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Teacherman's Approach to Pitching
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Zedoryu
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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July 5, 2012 - 1:32 am
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Coach: Z, you forgot to explain to us how Haren got airborne without pushing off with his back leg. Haren got airborne because he tried to one: either try and force all the energy into the upper body by jerking the body in an upward motion, or two: he tried to force everything to move linearly. Watch my analysis and you'll see what I mean. I didn't get airborne, but I slided linearly. Or three: He got airborne because he actually did push off his back leg. In a sense that he pushed way before he got airborne. I don't know.

I guess you can say his approach is like you put force onto your hips preventing it from rotating while scap loading and trying to pull your arm back. This is definitely taking some definition of 3X. However, the way he thinks it produces velocity is from the over-rotation of the arm. This is obviously going to be detrimental to your arm as you are stressing your arm to stay back. He also thinks that velocity comes from resisting rotation until the end. This is definitely true, but it works with 3X as 3X opens the hips at the fastest pace right before front foot strike. I think this is what he means. Not too sure.

So I don't know why he's complaining since it somehow works with 3X, it's just not as defined. He has a super high ego, but I guess everyone has an ego, and like Coach said, he has probaby stopped trying to learn.

       

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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July 5, 2012 - 11:00 am
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Coach Robo and Z, great stuff! If you guys ever notice that I have stopped learning or have closed my mind to new information please call me out on it. As far as I am concerned if that day ever comes and I realize it, I will retire!

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Coach Robo
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July 5, 2012 - 1:54 pm
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After looking over his posts, I think you guys are giving him too much credit.  Like a lot of people, he talks a lot and doesn't say much.  There's not much there. 

The "eliminating momentum", generating power "without momentum", pitching "in a phone booth", the "rear leg should not push forward linearly", "hip and shoulder separation is not what you want", "you want the separation to be in the rear hip socket",  and the "rear leg/hip pulls" stuff is all just nonsense as it applies to pitching and not worth spending any time on.  (He says he's a "hitting guy".  I can understand the concept of hitting in a phone booth - although there are respected hitting instructors like Perry Husband who very much emphasize forward momentum in hitting.  There are even more hitting theories out there than pitching theories.  But, clearly no one could or should pitch in a phone booth.  If you take his advice and "watch the best", that pretty much ends the discussion of any of the above.)

There are three concepts - all valid - in his posts that come directly from Paul Nyman:  bow-flex-bow, scapula loading, and pelvic loading.  (This guy is surely foaming at the mouth that I am explaining his approach and he can't answer, and that I'm attributing some of his ideas to Paul Nyman.  I noticed on his website that he is calling Nyman a coward and challenging him to defend his "garbage" on the site.  Nyman has had the good sense not to respond since the challenge was issued 7-8 months ago.)  Paul Nyman is an engineer and a brilliant (some think - including me) theorist and researcher on pitching who operated a web site called SETPRO and has influenced a lot of well-known pitching instructors such as Ron Wolforth, Brent Strom, and Derek Johnson (Vanderbilt's highly-respected pitching coach) on both mechanics and training.  He has a very corrosive personality himself and has given up pitching instruction in the last few years because there aren't enough pitchers committed enough for him to help.  He still posts on a few websites under a pseudonym.  (Nyman would also hate that I'm presenting his ideas.  What is it with you pitching gurus, Brent...)

Bow/flex/bow:  Teacherman says that "EVERY high level thrower" has this action - and he's right.  (He calls it bow/arch/bow.)  I'm all but sure that his video of Mike Mussina came directly from Paul Nyman.  It is a good illustration of how every high level thrower (not just pitcher) throws. 

Scapula Load:  The movement from the first "bow" into the "flex/arch" and then release into the second bow creates a scapula load and unload - the pinching together of the shoulder blades and then their release into ball release.  All high level throwers scap load also.  I think you could and should teach these two moves to young throwers if they don't do them naturally.  But, at the age I work with (mostly 14-18+), my experience is that if they're not throwing this way at that age they're probably just not going to be pitchers or very good throwers.  Simulate a throw without pinching your shoulder blades together and you'll see that the best you can do is just push the ball with nothing on it.  There's a lot more science to both concepts than I've explained - but it's not very useful.  You can teach it late with a lot of time and effort, but if you're not bowing and flexing and loading your scapulas by the time you're approaching high school, you probably just need to find another sport. 

Pelvic load:  A lot more could be written about pelvic loading than I'm going to be able to in a short description.  But, it's a very important concept.  Stand in an athletic stance and pinch your knees a few inches toward each other.  The tension you feel in your pelvic region is pelvic loading.  Loading and holding it as long as you can into foot strike contributes to faster hip rotation when you release the tension late.  3X addresses pelvic load two ways that I can think of.  One is with the closing of the lift leg as the body moves forward.  The second is with 3X's emphasis on keeping your lead foot closed as long into the stride as possible.  You can't maintain a pelvic load after you open your front foot.  Early foot rotation is early pelvic unloading and uses up the kinetic energy of the load before the throw begins.  Keeping your foot closed does not necessarily mean you are loading your pelvis, but early foot rotation definitely kills any pelvic load. 

Pelvic load is the only interesting thing that Teacherman had to offer, but it's certainly not his discovery.  It's worth further discussion and thought as it applies to 3X.  Brent would have been more than willing to discuss it civilly with him.  But, that's not the kind of guy he is.  I wouldn't recommend spending any more time thinking about him or his "ideas".       

       

Proud father of a U.S. Marine (HOME from Afghanistan)

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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July 5, 2012 - 3:12 pm
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Coach Robo, as always you are a major asset at TopVelocity.net. I hope you can call this site your home away from home because you are always welcome here!

This is what kept throwing me off about him, "Coil your REAR hip around the ball of the femur.  Just the rear hip.  Pelvis will move.  But use JUST the muscles that turn the rear hip......Stalemate in the socket.  Rag is wrung.  Jar lid is tight." This coiling of the hip socket was one of the things he continued to repeat. I can't figure out what he is asking the pitcher to do. He makes it sound like this coiling is like setting a catapult and will cause every pitcher to throw 90+. I really feel this is what he believes which is what I felt was the major flaw in his entire approach. Sense you are the best at interpreting these "gurus" what do you think he is describing here?

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Money
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July 5, 2012 - 3:43 pm
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I know Ive been absent myself...Banned??? What did he do?? doesnt matter!!!

 

Bottom line is IM back for somethine we disscused way back, and where else do you go for some hard evidence???

 

Of course!!!!!!!! Top Velocity!!!! 

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Coach Robo
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July 5, 2012 - 4:48 pm
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Hold a beach ball between your knees and squeeze them together.  (We might be inventing a new drill.)  The tension you feel is a pelvic load.  If you can maintain that tension through the stride – storing kinetic energy – until just before you land, I think you can see that the timing of your pelvic tension unloading and your foot flying open would sync with the back foot to increase the speed of your hips opening.  The opposite of that effect would be the many pitchers you see who open their foot way too early, killing any tension and stored energy in the pelvic muscles and resulting in slower hip rotation and almost certainly no hip/shoulder separation.

I can see wringing the rag and tightening the jar as applicable – if somewhat clunky – analogies.  But, I don’t think they’re necessary to understand the concept.  I’ve heard you talk about keeping your knees together as long as you can – Kershaw is an excellent example – and I think that’s a better cue to a pitcher than wringing or tightening.

I have no idea how to coil the rear hip around the femur – and I don’t feel deprived not knowing.  And I can’t imagine why you would focus just on the back hip.  The tension in the pelvic load comes from both sides and it’s the synchronization of the lower extremeties opening that creates speed. 

I think he’s just using a convoluted way – one that apparently works for him – to describe the very simple act of creating tension in the pelvis to store energy until the latest and therefore fastest possible opening of the feet and hips to create separation.  The only thing I can see this possibly adding to 3X is that if you get a pitcher to do all the things that create separation, you might want to experiment with creating more tension in the pelvis and releasing it at the proper moment to create even more speed for some possibly incremental improvement in velocity.  Maybe even the beach ball drill would work.

I have worked with several pitchers to create more tension in the pelvic muscles for the purpose of saving the energy for the latest possible release.  But, I never made it sound this complicated.  I think you already teach moves that contribute to the effect a pelvic load is intended to create.  You might want to put some thought and research into the usefulness of creating and maintaining tension in the pelvic muscles through the stride and the timing of its release.  If the beach ball thing works, you can call it the Robo drill.  I’d be honored. 

Proud father of a U.S. Marine (HOME from Afghanistan)

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July 5, 2012 - 4:57 pm
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Its very hard to put a verbal cue to separation..I use Brents "bands" drill for it and my only cue is..We want to go forward and leave the arm behind us, the hips will bring it around.

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Zedoryu
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July 5, 2012 - 5:37 pm
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I guess you can say you use this for the 'hitting in the phone booth' approach. Remember Brent's article on how to improve velocity for position players, this could be a drill that develops the player to increase tension and fire the muscles to create hip to shoulder separation. Force Vector, Pelvic Load, Separation. And yes Brent does teach it, but there's no real term for it and pretty much it's to keep your foot closed for as long as possible.
But I guess you're right. We're giving him to much credit. But you can say that we're just trying to help this coach learn new concept while we learn from him.

       

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