Based on my analysis of video tapes of the pitching mechanics of many successful hard throwing professional pitchers, I have observed some common techniques and traits throughout the pitching motion.
I have also found that the arm and trunk action, in particular, tends to be different when comparing hard throwers to finesse or breaking ball pitchers.
I think this can be useful information when evaluating young pitchers and when a coach or scout is trying to project a pitcher’s potential to be a power pitcher.
A. Good Balance
1. During the rocker step, pivot and leg lift.
2. During the stride foot landing and acceleration phase.
B. Good arm action
1. A consistent arm path with a continuous, loose arm motion with the fingers staying on top of the ball.
2. The elbow flexes as the arm starts upward to the cocked position allowing for a quicker and shorter circle.
3. As the throwing hand goes up into the cocked position, the hand is aligned with the shoulders, but is slightly closer to 3rd base then the elbow. (RHP).
C. Cocking position
1. Usually slightly higher than the top of the head, fingers on top of the ball.
2. Palm of the hand facing the shortstop and the wrist is loaded
3. High velocity throws tend to have the hand further back away from the head during the preliminary cocking phase.
D. External rotation of the shoulder
1. High velocity throwers get tremendous external rotation of the shoulder - 170 degrees and above before exploding into the acceleration phase.
E. Good flexibility
1. During the shoulder external rotation phase, the trunk is arched and the chest is thrust out as the hips and shoulders horizontally rotate to square off to the plate.
2. During acceleration, the trunk goes from the arched position to trunk flexion at the waist as the hand reaches the release point and decelerates.
F. Hip, trunk and shoulder rotation
1. Upon stride foot landing, the front hip is still closed, but rotates open as the back hip moves forward.
2. The front shoulder stays closed for milli-seconds after the hip opens. The upper body is released like a spring creating tremendous horizontal forces.
3. High velocity pitchers tend to have a lot of lead arm action and the whipping the glove and lead elbow down outside the hip helps to create trunk rotation and flexion.
G. The stride
1. Length - measuring from the front edge of the rubber to the toe of the landing foot, hard throwing pitchers stride close to the length of their body height.
2. Direction - usually closed across the mid-line - measuring - from the ball of pivot foot to plate - by 2-3 inches. This helps to keep the front side closed creating more rotational forces.
3. Stride foot - lands flat footed with the toes angled slightly closed - 10 to 20 degrees.
4. Stride leg land flexed at about a 40 degree angle, but straightens to block off the front side as the trunk horizontally rotates.
H. Transfer of weight.
1. Hard throwing pitchers keep their body weight back over the posting leg until the leg lift reaches its peak or starts down.
2. Once the stride foot is firmly planted, the back knee is forcefully driven forward which releases the back hip and creates great angular velocity of the hips and shoulders.
3. The upper body weight is transferred down over and slightly in front of the lead leg at release and continues downward during deceleration.
I. Arm extension and deceleration
1. High velocity pitchers tend to throw in a good downward plane
2. On the fast ball, they get real good arm extension straight to the plate.
3. They have a long smooth arc of deceleration and end up with the throwing hand down below the knee and outside the lead leg.
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What do you think?
Now it's time to hear from you:
Are there any additional tips on improve pitching technique that I missed?
Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this article even better.
Either way, leave a comment and let me know.