The Split Perspective Of Separation
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.
How to Achieve More Hip to Shoulder Separation
The best way to achieve separation is with your hips. You must understand that there is a delay from your hips to shoulders. This means your hips start first and your shoulders hold and when your hips stop, your shoulders commit. Just like the picture above, you must see the component “Separation” as a split perspective. Your lower half and then your upper half. Your lower half works first, then your upper half follows. Most young pitchers do this in reverse. This will cause arm problems and poor velocity. This happens because if the upper half starts first then the lower half is left behind and has no opportunity to be used.
I recommend you take a picture of yourself during the point of “Separation” and cover up first the upper half of your body in the picture. You want to see your hips completely open to the target like the picture above, then cover your lower body and you want to see your shoulders in line with the target like the picture above. If you do not see good separation then you need to work on getting your hips moving faster while delaying your shoulders until just before front foot strike.
Notice the picture here of Mariano Riviera, the greatest closer in the game. His hips have started his delivery and are driving towards the plate while his shoulders stay back. His arms are relaxed and waiting for his hips and legs to reach full stride, before the shoulders are ready to fire. The shoulders must fire after the back leg has triple extended and the back hip has completely committed to the target. This is the point of Separation.
This split perspective is essential to developing good separation. You must see this as a split second delay in your lower half to upper half and the hips leading the process. This is a challenge to learn and perform well but this component alone is what separates average pitching from above average pitching, high velocity pitchers from low velocity pitchers. Combining good “Separation” with a total body Olympic style strength and conditioning program equals a top level pitcher.
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