Your Own Mechanics

Take the word Mechanics and scribe the word out in longhand. Ask a few people to do the same. I wouldn’t be a bit surprise to find no penmanship is the same. In fact, you’ll probably find a noticeable difference in style, neatness, even a spelling error or two.

What may seem obvious to many, should underscore the reasons why leaning how to pitch, and pitch properly, is so difficult. The long and the short of it is, we all have certain skills that are dictated by our coordination, our interpretation of the spoken word, our visual impression of what we see and by whom, then our ability to take the brain’s impulses and channel those impulses through the nervous system to the right combination of muscles. So, it’s no wonder some people have a lot more “it” then others for just about anything that you can name.

Now lets take pitching. There is no more of an unnatural act than a pitch. Why? Because the body has to be schooled, literally, in the proper sequence of events - the pitch cycle - to transfer load bearing movement to non-load bearing joints and a combination of joints, with a rhythmic combination of movements. Failure to concentrate, for only a tenth of a second, can have life altering effects. And if that wasn’t enough, those special movements are spelled out in rather strict terms according to certain rules and protocols of the pitcher’s position and the game itself.

Now here you are, visiting this or any other web site, trying to gather as much added value to subject as possible. To put it bluntly - you’re climbing a very, very steep mountain side. Even under the best of circumstances, a lot of this subject matter can be overwhelming.

The bottom line to this post of mine is to advise you to go easy with this experience. As you progress, understand your limits better than you understand your gains. Take a long walk and introduce yourself to … you. Know your true makeup, what makes you tick inside consistently. Only then, like the uniqueness of your own handwriting, will you understand how unique you are to this discipline - pitching. There will be some things that you will do well, while other things you’ll do a little less.

Coach B.

There’s a parallel to all this in music. The French composer Claude Debussy, in the preface to his twelve etudes for piano, explained why he did not specify fingerings for each of those pieces. He pointed out that no two pianists have the same size or the same configuration of the hands—one person can reach a tenth with no difficulty, while another can just barely make an octave span—and so each one of us has to find his or her own fingerings!
So. You have different pitchers, and each one has to find his or her own mechanics, his or her own most comfortable and effective arm slot, and there’s absolutely no point in trying to have every pitcher throw the same way like cookies from a cookie cutter. Sure, there are certain elements we all need to observe and work with, like posture, balance and glove-side control (if you’ve ever watched Mariano Rivera you’ll notice his perfect upright posture as he goes into his windup and delivery), the importance of following through and completing one’s pitches—but every pitcher has a different way of executing these elements. Some have a smooth delivery, while others have a herky-jerky motion like a rooster with St. Vitus dance. One throws straight overhand, another uses a 3/4 motion, still another is a true sidearmer, and there are even a few submariners—and within the previously described parameters, each one is effective in his or her way. I remember how Ed Lopat—a top pitcher and one of the finest pitching coaches anyone could hope to work with—absolutely refused to mess around with or change an individual’s arm slot; he believed in working with an individual pitcher and showing him or her how to make the most of what he or she had and could do. :slight_smile: :baseballpitcher: