Why Tom House's Tennis Analogy For Holds is Wrong

I think this is an important discussion for those participating in holds because of the “tennis racket analogy.”

I don’t use holds, but I’m open to being convinced to do so, IF it made logical sense. I’m not convinced that the racket is the answer.

Dan—going back to your recent post: I read your apology for the latest newsletter, and what I have to say is this: Don’t even give it a thought. I’ve seen much worse on some of the police dramas I like to watch, the scenes on the autopsy tables on NCIS—so a simple “Oops, my bad” will suffice.
And there’s nothing wrong with just plain throwing the crap out of the ball with a regular baseball. :baseballpitcher:

Haha, thanks Zito. Just figured diplomacy in this case was the easiest way to go. It was from an ABC comedy sitcom, so it didn’t much cross my mind as I made that newsletter.

Great article Dan.
As soon as people start talking in absolutes with training I look for some salt so I have a grain or two to take with what they are telling me.
There are just tons of variables. The sports and the movement of the sports are different, so, a direct line correlation is going to be tough.
It strikes me the same as people saying throwers should not swim because of inpingment in swimmers. The studies showing this are of high level swimmers who are spending hours a day in the pool. If a guy wants a cardio element to his workout without having to go on a slow 5 to 8 mile jog swimming is great. A pretty high effort 20 min workout in the pool once or twice a week is great and will not cause impingement, espcially if different strokes are used.
Jump training also pops into mind. I remember several guys saying that jump training made their velocity jump and were saying there was a tie in to vertical jump numbers and velo. Now, the first thing I thought was “what have these guys been doing previously”. If they were weak and stiff in the legs and hips then sure jump training is going to help loosen and strengthen them, does that mean if you can dunk a basketball you automatically throw hard, no.
Like the old saying goes, somethings work better than others, anything works better than nothing ect…

Great post, I am going to follow-up with a post of my own on my site. I wish I had been smart enough to attack it from a “repetition” angle as well as the backhand stroke being relevant (duh).

All in all, a great read and I no longer feel like the only person taking up this side of the argument, which is always nice :slight_smile:

First off, House did not get this information by watching tennis players!!!
This information was first introduced to the baseball world by Dr. Mike Marshall who house is well aware of. The fact that he has made this story up shows his contempt for Marshall by not giving credit where credit is due. Shameful at best.

When you finally understand why pronation eliminated this problem, then you will have something to say that makes sense.

You seem to think all these things are velocity oriented?
They are not, strength only bullet proofs the ballistic activity. Only neural improvements (fast twitch recruitment) improves velocity after fitness. The physiology work that has already been produced in thousands of studies prove this yet you guys keep bastardizing the principles as if you know what your talking about when you don’t.

You may want to consider the fact that the hand and ball are already decelerating at and before release with the conventional pitching motion. This was proven by Dr.Mike Marshall with his ground breaking High speed video analysis of that motion almost 40 years ago where he produced an overhead acceleration graph of every inch of movement in the forwards kinetic chain and the movements before the kinetic chain that starts at fully outwardly rotated Humerus.

You should also notice that the Humerus in tennis serves remains in alignment with the acromial line (line running from shoulder to shoulder) and why they do not produce injuries there, as Marshall postulated it wouldn’t.

Because it replicates “sport specifically” instead of guessing what muscles decelerate a given forwards mechanic!
Holding weight in a sock though is not the way to do it for many reasons.

Absolutely not the same!!! Baseball pitchers accelerate either “axipetally (over the top) or “centripetally” (off to the side) that has the arm conversely decelerate in the opposite motion depending upon the voluntary action or involuntary action learned. Why would you trust your rudimentary knowledge of what muscles it takes to train the action by concentrically training them when wrist weights perform the proper sport specific neural signaling eccentrically, a totally different animal.

GIRD has nothing to do with horizontally flexing the Humerus the way conventional pitchers perform. Conventional pitchers do not even internally rotate their Humerus during drive, they horizontally drive their Humerus by flexing their pectoralis major not flexing their latissimus Dorsi’s.

Conventional Pitchers do not injure their shoulders because of the mythical GIRD as House thinks!

They injure their inner shoulders (Glenno Humeral ligaments and Labrum) because of miss-alignment of the Humerus and the shoulders at glove side foot plant and the alignment-alignment of the shoulders and Humerus to the field driveline.
They injure their deceleration muscles (mainly the tiny Terres minor) because of flinging their arms across the flexed Pectorals major because they do not rotate 180 degrees.
All these injuries are avoidable with just pre mechanical fixes let alone fitness.

Wow. I skimmed your response because it was irrelevant. I didn’t make one mention of Mike Marshall, nor was the central point of that article the efficacy of holds - the point was the faulty analogy.

You ignored the main point and went on an irrelevant diatribe - none of this was about Marshall. You Marshall crusaders really enjoy hearing yourselves talk.

Dan, you are going to get a big kick out of this post.
Several years ago I presented a paper for the Jack Graney chapter of SABR in Cleveland, Ohio. It had to do with pitching coaches, good, bad and indifferent, and I had a special section for the oddballs—including one who shall be nameless here, but you know whom I’m talking about. I drove out to Zephyrhills to talk to him and hear what he has to say, and at the end of two hours I couldn’t wait to get out of there. This guy was—is—one of the most exasperating creatures I have ever run across, and to put it bluntly he talks through his tuchis. Among other things he insists that the only way to pitch is over the top—straight overhand—and when I asked him about some other pitching deliveries he dismissed them out of hand as just silly. As a dyed-in-the-wool sidearmer who uses the crossfire, I could only think of that statement as reprehensible, and I thought, for a guy whose intent is to injury-proof pitchers he does a very good job of just the opposite!
He sat on a bench and made notes in a notebook and made no attempt to get up and go over to where a couple of young pitchers were working out and check on what they were doing. He blathered about “torque” this and “maxline” that—who did he think he was, Satchel Paige? At least old Satch gave names to his pitches based entirely on what they did: for example he had one he called the “bee” ball because “it be where I want it to be”, and another called the “hesitation” pitch. But Michael G. Marshall, Ph.D. (the Ph., as far as I was concerned, stands for “phooey”)—held on to his ideas and, yes, misconceptions. I couldn’t help thinking—this guy had a career year with the Dodgers in 1974 but he ended up losing far more games than he won.
At the end of two hours I thanked him for his time and got out of there, ran back to my car and drove back to the sanity of Tampa. And I thanked the good Lord for a fitting end to my presentation. And I said another prayer of thanks for the incredible pitching coach named Eddie Lopat with whom I worked for almost four years and who helped me become a better pitcher—and one free from injury because of my sidearm delivery!
It takes all kinds. :baseballpitcher:

The “Bee Ball”! Love it!

The ironic thing is, I didn’t even personally attack Tom House, the subject of the article - I tried to be respectful of house because I have a lot of respect for much of his work. And here jumps in another to insist that I was disrespectful of a man I didn’t even mention.

My favorite is how Marshall describes in the videos, “Lefthanded hitters cannot hit his Maxline screwball.” What? CANNOT? What if he leaves it over the plate? No lefthanded in existence can hit it, in any circumstances? Such strong claims that are utterly absurd. Even more irony in that no Maxline screwball would ever even be thrown in a professional setting…we’ll never know if the unhittable pitch is truly unhittable.

What people everywhere tend to forget is that no one wants to listen to arrogant, rude, dogmatic people - no matter how good or revolutionary their ideas may be. Pleasant, respectful people get the floor and the benefit of the doubt.


It’s amazing to me you and others are all skimmers yet actually read every word said.

I agree with the faulty analogy as you can see by skimming but when you in your first response in the comments section felt the need to point out you think Marshall pitchers are hyper extending their elbows when they are not put you right in it. This is what made me think you just skimmed at Marshalls info on pronation that eliminated this stoppage at full range of extension range of motion of the elbow.

Not irrelevant when this whole subject is skirted the way you did it.
You brought up some great points about backhands and how they help the decelerators but this has nothing to do with the irrelevant mythical GIRD that conventionally approached pitchers never get near this shortness in range of motion with their deliveries and recoveries. They do not actively internally rotate their Humerus, they are pec driven and might account for the reason the shortness occurs in them.

This subject has everything to do with Dr.Marshall, he is the discoverer of the technique and has explained why it works in detail. Learn something here, read what Kyle says about this subject later. It was you who mentioned him first . I believe your comments are an extension of the article. Get over it!

I normally only come on when a subject directly relates to him or he is mentioned as you felt the need to do and when you mentioned him it was about a completely irrelevant and different subject, what gives you a pass on irrelevancy.


How many times are we going to have to read this garbage, hopefully not as many times as you repeat other posts. Being a musician has it’s drawbacks I guess as it bleeds over into writing style. Maybe you should syncopate a little here

Touche, fearsomefour

Yardbird giving someone crap for repeating the same stuff over and over.
The irony.



I train pitchers and actually pitch for a living. I have little free time, and I don’t care to spend it with you and your straw men.

Did you know…“Yardbird” was the nickname for the late great alto- and tenor-saxophonist Charlie Parker, who was in the forefront of the bebop jazz movement (along with Dizzy Gillespie, among others). :slight_smile:

…And again, more rhetoric from the Yardbird. It is indeed ironic that he would attempt to admonish someone for bring repetitious.