don’t get a lot of torque from my core to my arm. A better way to ask my question is what are you suggestions to get that hip-shoulder separation?

I got a pic from Ubaldo Jimenez to show what i mean, how on earth does he have his hips pointing to home plate but his shoulders are pointing to the 3rd base line? That’s the uncoiling effect i want to get that added velocity.


#8

This is by no means an easy thing to do. His athletic abiltiy, his hours of practice and his deliberate attention to his form - all pays off.

Another thing to remember, this player is a professional. I wouldn’t be all that surpirsed if he entered the sport, porofessionally, with a less than total package, from what you see here. The multimillion dollar training facilities, coaches and a host of other things, helped to develop to what you see here.

However, I do have a question for you - what would you say is your overall physigue? Are you tall and slim - compact and husky – or on the heavy side? Does your physique allow you to turn like this, even while standing still?

There are practice routines that allow you to practice what you see above. And I’m sure if you concentrate enough on just what it is that you want to do, you can accomplish said same.

In any event, the trick is NOT to rush your upper shoulders into the pitch. Allow your lower body to swing around prior to committing your shoulder platform.

Coach B.


#9

However, I do have a question for you - what would you say is your overall physigue? Are you tall and slim - compact and husky – or on the heavy side? Does your physique allow you to turn like this, even while standing still?

I’m tall and slim and I can turn like that while standing still no problem. My problem is when I get to the mound I don’t turn like that and open up to early. So to stay closed longer and then explode with the hips then shoulders is what I need your advice on.


#10

When you land, you brace the front leg which delivers energy to your upper body. With your hips rotated while keeping the shoulders closed, that energy that you get sent to your upper body can be felt in your core. If you were to land with your shoulders squared to the plate, there is no torque because there is nothing to rotate.

Same idea goes with opening your shoulders before landing/bracing, you wont get that torque feeling. Before you rotate your shoulders you want to brace against the front leg and let that energy travel up to your core. Then explode!!

As you can see Felix is well into his landing but his shoulders are closed, you could argue that they are beginning to rotate, but still his Pitching hand isn’t near max external rotation. He is letting that energy travel to his core.

If he waits too late to explode then he loses that energy, if he rotates his shoulders before the energy travels up, he’ll never get it. It’s all about Timing!


#11

Thanks tonyjh34 it’s starting to come together in my head and my mechanics are improving. What are things you teach pitchers to do on how to use their core when throwing Coach Baker?