learning Pitching Articles
Here are some pitching articles on this important pitching velocity topic. This topic is currently open for discussion. You can either comment on the articles below or start a thread in the pitching forums.
by Brent Pourciau · June 14, 2009
The online world of pitching experts have been throwing around the buzz word “Momentum pitching” recently. This isn’t anything new unless you are up to date on the breakthroughs of pitching science. Pitchers have been trying to find better ways to generate more momentum in their deliveries for years but what is changing is the science behind this matter.
During the prime of the likes of Nolan Ryan, the popular way of generating more momentum back then was the “Stand Tall and Fall” style developed by Nolan Ryan and his pitching coach Tom House, who may have coined the term. This proceeded the popular style of “Drop and Drive” used by the great Tom Seaver. These two styles of pitching are still used today. What is changing is pitching mechanics are evolving from an art form into the world of science. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · June 6, 2009
For all of those pitchers who are trying to develop more separation in back hip to back shoulder, you will only achieve this with explosive triple extension of the drive leg. “Triple Extension” is the extension of the ankle joint, knee joint and the hip flexor. You must perform this in your drive leg so your back hip can open completely to the target. If you keep your shoulders and weight back while aligning your Force Vector and once your Force Vector is linear you perform”Triple Extension,” optimal “Separation” will occur. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · May 5, 2009
There are two forces that add velocity to a pitch:
- Rotational Torque
For momentum to effectively transfer to the ball, the pitcher must use all rotational pivots in order from the bottom up. The hips must rotate before the shoulders and the shoulders before the arm internally rotates. For this to happen effectively these pivots must be free to rotate completely. Notice the picture of Tim Lincecum at the bottom of the page (Tim Lincecum is a phenom because of his size and ability to reach his top velocity continuously.) Notice in the picture his weight is slightly leaning to his left. This would be like tilting an open door backwards so the open door slams closed due to gravitational forces. This gravitational pull is helping to create full range of motion in Tim Lincecum’s hips and shoulders at front foot strike. If he or the door was tilted the opposite way then these gravitational forces would work against his momentum by decreasing full range of motion in his rotational pivots. Using the force of gravity to increase the range of motion in your hips and shoulders will have a significant effect on your velocity. This is a big reason why Tim Lincecum can throw so hard for his size. He is working with the forces of nature to generate his power. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · April 16, 2009
This question can stir up a big argument but there is only one answer. The arm does not generate the velocity. It only guides the pitch. Therefore the arm must follow the body and does not come into play until the body has done its job. This was the conclusion of a study performed by the famous Dr. Jobe back in the 1980′s. Here is the actual result from the case study:
by Brent Pourciau · March 8, 2009
I get this question a lot, “the windup vs the stretch, what is better?” The problem is the windup is almost sacred to the game of baseball but it really has no purpose besides a kind of confidence builder on the mental state of the pitcher. The windup represents the old style of pitching from back in the day when the pitchers would use the windup to get their arms moving faster like in the video clip here of Dizzy Dean. Now that we have learned that doing this is destructive to pitching velocity, the windup has become just an extra step to throwing in the stretch. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · February 17, 2009
Separation is a major component to developing top velocity and longevity. Separation means having separation from your back hip to back shoulder at front foot strike. Notice the picture here of Felix Hernandez. His back hip is pointing towards home plate and his back shoulder is pointing towards second base. This creates torque in the core. You can see the stretching in his jersey around the stomach area. Having more torque in the core instead of the shoulder of the arm will lead to more velocity and a healthier arm. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · February 1, 2009
Using steroids and growth hormone (GH) injections to increase your levels of testosterone and GH has more bad side effects than positive returns. This is why I speak against these illegal drugs. Through proper strength and conditioning, an athlete can naturally stimulate their bodies testosterone and GH levels. The reason for athletes increasing these levels is to grow bigger, stronger, faster, which means your body is healing faster than it is breaking down. This is very beneficial for pitchers because quicker recovery between appearances will result in more velocity, better consistency and less chance of injury. This is why the Michell Report was full of professional pitchers using these illegal substances. These pro pitchers were looking for the hormonal edge but going at it in the wrong direction. Thank you to the strength and conditioning world, we have now learned that the hormonal edge can be obtained naturally, through a proper strength and conditioning program. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · January 30, 2009
Pitching is a very complex sequence of movements that involve building torque and force to generate velocity. So many things happening during a blink of the eye within the pitching delivery. What is even harder than pitching, is explaining this stuff. This is why every coach has his own interpretation. This is also why science wins over conventional wisdom. If you can prove it scientifically then conventional wisdom is forced to listen. If you eliminated ever coach in baseball who could not explain pitching scientifically, you would have about 2% of them left to coach the position. This is why so many misconceptions plague baseball today, especially pitching. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · January 28, 2009
Professional Baseball is full of genetic freaks. Long and slender pitchers who throw mid to upper 90′s like A.J. Burnett and Aroldis Chapman. At this moment, Major League scouts are combing the earth looking for these rare specimens. This is why it is so exciting when someone like Tim Lincecum at 5’9 170 pounds, throwing 95 mph, comes along and blows everyone’s mind. Yes, Tim is a new kind of freak but what he proves is that throwing hard can also be a little mans game. Tim is evidence that the strength and conditioning world is not just hype. It is real and it is the fountain of success for any athlete. It teaches why someone like Tim Lincecum throws as hard as someone the total opposite in size, like A.J. Burnett or Aroldis Chapman. Why doesn’t Major League Baseball teach little guys to throw as hard as big guys? Because they do not have too. Major League Baseball is like a spoiled child. It gets everything it wants. Therefore, they have no need to make what they already have. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · January 20, 2009
After my almost career ending rotator cuff injury, I decided to devote myself to understanding the body so I could somehow find a way back to the game I love. What I learned was I had bad mechanics as a young pitcher. I also learned that I did not train enough or when I trained it was completely wrong. I also learned that my diet was that of a dog and not a diet of a high performance athlete. It is important, as athletes, that we eat the balanced diet we have been told about all of our lives. We avoid listening to these words of wisdom because we eat what we want to eat. The reality is most young athletes have not faced a career ending injury. If someone was to tell you that you could avoid any serious injury in sports and prolong your career as an athlete, if you eat 5-6 servings of vegetables a day, would you do it? Read more
by Brent Pourciau · January 18, 2009
Ultimately, your pitching Coach is your boss. If you piss him off, there is a good chance you may be out of a job. The problem is if he is a BAD pitching coach, he could jeopardize your career. It has happened many times before. The key is to keep the Coach happy, while you find the best support you can, to help influence your career.
What makes a BAD pitching Coach?
Someone who has no experience in playing the position at the top levels of the game, or someone who has no certified education of how to coach the position. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · January 9, 2009
This article is for every athlete out there. I am an athlete, who overcame a career ending rotator cuff tear in college, to pitch again and make it to minor league ball. I was told I would never pitch as hard as I did before the tear. I topped out at 94 mph my last season for the San Diego Surf Dawgs, over eight years later. That was more than 8 mph from before surgery. It was a long road and I am here today to teach you everything you need to know on how to prevent this from happening to you. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · December 31, 2008
“Scap Loading” is the pinching of the shoulder blades or scapula during hip to shoulder separation. It is an important factor to velocity. Notice the picture here of Greg Maddux “Scap Loading”. The question is, is ”Scap Loading” a reaction to the stride or is it a voluntary action to generate more hip to shoulder separation?
Scap Loading Issues
The problem with coaching ”Scap Loading” is that it can promote the infamous inverted W. The inverted W is the mechanical flaw linked to many rotator cuff and UCL injuries in professional baseball. This is when the elbows fly above the shoulders during the stride and before the shoulders fire towards the target. ”Scap Loading” can lead to this issue because ”Scap Loading” is the throwing of the elbows behind the back during the stride. Throwing the elbows behind the back or above the shoulders is both considered putting the shoulders and elbows in what the Physical Therapy world calls the “Red Zone.” This is a vulnerable position for the arms to be in during an explosive movement like pitching. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · December 24, 2008
Pitchers and all athletes who reach the high school, college or pro levels are always looking for an edge. The athletic supplement market has exploded in the past decade to fill this need. If it isn’t steroids then athletes are looking for the next best thing. I will say it here again, steroids are not the edge you want. It takes you out of your game because you do not own it. What I mean is, however you perform when you are on a steroid or illegal drug, you will only be able to be that person when you are using the drug. This is what causes abuse and serious long term problems. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · December 16, 2008
The most important component of the pitching delivery is what is called, “Separation.” This is the separation of the hips and shoulders at front foot strike. This is what builds torque mainly in the core instead of the arm. This component will not only increase velocity but save a pitchers shoulder. Most high school and college pitchers have poor “Separation.” I have written about this component in just about every article on pitching velocity. I will once again define this into more detail.
The picture here of Felix Hernandez pretty much says it all. You can see the “Separation” from his hips to shoulders. It is like he is a towel being rung out to dry. Tim Lincecum calls this tightening his “Rubber Band.” The “Rubber Band” being his core. To understand why this is so effective in increasing velocity and preventing injury, we must first look at the bio-mechanics of pitching. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · December 10, 2008
I have heard many players and coaches say that working out will not increase pitching velocity. I have even heard them say that it will hurt the pitcher. I understand that this is many parents, coaches and players concerns because it seems to be conventional wisdom that working out is bad but I will be the first to tell you that if you just do your research, you will learn otherwise. It will also prove to you that those who are spreading these rumors about working out and pitching, have not done their research.
When someone tells me that working out is bad for pitching, I then ask them then why was about 70% of Major League Ball Players on Steroids or Human Growth Hormone during the Steroid Era? It isn’t because they just wanted to look good on TV. I then ask them then why was the majority of the position players listed on the Michell Report pitchers? I always get a few stutters, followed by total silence. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · December 9, 2008
This is an excellent beginner workout. It focuses on training the body as a single unit. All these lifts support the development of Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers which will make you more explosive as an athlete. This workout was developed for pitchers but recommend for all positions. When starting this beginner program for the first time, make sure you keep your lifting weight down. Use the bar to start and once you gain confidence in your lifts, you can begin to add weight and use the percentages listed. Select the images below the workout of the lifts to view the instructional video. You can also view the Coach Gayle Hatch instructional videos here: Coach Hatch Videos to learn the lifts. Coach Gayle Hatch is a legend in the sports training world. He is most know as the 2004 USA Olympic Lifting Coach and was just named the World Coach for 2009. Some of the lifts do not have instructional videos. Search the web for exercises that would fill the role. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · December 8, 2008
The main purpose of a Drill, is to practice a component of the delivery that will help to correct a mechanical flaw. I also believe it is important to add resistance to a drill to help imprint the new muscle memory.
The drill below should be performed 2 – 3 days a week, for at least 3 – 4 months. The drill should also be performed after completing the “Flexibility Training” portion of the Fusion System which can be found in the Ace Pitcher Handbook included in the 3X Pitching Velocity Program. You will also find a ton more drills in the 3X programs. Try to push each drill to muscle fatigue, if possible. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · December 5, 2008
There are NOT many pitching workouts out there made for the athlete. This is why most of them or ineffective. The reason they are ineffective is because they do not train athletic performance. I am a USA Weightlifting Certified Trainer and I have spent the past 15 years learning from some of the best in the business. I have also tried just about every workout available. The only time I every noticed an effect on my pitching velocity was after training with the Olympic lifts. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · December 3, 2008
One of the most common questions I get as a Coach is, “How old should a kid start pitching?” I was pretty young myself but then again I also had major shoulder surgery in college. With my experience, I would say, “Wait as long as you can to start making pitching your number one position.” If you have the dreams of playing Pro ball one day, I would definitely keep your arm as fresh as possible. Pro scouts drool over live fresh arms. Their eyes pop out of their heads when they learn that a young live arm has little time spent on the mound. So that being said, focus more on throwing mechanics than getting time on the hill in the little league to junior high ranks. Read more