The difference between Linear Separation VS Rotational Separation lies at the foundation of 3X Pitching. Learning this difference will give you a complete understanding of what makes the high velocity pitcher. You will now understand what it means to use 3X Pitching. You will also understand why any other approach is either uncompleted or not as effective as 3X Pitching.
Hip to shoulder separation has been a popular understanding in the world of pitching instruction. The problem is most people have a poor understanding of it. Mainly because they really have no understanding of what it actually does for the pitcher. They can see the difference of hip to shoulder separation in a video analysis when compared to someone who has it but when it comes to actually trying to implement the mechanical component, they have no concept of how to use it.
In this article, I will define hip to shoulder separation to the T and also teach you how it is the intersection of power transfer and a force multiplier for the high velocity pitcher and not the generator of pitching velocity. We will also look at examples of Linear Separation VS Rotational Separation. I will then finish this article teaching you how it must be implementing into the pitching delivery.
Hip to Shoulder Separation
Hip to shoulder separation occurs when the front foot lands, stabilizes and the hips have opened. At this moment the shoulders must still be closed to the target. High velocity pitchers will have an optimal amount of hip to shoulder separation at this point in the deliver and most low velocity pitchers will have very little to no separation at all. Studies also show there are less forces put on the arm with pitchers who have more hip to shoulder separation at stride foot contact (1).
Hip to shoulder separation can be measured in two ways. One is with the amount of degrees between the hip angle and the shoulder angle at front foot strike. You can see an example of this in the first picture in the article below. The second way is with what is called separation-timing. This is measuring the the margin of time between when the hip rotation speeds peak and when the shoulder rotation speeds peak. A high velocity pitcher will have a bigger margin of separation-timing. You can learn more about these separation measurements in my article called, Study Proves Separation-Timing More Accurate Measurement Of Pitch Velocity.
What hip to shoulder separation does for the high velocity pitcher is it acts as an intersection to transfer power from the lower half into the arm and because it is a twisting force it is using the elastic energy of the core muscles to multiple the forces it is transferring. It acts as an intersection to transfer forces because once the front foot lands the high velocity pitcher will release the pitch in less than two tenths of a second. This means if the shoulders opened with the hips, like with a low velocity pitcher, then the body would not have enough time to transfer forces. If the hips open immediately at front foot strike, like a high velocity pitcher, with the shoulders still closed then this gives the body just enough time to transfer these forces up the kinetic chain into the arm. Stabilizing the pelvis and core is also critical for this energy transfer during hip to shoulder separation.
Linear Separation VS Rotational Separation Examples
Now that you should have an above average understanding of hip to shoulder separation works, let’s now look at the different ways to create it then we will discuss the pros and cons of the different approaches to separation. The first style of pitching that can create hip to shoulder separation is a more rotation approach or what we will call Rotation Separation. This means the pitcher will slam and twist the drive leg down into front foot strike to cause hip rotation. Ubaldo Jimenez is a great example of this style of Rotational Separation. The first video below is a video clip of his pitching style. The clip pauses at the point of optimal hip to shoulder separation.
The second style is called Linear Separation and a great example is Austin Adams in the second video clip below. Notice how he triple extends the drive leg launching himself into front foot strike which also creates optimal hip to shoulder separation. Both pitchers timing the late arm cocking perfectly to support optimal hip to shoulder separation.
Here are the Pros and Cons of these two styles of achieving optimal hip to shoulder separation. Let’s first start with the Rotation Separation.
Rotation Separation Pros and Cons:
- The pitcher will be forced into a short stride – Studies show short stride lengths limit pitching velocity potential (2). This also reduces perceived pitching velocity which is calculated based on the distance of the release point to the hitters eye.
- This will force the upper body to be more rotation due to the lack of linear drive – Studies show that a more rotational throw limits pitching velocity and puts more stress on the arm (3).
- This will limit the forces loaded on the arm early to reduce overcompensation of the upper body – Studies prove that decreasing the trunk energy will force the upper body to overcompensate to keep the same force on the ball (4).
- This style along with the Linear style both take the same amount of time to deliver the pitch.
Linear Separation Pros and Cons:
- This style will put the pitcher into a longer stride due to the full leg drive.
- This style also puts the pitcher closer to the hitter.
- This style will load more linear forces into the trunk which reduces the stress on the arm.
Linear Separation AKA 3X Pitching
The Linear Separation style of pitching has many more benefits for the pitcher when it comes to pitching velocity. This style is also the foundation of 3X Pitching. It gives shorter pitchers the ability to compete in a game dominated by the tall and lanky pitcher. You will not find many little guys getting away with the Rotation Separation style to pitching.
The challenge to this linear approach to separation or 3X Pitching is learning how to organize the body around this dynamic leg drive. Most beginners and young pitchers do not even have the leg power to perform this move effectively or the motor control to convert the leg drive into hip to shoulder separation. It is a process of developing this style of pitching through a young pitchers career in hopes that he can master it when he reaches the end of high school or college baseball, so he can maximum his potential in this game.
To learn more about this Linear Separation style of pitching and how to implement it into your pitching delivery through the revolutionary approach to high velocity pitching called, 3X Pitching then sign up for the FREE 30 Days to 5MPH at the top right side of this page!
- Wight J, Richards J, Hall S. – Influence of pelvis rotation styles on baseball pitching mechanics. – Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA. – Sports Biomech. 2004 Jan;3(1):67-83.
- Montgomery, J. and Knudson, D. (2002) – A method to determine stride length for baseball pitching. – Applied Research in Coaching and Athletics Annual 17, 75-84.
- Fleisig GS, Bolt B, Fortenbaugh D, Wilk KE, Andrews JR. – Biomechanical comparison of baseball pitching and long-toss: implications for training and rehabilitation. – American Sports Medicine Institute, 833 St. Vincent’s Drive, Suite 100, Birmingham, AL 35205, USA. – J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2011 May;41(5):296-303.
- Kibler WB, Chandler J. – Baseball and tennis. – In: Griffin LY, editor. , ed. Rehabilitation of the Injured Knee. St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 1995:219-226.