throwing 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 18, 2009
Matsuo T, Escamilla RF, Fleisig GS, Barrentine SW, Andrews JF. Comparison of kinematic and temporal parameters between different pitch velocity groups. Journal of Applied Biomechanics 17(1): 1-13, 2001.
Stodden, DF, Fleisig, GS, McLean, SP, Andrews, JR. Relationship of Biomechanical Factors to Basebal Pitching Velocity: Within Pitcher Variation. Journal of Applied Biomechanics 21(1): 44-56, 2005 Read more
by Brent Pourciau · June 17, 2009
Why waste your time and money on pitching coaches and strength and conditioning when you can get all the velocity you want in a pill?
Do you want to know what it is like to throw 90 plus mph?
Do you want to dominate every batter you face?
Do you want to get drafted in the top round and sign for millions?
Then you do not have to wait any longer? All your dreams will come true in this one pill. Velocity is the latest in medical advancements in the world of genetic therapy. This pill will genetically remodel your body to throw a baseball 90 plus miles per hour. Once you take this pill you will feel a burning sensation in your arm and after 33 seconds your next pitch will exceed 90 mph. Read more
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 · 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 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 · February 1, 2009
So you have pain in triceps and or biceps when pitching and it has more than likely been hurting for a while. You are searching the web for answers because you need this pain to go away so you can get back to business. I get it! I was you in my career.
When I had this problem and I couldn’t find the answers to a quick fix of the problem, I just looked for ways to hide the pain. I was taking Advil almost everyday and I started to have to take tons more of it because the pain was getting worse. The pain first started in my elbow and then it moved up my bicep into my shoulder.
It got so bad that I had to take the maximum dose of pain killers, along with icy hot, and in between innings I had to hit my arm so I would feel the pain of the hit and not the pain coming from my throbbing arm. This was the day that my rotator cuff tore and my career completely stopped. I was shocked and depressed at this time in my life because I had let the pain get so bad, that it ended my career.
I Want to Help You Remove This Pain
I am writing this article here to help you because I wish someone would have helped me at that point in my pitching career when the pain first started. If you have pain in your lower, or upper bicep, or your lower or upper tricep and maybe even in the back or front of your upper forearm, you are overusing and abusing your arm. If you have anyone or all of these pains, then you need to stop and listen to your body.
Pain is your bodies way of telling you that something is wrong. Pain does not just go away. It will only get worse, like it did in my career, if you do not make some changes immediately. Unfortunately, you should have not waited this long to make the changes but better late than never! 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 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 14, 2009
Using the overload to underload approach to train a young pitcher’s arm and central nervous system to increase arm speed is the right concept but the wrong approach when using weighted baseballs on a young pitcher. The problem is with using weighted baseballs on a young pitcher, who more than likely does not have the motor coordination of high velocity mechanics, is that it sacrifices the arm to teach the body how to move weight more efficiently and quickly. To understand how backwards this weighted baseball approach is for the young pitcher we must first look at what role the arm plays in the entire pitching delivery. 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 12, 2009
Poor posture is a sign of weakness and laziness. Because it is seen as being “Cool” to lounge around in class or hanging out somewhere, this is causing poor posture in young athletes today. DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO YOU. Poor posture will lead to an arm injury, especially in pitchers. If this is you, then you must read this article.
How to Avoid an Impingement
Notice the image below of the subacromial space. When the arm is relaxed and down, there is enough room for the shoulder to rotate internally and externally but when the arm is raised above the head, in a throwing position, the subscromial space is almost closed. This can easily cause an impingment of the rotator cuff muscle, mainly the supraspinatus. Poor posture makes this even worse. This is because the shoulders are forward and the acromion is positioned more on top of the supraspinatus muscle impinging the muscle even more. With poor posture and the constant internal rotation of the arm during a pitch, over time this will start to tear the muscle. This could lead to a complete tear of the rotator cuff. 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 · 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 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