3X stands for Triple Extension. Triple Extension is the extension of the ankle joint, the knee joint and the hip flexor. Triple Extension or 3X is the foundation of 3X Pitching. This term comes from the Olympic Lifting world which was the springboard for sport specific training. The reason that Triple Extension is so important is that this is how athletes move and generate power. Without Triple Extension or pushing off of the ground, we are almost powerless. Better athletes are able to bounce more force off of the ground through the stretch shortening cycle and Triple Extension than others. Before I get more into Triple Extension, the stretch shortening cycle, ground reaction forces, Triple Flexion, the Kinetic Chain and other advanced terminology that will help teach you a cutting edge approach to pitching velocity, (that at the current time very few coaches are teaching and will allow you to reach your velocity goals) I will first cover the philosophy, benefits and the inspiration of this velocity enhancement and injury prevention focused approach to pitching.
The 3X Philosophy
Most approaches to pitching mechanics are arm or upper body focused. Most of them are mainly focusing after front foot strike. This would be when the lead leg lands just following the stride. The 3X approach to pitching is lower body focused and believes that the arm is only along for the ride and not the main tool for developing your top velocity. In the case study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health called "An EMG Analysis of the Shoulder in Throwing and Pitching" by Doctors Jobe FW, Tibone JE, Perry J, Moynes D states that during acceleration of the shoulder and arm, the shoulder and arm had a lack of muscle activity, even though the arm was accelerating forward in space. Here is the conclusion of the entire study:
Five male subjects' throwing and pitching motions were analyzed by dynamic electromyography and high speed photography. Electrodes inserted into the deltoid and rotator cuff muscles attempted to define muscle activation patterns during the throwing and pitching cycle. The wind-up or preparation (Stage I) had no consistent pattern. Cocking (Stage II) had a sequential muscle activation pattern of first deltoid activity, followed by the S.I.T. muscles and finally by the subscapularis muscle. Acceleration (Stage III) had a lack of muscle activity, even though the arm was accelerating forward in space. Follow-through (Stage IV) was the most active stage with all the muscles firing intensely. The muscle patterns observed during the cycle were largely characteristic of attempts to decelerate the arm.
This proves that the power to move the arm through the acceleration stage, to throw the ball to the target, was created before the acceleration stage, which is also before the arm is ever being used to throw the ball. This means that from the beginning of the leg lift, through the stride and all of the mechanical events that occur after front foot strike, this is when power is being generated. The 3X approach to pitching uses science to teach pitchers how to generate more power before the acceleration stage of the arm.
The scientific formula of 3X Pitching is based on the science of matter and energy and their interactions, which is better known as physics. Older descriptions to pitching like "Drop and Drive" or "Stand Tall and Fall" are broad labels on pitching styles but fail to define a scientific approach to pitching. 3X Pitching starts by defining the three most important components and their relationships: force, acceleration, and torque. To understand the importance of the relationship between these three we must first define them separately.
- Force - is a cause to move by pushing or pulling.
- Acceleration - is the change in velocity over time.
- Torque - is a twisting force.
Now let's put them together in their relationships. Force starts the delivery through a pushing or pulling effect to generate momentum. Acceleration is the change of speed or velocity of that momentum and Torque is adding a twisting force to take advantage of the elastic properties of the body to assist the speed or velocity of the momentum. As you can see these three components are critical and must all be present when pitching. What it is teaching us is if you max out these three components, by increasing your body’s ability to generate power in your pitching delivery, you have reached your top velocity.
This is a very simplistic way to define pitching and pitching velocity through physics but it is a very significant way to define it as well. "Occam's razor," is an old teaching that says "the simplest explanation is more likely the correct one." This means if you can break something complicated down into its simplest form then you may just have your answer. This answer is the formula for the 3X Pitching approach. Later on in this book I will uncover the building blocks that will build on top of this formula and teach you how to incorporate 3X Pitching into your own delivery, which will help you reach your velocity goals.
The Benefits of 3X Pitching
Of course, before you do anything in life you want to know why you are doing it and the answer to the "why" lives in the benefits. The list of benefits that come from the 3X approach to pitching is as follows.
- More Power
- More Velocity
- Less Chance of Injury
- More Confidence
- More Success
Velocity enhancement alone is a major benefit that sells most pitchers but you must make sure that you are not gaining a negative with your new positive. For example, you wouldn't want to gain velocity and in return develop a labrum tear. Therefore you must make sure that with velocity enhancement comes injury prevention. This is another big plus about 3X Pitching.
I first developed this approach learning how to pitch again injury free. The bonus was the velocity gains. Once I started to notice the velocity gains while my arm was feeling better and stronger, I realized that I was on to something special. This doesn't mean that you can't get hurt once you learn 3X Pitching. What it means is it takes a more total body approach to pitching, which helps pitchers who have more “all arm mechanics”, reduce the stress they are putting on their rotator cuff and elbow. The effect of these total body mechanics will also improve your longevity. This means you will not only be able to throw more pitches at a higher intensity in the game but through your entire career. Finally with all of these benefits comes confidence, and ultimately success, but this doesn't come without a price. The price is in the workload. It will not be easy to implement 3X Pitching into your own delivery, so if you commit, you must be certain that you will find success. If you can't make this commitment, then I wouldn’t recommend changing what you have been doing up to this point in your career.
Inspiration of 3X Pitching
I was 18 years old and a late bloomer with a full scholarship to a top level Junior College. I was only 6 feet and 175 pounds at the time. I was set up to be the second starter in rotation for the top Junior College pitching staffs in the state. My coach was expecting a lot of me and I also had a few NCAA DI schools interested. The problem was my arm was killing me. During the second game of the season, into the 4th inning, my arm hurt so bad I was forced to take massive amounts of pain killers and on top of that I had to punch my arm while sitting in the dugout so I would feel the pain of the punch instead of the pain of the inflammation in my arm. I was facing the first batter of the inning and it happened like it was out of a movie. I threw a pitch and my arm completely gave out. I could no longer move it. I looked at my coach and he knew something was wrong. He took me out and said, "go ice your arm and we will see how it looks tomorrow." One week later I still could not move my arm. I had surgery and my life changed forever. After 6 months of rehab, I had made no progress. My arm still hurt and I couldn't throw the ball. At this point every major Doctor in the area told me I would never pitch again. I even worked with the strength and conditioning coach for the Dodgers and Giants and he told me that I was finished. I was 18 years old and my life of baseball was over. I could not accept this because it made no sense to me at all. This is why I decided to grow up and learn what had just happened in my life.
What I first learned was that the medical field is flawed. They do not have all of the answers. Hell, they had only one answer for me and that was "sorry we can't help you." I then went to coaches and pitching instructors who said if you can't pitch, then you must be finished. This is why I was forced to learn this myself or move on in my life. I loved the game and my talents, so I refused to give up on them. I spent the next five years looking outside of baseball and outside of the medical field for answers because I felt that baseball and medicine had failed me. What I found was that baseball and the medical professions live in their own little cocoons and there is a whole new world of information that has yet to penetrate these organizations. This mainly has to do with politics and traditions. Once I learned that there is a lot more information out there than what I was told, I never stopped searching for more. This searching lead to a new approach to pitching and training for me and this is how I not only pitched again but reach my velocity goal of 94mph and played minor league ball after doctors and baseball told me I was finished.
Even after I decided to retire from professional baseball, I am still searching for more information today, 16 years after my surgery. This searching and my pitching experience has given me the knowledge of pitching mechanics that very few people possess. I would have to say that my inspiration to the 3X Pitching approach came first from my career ending injury and then the discovery that most approaches to pitching were so old that I felt I could discover something revolutionary. I will let you be the judge of that.
Triple Extension (3X)
When I first learned of the phrase Triple Extension I was shocked. I was in college and I was being trained by the top strength and conditioning Coaches in the Nation, post surgery. I could not believe that in my entire career, from rec ball to high school ball in both football and baseball, I had never heard of this terminology. I was actually very upset. It felt like all of my previous Coaches were holding valuable information from me to hinder my success. This was the day I saw the light......................................................................
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