performance 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 21, 2009
Biomechanics of Elbow Injuries During Throwing
Elbow injuries in pitchers can be divided into three types, based upon their location within the joint. All three types of elbow injuries are related to the large rotational force – called “torque” – needed to slow down the cocking of the arm and accelerate the forearm, hand, and ball forward. Elbow torque is greatest when the arm is in its maximum cocked position.
Medial Elbow Injuries – The Ulnar Collateral Ligament
From the cocked position, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) pulls the forearm forward with the rotating upper arm. The tremendous tension produced in the relatively small UCL is close to its limit. 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 · 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 12, 2009
The biggest problem I find in young pitchers is that they have poor separation in their hips to shoulders. There are many articles on this site covering the pitching component “Separation.” It is so important because having separation from your back hip to back shoulder before the shoulders rotate to the plate, is critical for velocity and the health of your arm. What “Separation” does is it builds core torque. It puts more torque in the big muscle groups of the core, instead of mainly in the small muscle groups of the shoulder. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · February 1, 2009
For more info on Coach Hatch visit GayleHatch.com.
The USA men’s weightlifting head coach at the 2004 Olympic Games, Hatch was inducted into the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame’s inaugural 14-member class in August 2003, along with Baton Rouge’s Alvin Roy; and the USA Olympic Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame in April 2002. He received the NFL Strength & Conditioning Coaches Society “President’s Award” for his role in developing the profession at the 2005 NFL Combine. Hatch served as meet director of the 2000 USA Olympic Trials. In 2007-08, Hatch worked at LSU as basketball strength and conditioning coach after his program helped the 2006 Tigers reach the Final Four. 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 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 13, 2009
Long toss is praised by many and shot down by few. I have heard the likes of Alan Jaeger preaching long toss as the secret to velocity and the likes of Dick Mill’s trying to prove scientifically why you should never do it again. I have reflected on this topic for some time now. In my career, I did a lot of long toss but rarely did I notice any difference in velocity. I refuse to tell you that long toss is a waste of time but what I will do is share with you the Pros and Cons of this kind of practice. It is then up to you to make your own decision on using long toss in your training regime. 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 · January 8, 2009
If your Coach or Trainer has you running for longer than five minutes at a SLOW pace then you are training to be just that, SLOW! Muscles have a mixture of two basic types of fibers, fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast-twitch fibers are capable of developing greater forces and contracting faster and have greater anaerobic capacity. Anaerobic means exercise without the use of oxygen as an energy source; short bursts of vigorous exercise. Sprinting is an anaerobic exercise. In contrast, slow-twitch fibers develop force slowly, can maintain contractions longer and have higher aerobic capacity. Aerobic means exercise in which energy needed is supplied by oxygen inspired and is required for sustained periods of vigorous exercise with a continually high pulse rate. Long distance running is an aerobic exercise. Read more
by Brent Pourciau · January 7, 2009
When we rest as pitchers, during a game in between pitches, it is important that we restore our ATP. This can take up to three minutes to completely restore. More ATP in our system means more explosive energy in our muscles. The problem is in between innings we usually get a lot more than three minutes. This means we have more than enough time for our bodies to replenish ATP.
The question now becomes when does our bodies begin to shut down and cool off? This happens once your heart rate drops to a resting heart rate. Those of us who have done this understand that this causes our arms and bodies to stiffen and grow sore. When this happens we must start over again and perform a proper warm up to prevent injury. In the heat of the game, warming up again usually doesn’t happen. So we jump back on the mound with that sore, stiff arm and our endorphins take care of the pain. This over time will end a career short. 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 10, 2008
I hate to be so pessimistic, but the reality is the younger generations are lazy and not held up to the standards of the past generations. Our society today is a lot more open to excepting mediocrecy than hard work and achievement. The only reason competition continues to improve is because of the global infiltration of baseball. The game is now full of Latino’s, Asians and Europeans. I am writing this article to hopefully motivate the younger generations of America to wake up and get moving. Here is one of my favorite quotes. You should read this every morning. 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 7, 2008
I am sure you are asking, “What does a car crash teach us about pitching velocity?” It actually teaches us pitchers everything we need to know to truly understand how pitchers generate top velocity. The reason for the correlation of the pitching delivery to the car crash, is the car crash analogy really helps us visualize the complex dynamics of momentum transfer. The reason for the complexity is because of the speed of the event. The moment in the delivery when momentum transfers into the ball to start its propulsion to the target, is as short as a split second. The problem is analyzing this event for educational purposes takes a lot longer. So this is where the car crash analogy will help us. 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