If you want to pitch like an elite pitcher then it makes a whole lot of sense to try to model yourself after an elite pitcher. Kind of like when you were a kid and you looked up to some older brother or some celebrity. You might have worn the same cloths as them or listened to the same music as them because you knew the more you lived like them, the more it may be possible to understand and become them. As odd as it sounds, this isn't a bad idea. I have to admit, I did it in my career and it worked. The problem becomes, when is it too much?
Pitching Video Analysis
With video analysis at the amateur or youth level, it is a great opportunity for the young athlete to step into the shoes of their ideals for a moment. It gives the pitcher the hope that if I can just move like the elite pitcher then I can accomplish what he has accomplished. I would confirm this theory and say yes, there is a chance this could happen but here is the problem. Video analysis allows us to slow down time and see things that we can not see with the human eye but at the same time, it forces us to loss track of time. This is critical because time is the measurement of speed or velocity and if your ultimate goal is to increase your speed or velocity then this can become a major problem. This is why to much analysis can result in what is called, "Analysis Paralysis." The more we get caught in analysis as athletes, the more we slow down. This is very dangerous to ones career because the higher levels of the game are separated by time. This means, the higher levels have faster athletes, which create a faster game. If you can not compete at these speeds then you will never make it to these higher levels. This is why you must use video analysis wisely.
The Theory of Real Time and the Athlete
I am going to explain here why we slow down as an effect of over analyzing a personal skill. This may be to far out in left field for you, so if you are not staying with me, just jump to the last paragraph.
The main reason for "Analysis Paralysis" is because we begin to transfer our muscle control from a subconscious level into a conscious level. This means we start to move our bodies with our brains, instead of with our nervous system. This is like when you are first learning a dance move and you feel like a goof ball as you are starting to learn the dance but overtime as you get more comfortable with the movements, you begin to relax and enjoy yourself. It always happens this way because as you start learning the dance, you are using your thoughts to control your movements and then as you continue the pattern of movements, your nervous system is alerted that this is a pattern and then your nervous system takes control of the repetitive movement as your brain relaxes into enjoyment. This continues on until the brain tells the nervous system that a new pattern has begun. Another way to understand this theory in your everyday life is the next time you are driving a car and you take a right or left turn, notice that you never once thought to your self, "OK, [Your Name], grab the wheel at 12 and 6 o'clock and rotate the wheel counterclockwise for a total of 3.75 rotations." This would more than likely cause an accident and you may feel that you need to be committed into a mental hospital. This is because if you had to do this every time you took a left turn in the car, the process would slow down your reaction time because you are having to verbalize and visualize the entire process while it is actually happening. This adds a complexity to a simple process and prevents the skill from occurring effectively in real time. This is what happens when we over analyze our pitcher delivery. We get so caught up in the analysis, that our brain is doing all the work and our nervous system is never given control. This will also produce pitching mechanics that may look like an elite pitcher on film but your speed and pitching velocity has suffered.
The most effective way to use video analysis is only a few times a month. You need to keep the big picture that if you are going to become an elite pitcher, you not only have to have similar mechanics as the elite pitcher but you must move through these mechanics with similar speeds. So when you get a video analysis of you pitching next to an elite pitcher here at Topvelocity.net, you also need to get the speeds of the pitcher and then work to match his speeds as well. For example, if his vertical is 38 inches then your vertical needs to be 38 inches. If his 60 yard dash is 6.6 seconds then your 60 yard dash needs to be 6.6 seconds. Don't just be satisfied with having similar mechanics on film of an elite pitcher because you could then fall victim to, "Analysis Paralysis."
To understand this process of learning elite mechanics like the 3X mechanics in full detail, I recommend that you now read this article on the 3 Stages of Learning.