If I was in a room of conventional baseball coaches and I said, "Arm speed is poor contributor to pitching velocity," you would probably hear the crickets living in the room. Why do most coaches and commentators in this game believe pitching velocity is the result of arm speed and arm strength? Because they believe it is as simples as the arm releases the ball, so it must do most of the work to throw it. That would be like saying, when I get a fever I feel sick, therefore fevers make me sick. Humans once thought this was the truth, just like humans still believe arms throw baseballs when really, bodies as a single unit of movement, throw the baseball.
You can't actually separate the arm from the body. It is all connected and every extremity is influenced by the entire system from the toes to the finger tips. Yes, you can force your arm to do most of the work but this would be like spinning your tires to make the car go faster. The better approach is to put more horsepower in the engine and convert it to the tires efficiently through the transmission.
In this article, I will define why arm speed or arm strength is poor contributor of pitching velocity and what the most effective approach to increasing pitching velocity is.
Why is Arm Speed Poor Contributor to Pitching Velocity?
The simplest answer to this question is momentum or inertia. Once the body starts moving while holding the baseball, there is potential energy that can transfer into the ball without the arm moving a muscle. This means the body begins to store energy to be transferred through it like a pool stick to an 8 ball. Lets not get carried away though, the arm is a contributor but it fails when you are trying to throw at an elite level of speed and you are making the arm the main generator of velocity. The arms most important job is to release the energy at the perfect moment. Most professional pitchers call this perfection their release point.
The better approach is to define the arm as an important contributor of the kinetic chain. It serves a greater purpose as a force regulator or a funnel of energy NOT a force generator. The force generation is better performed in the large muscle groups like the legs and core.
I like using the analogy of the hose. Think of the body as a hose and the legs as the pump to push the water up the hose. If the hose was bent back at the end like the arm laying back before pitch release when the water or energy pushed up the hose then the end would fire into extension before the water would shoot out of the hose. This is the reason why the arm extends in the pitching delivery following external rotation. If the arm was just working like a catapult system then the arm would strictly internally rotate as it is fired from external rotation like a catapult but it doesn't. The pitching arm moves into extension as it releases the ball which is a reaction to flexion and the momentum or energy traveling up the body towards the target. Therefore the contributing forces are rotation and extension in the pitching arm. This means it is working like the hose or pool stick to release the energy moving up the body and also the catapult or mouse trap releasing torque from rotation to help multiply the forces of energy into the ball.
Science Showing Arm Speed is Poor Contributor of Pitching Velocity
There are three studies below showing that arm speeds and the arm strength to handle more torque is actually more prevalent at the lower levels of pitching than the higher levels. This information must get out to the public because the arm injury epidemic is coming from the conventional wisdom that is pushing young pitchers to increase arm speed to enhance performance when all this is doing is causing more injury in the game. Please share or retweet this information!
We have one study showing professional pitcher use less arm speed to throw higher ball speed than college pitchers. We also have another study that shows older professional pitchers use less arm speed to throw as hard as younger professional pitchers.
Another Study Showing Arm Speeds Poor Factor in Pitching Velocity. Baseball Culture Must Stop Pushing Young Pitchers to Increase Arm Speed or Arm Strength to Enhance Performance if We are Going to Reduce Injury Rate. Learn how entire body works together as single unit to generate pitching velocity with 3X Pitching. #throwhard #baseballpitching #pitchingmechanics #pitching #kinetichain
Another Study Finds Arm Speeds Poor Factor in Pitching Velo. Stop Pushing Young Pitchers to Increase Arm Speed So We Can Reduce Injury Rate pic.twitter.com/qRECUenCpA
— Brent Pourciau (@TopVelocity) June 29, 2017
High School Pitchers throw harder than Youth Pitchers w/ less Arm Speed. Pro Pitchers throw harder than College Pitchers w/ less Arm Speed pic.twitter.com/7LW8flDfwT
— Brent Pourciau (@TopVelocity) December 13, 2016
Why Do Pro Pitchers Use Less Arm Speed
Study below shows that professional pitchers put less torques on their arm based on body weight than all other levels which is good indication that professional pitchers become professionals because they learn to use their bodies more efficiently. Most arm speed approaches would say elite or professional pitchers have more arm speed or arm strength than all other levels of play but based on the three studies listed here it looks to be that the opposite is true.
We definitely need more information and studies to define the correlation of why this is occurring but logically it makes sense that professional pitchers are more efficient total body machines than the lower levels of the game. The key is learning how professional pitchers are able to do this. The second case study above believes it is linked to the older professional pitchers ability to time movements better through the entire body as it generates and transfers energy into the baseball.
More studies also need to be done to find the correlation of pitchers who throw with more arm speeds or arm torques to arm injury. Maybe this will help us reverse the injury epidemic in this great sport. You can help start the process now by retweeting or reposting these case studies and help bring more awareness to this critical information.
Study: Delayed Trunk timing reduces arm stress. This means stop pulling glove side to create arm speed. Use 3X Med Throws to train Trunk Sep pic.twitter.com/A26x9v1tP1
— Brent Pourciau (@TopVelocity) March 8, 2017
Arm Speed Video
Here is a great video to share on your social networks to help bring more awareness.
Controversy alert! ? Arm speed is a poor contributor to pitching velocity. Multiple third party studies have some interesting findings. In one study, they found, high school pitchers throw harder than youth pitchers with less arm speed and pro pitchers throw harder than college pitchers with less arm speed. Another study looked at younger and older pitchers from rookie ball to the MLB. They found the older pitchers were throwing the same velocity as the younger pitchers, but with less arm speed. In our own biometrics analysis we have seen similar findings with low velocity pitchers having the same arm speeds as high velocity pitchers, but they were nowhere near similar in their lower half and trunk movements. Baseball needs to shift away from this arm speed or arm strength culture. Develop total body power and optimize the use of the kinetic chain to efficiently transfer energy from the ground to the ball. This is not only a more effective way to enhance performance, but it would significantly reduce the amount of injury in this game. Video production ? @stevenguadagni #pitchingmechanics #pitching #baseball #weightedballs #tommyjohnsurgery #mlb #milb #minorleaguebaseball #perfectgame #usssabaseball #ilovebaseball #baseballlife #baseballislife #baseballamerica #ncaabaseball #collegebaseball #highschoolbaseball
Controversy alert! ? Arm speed is a poor contributor to pitching velocity. Multiple third party studies have some interesting findings. pic.twitter.com/E7Zh36rgic
— Brent Pourciau (@TopVelocity) June 30, 2017
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