You are not pitching with your legs!
You need to learn to be more aggressive!
You need to be more explosive when pitching on the mound!
I am sure you have heard this a few times in your pitching career. I am also sure you have struggled to look for the solution to this major problem.
So, you want to be more explosive but you have no idea how to do it. The number one reason most low-velocity pitchers can not just move more explosively is that their pitching mechanics will not allow it. This is because most low-velocity pitchers start what is called early trunk rotation.
This principle is at times described by coaches as “throwing with too much arm,” in which the energy from trunk rotation is transferred to the upper arm too early and dissipated instead of being applied to the hand and ball (1).
This from a study called, Effects of Upper Trunk Rotation on Shoulder Joint Torque Among Baseball Pitchers of Various Levels. Just like the excerpt from the study says, you can not just move more explosively because the added energy is being dissipated and not converted into ball speed.
In this article, you will learn how to reverse engineer your pitching mechanics to prevent this dissipation. You will also learn the top 10 reasons you have not reached your potential as an explosive pitcher. I will then leave you with a plan to solve all of these explosive pitching problems.
Engineering the Explosive Pitcher
You will learn the number one reason you are not an explosive pitcher is that of early trunk rotation or the shifting of your momentum to your front side too early in your pitching delivery. The only way to prevent this early trunk rotation or early momentum shift is by reversing your pitching mechanics. You more than likely start your delivery falling into front foot strike. This will cause your upper body to shift forward in your stride starting an early release. Just trying to lead with your front hip will not prevent this early release. The only way you will prevent this early shift forward an early release of your upper body is by implementing a well-timed "leg drive."
A "leg drive," specifically timed just before front foot strike, will start hip rotation during arm cocking. This will delay trunk rotation in the process preventing the early release. It is the most difficult high-velocity movement pattern a low-velocity pitcher must learn. This is because the movement feels completely opposite of what the low-velocity pitcher is used too. I call this transformation, from the low-velocity early shift to the high velocity "leg drive," reverse engineering the pitcher.
To master this elite movement pattern, of a well-timed "leg drive" or 3X before front foot strike of the high-velocity pitcher, could take 300 reps in the best athlete to 30,000 reps in the worst.
Top Ten Reason You Are Not An Explosive Pitcher
Once we can control the early shift of momentum in the low-velocity pitcher, we still have more problems to overcome before we develop a more explosive move pitching. We can not move forward to work on these problems until we first reverse engineer how we move into front foot strike.
Here is a list of the top 10 reasons you are NOT an explosive pitcher.
- Early Trunk Rotation or Shift of Momentum - This mechanical flaw was defined above and you can learn more about how to create more late trunk rotation in this articled linked here which will remove this major problem that prevents explosive pitching. The article is called, Pitching Study Proves Late Trunk Rotation Increases Arm Speed.
- Overly Aggressive Lift Leg - This is very common with low-velocity pitchers. The big mistake when trying to create a more explosive stride is using the lift leg to do it. This will cause the hips to open too early and the drive leg to collapse preventing the burst of speed just before front foot strike which is the foundation of the explosive pitcher.
- Early Arm Action - This mechanical flaw is related to early trunk rotation. You can have early trunk rotation with late arm action which will create high ball speeds but is hard on the arm. Early arm action will always prevent a pitcher from reaching his top velocity. When working on preventing early trunk rotation a pitcher must also work to prevent early arm action as well.
- Vertical Force Vector - If the drive leg does not move into a linear position then the only leg on the ground can not move the body towards the target, therefore you will never create an explosive move. This mechanical component is one of the key components of 3X Pitching and you can learn about it in the FREE 3 Part Series on 30 Days to 5MPH or here in this video analysis, I did of a young pitcher.
- Poor Ankle and Hip Mobility - When the ankle is tight the pitcher can not flex the leg well. This lack of flexion will prevent an explosive extension. More specifically an explosive triple extension or 3X of the drive leg. Poor hip mobility will also prevent this 3X extension with the hip flexor and poor hip mobility with preventing hip rotation which has a high correlation to pitching velocity. You can learn more about the hip mobility demands of the high-velocity pitcher in this article called, Scientific Proof that 3X is Key to Separation and Pitching Velocity.
- Loss of Drive Leg Torsion - If the pitcher cannot maintain stability in the drive leg through torsion then this loss of stability will prevent the pitcher from being able to extend the leg in an explosive manner. To learn more about this advanced approach to high-velocity pitching called 3X Torsion checkout my latest article called, 3X Torsion is High Velocity Pitching GOLD.
- Poor Strength to Weight Ratio - Pitching mechanics are only as effective as the athletic ability of the pitcher. To learn more about this misconception of perfect pitching mechanics check out my article called, The Perfect Pitching Mechanics Problem. Once you have established the fact that the more strength and power you have the easier it is for you to create better movement patterns then you can work to enhance your athletic performance to increase ball speed. This performance enhance must come first in developing an elite Strength to Weight Ratio. This ratio should be at 2 times your body weight.
- Poor Power to Weight Ratio - As you develop an elite Strength to Weight Ratio you can work to develop an elite Power to Weight Ratio. This means you combine elite speed with elite strength. This is critical to developing an explosive pitching delivery which takes less than 1 second in the high-velocity pitcher. To learn more about how this Power to Weight ratio supports 3X, check out my article called, Study Proves Olympic Lifting Critical for Training 3X Power. I would also highly recommend that you read my article called, Pitching Velocity and the Critical Power to Weight Ratio, to learn more about the Power to Weight Ratio for pitchers.
- Poor Vertical Jump - Not only does the explosive pitcher need a high Power to Weight Ratio but this needs to correlate to a high vertical jump so we know this power is in the low half and not living in the upper body or core. Vertical jump height means the ability to develop explosive triple extension or 3X. The majority of high-velocity pitchers that I have recorded have 30+ inch vertical jumps. For example, Brandon Morrow at 31 inches (Got this first hand from working with his brother Scott at a 3X Velocity Camp), Mariano Rivera at 32 inches, Tim Collins 38 inches, Chris Archer 39 inch Single Leg Box Jump, and Dylan Bundy 53 inch Standing Box Jump. I also have more 90mph pitchers that have trained through the 3X Pitching Velocity Program averaging over 30-inch verticals. If you have any numbers from pro pitchers on performance data please post it in the comments here!
- Unable to Activate Motor Unit Maximum Threshold - Even with all of the mechanical components in place to move explosively and with an average Strength and Power to Weight Ratio, if you can not activate all of your motor units at a maximum threshold then you are leaving explosive power on the table. Studies show training at intensities of over 80% of your one rep max is critical to maximum power output (2).
The Explosive Pitching Program
The 3X Pitching Velocity Program was built strictly to develop the explosive pitcher. It incorporates the motor coordination training to teach the high-velocity movements of the explosive pitcher along with the strength and conditioning to maximize power output and dynamic athletic performance. It also goes into mobility and ATP training as an added bonus. To learn more about the top pitching velocity program online to develop the explosive pitcher checkout the program here!
Explosive Pitching Reference:
- Arnel L. Aguinaldo, Janet Buttermore, and Henry Chambers - Effects of Upper Trunk Rotation on Shoulder Joint Torque Among Baseball Pitchers of Various Levels - Children’s Hospital San Diego Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 2007; 23:42-51. © 2007 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Kawamori N, Haff GG. - The optimal training load for the development of muscular power. - Department of Kinesiology, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas 76308, USA. - J Strength Cond Res. 2004 Aug;18(3):675-84.