November 25, 2011
We have entered the moment of “We are the experts, what do you know about baseball? and this is the way we are going to teach the pitching motion to your son. Nobody else knows like we do, you are overcoaching him, interfering with his progress; his velocity is not improving and he needs to quit lifting and working on such an agressive linear motion toward the plate.” As a PGA professional, I certainly understand the importance of proper technique, with the emphasis on arm health. I am sorry to say that I have never been able to have a discussion or an exchange of ideas and philosophies with our coaches, without being treated as ameddling parent. What a shame. The assistant coach is even a subscriber to your website! He is the pitching coach and is still coaching full leg lift PRIOR to starting the linear motion. HELP!!! Shaun
April 27, 2008
I understand their frustration with the 3X approach. I would advise these coaches to work with the 3X approach instead of trying to work against it. If they watch the hundreds of video analysis on this site of low velocity pitchers they will see a common pattern of a late, short and slow linear move. 3X pitching has proved how triple extension of the drive leg is the only way a pitcher is going to enhance hip to shoulder separation which the NPA has proven is 80% of a pitchers potential velocity. So, coaching a pitcher to stop weight training and to have a less aggressive linear move will in return reduce his speed and power as an athlete and the use of this speed and power in his delivery.
What Conner is really struggling with is motor coordination of these power pitching mechanics and a poor strength to weight ratio. This means it is best that he continues to work to program this motor coordination through perfect practice of these mechanics which I believe is best developed through the 3X drills, along with improving his strength to weight ratio through the full spectrum of power training which includes the Olympic Lifts, Plyometrics and speed and agility training.
Shaun, I understand your frustration as a parent. My opinion of coaches is that the only purpose they serve to the athlete is that of a motivator and an educator. If they are not providing either of the two then they are of no use to your son unless they are making the roster based on politics which a lot of them do.
July 14, 2011
An Open Letter to Connor's Pitching Coach:
I don't know you, and I don't know Connor or his dad. As someone who has coached baseball at many different levels for over 30 years, I certainly understand all the complexities involved in dealing with players and their parents. So, in writing this letter I'm fully aware that I don't know everything about the situation.
Here is what I know based strictly on Connor's father's communications with Brent Porciau on this website. Connor has made the effort to try to improve as a pitcher by embracing the ideas and training techniques advocated here in the 3X program. After no more than a couple of months of these efforts, you have informed him that it's not working and that you don't believe in the mechanics taught in 3X. You specifically believe in a less aggressive linear motion and believe that a pitcher should lift to balance before beginning the move forward. Furthermore, according to Connor's dad, you consider his interest in his son and his career as interfering and meddling. Also, according to his dad, you consider yourself a pitching expert.
I am not an expert. I am a learner. As a passionate student of pitching information, I think you would have a hard time naming any prominent form of pitching information that I have not studied. But, I may very well have missed some and am looking forward to learning from an expert like you. Most people who come to this website come to learn. The pitchers and their parents who come to this site are looking for help with their pitching career – usually because the coaches they are working with are not experts such as yourself and are not contributing anything positive to their development. I understand that you are a subscriber to this website. As such, I truly hope that you read this letter and respond to it. If you do not see it, I hope that Connor's dad can respectfully bring it to your attention. I read once that one of the reasons Brent started this website was to debate people who disagreed with his approach. In my time on the site I haven't seen a serious attempt to do that. I hope you have the courage and the passion for your craft to do so.
My intention is not to debate you – but, to learn from you. So, I have a number of questions for you – beginning with this one: You apparently believe that Connor's lack of improvement after two months on the program is an indication that the 3X system is flawed. Have you never worked with a pitcher for two months or more without seeing significant gains? If not, you are uniquely qualified to teach us about the pitching motion because you are not just the greatest baseball coach I've ever heard of – you are the greatest coach of any sport or activity that I have ever heard of.
On this site is Brent Porciau's 17 minute analysis of Connor's delivery. In it he lauds Connor for his effort and his
improvement, but he very definitely points out that at this stage in his career Connor is not achieving triple extension – the key to 3X pitching. I do video analysis myself and can immediately recognize that Connor's delivery is dominated by his front leg and is slowing down both his linear and his rotational movements – costing him velocity and putting undue strain on his arm. Are you willing to post your complete analysis of Connor's delivery and share with us how a less aggressive
linear move forward and lifting to balance before moving forward will improve his velocity, command, and arm health?
Are you familiar with the National Pitching Association's 2005-2006 study that Brent quotes frequently and has based his 3X program on – which concludes that:
- 80% of a pitcher's real velocity comes from the torque of hip and shoulder separation, and…
- Biomechanical inefficiencies are minimized when there is less time in a pitcher's weight transfer.
Do you disagree with those conclusions? Can you refute them with any evidence? (Tom House supervised the study. The NPA's board of advisors includes Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Orel Hershiser, Bobby Valentine, Dusty Baker, Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute, and Dr. James Andrew, among others.)
Are you familiar with Tom House's latest book “Arm Action, Arm Path, and the Perfect Pitch: Building a Million-Dollar Arm“? In it he states that based on his scientific studies: “The statistical evidence that supports the importance of first forward movement, dynamic balance, stride distance, and time is quite clear.” A pitcher should “stride as far and as
fast as possible without losing your balance or posture.” A pitcher should also “initiate forward momentum immediately upon first movement” as his many examples do – including Pedro Martinez, Roy Oswalt, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Yohan Santana.
Are you familiar with the work of Tom House, Ron Wolforth, Paul Reddick, Paul Nyman, Dick Mills, Brent Strom (minor league pitching instuctor for the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals), and Derek Johnson (pitching coach at Vanderbilt University) and the many others who advocate exactly the kind of delivery that Brent Porciau teaches in the 3X program? Do you dispute their teachings and can you provide justification for disputing them? (If you are not familiar with the work of all of the above, I seriously question your credentials as an expert.)
I am not personally familiar with a single noted expert who has concluded in the past ten years that high performance pitchers actually lift to a balance point before moving forward. Can you name one? Can you a name a single major league pitcher who lifts to a balance point out of the stretch position (the position Connor was in for Brent's analysis) before moving forward when there are runners on base? I've studied hundreds and have never seen one. I'm looking forward to your rationale for such a move and its effect on both the pitcher's velocity and the head start it gives a runner on first base.
What are your sources for your own theories of pitching? How much time have you spent studying pitching deliveries? Can you quote any recognized experts who disagree with the approach of 3X and the other well-known pitching coaches listed above?
Have you ever watched Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Whitey Ford, Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, or any other hall of famer pitch? Can you point one out to me who lifted to a balance point before moving forward?
As a subscriber to this site, have you watched and studied the hundreds of analyses that Brent has done of pitchers who have been taught the mechanics you are teaching? Do you dispute my own conclusion that coaches who teach such mechanics are preventing their pitchers from realizing their potential and are harming their arms? How would you advise the many slow-moving balance-point low-velocity pitchers on this site to improve their velocity? Better genetics?
I am no expert on training for strength or speed of movement. If you are, I am looking forward to learning
from you the flaws in the 3X training system and your own superior training techniques.
Brent Porciau's 3X program advocates a delivery that features early lift leg momentum, an aggressive load driven by correct application of the force vector, speed and timing of movement that results in the full triple extension of the drive leg and hip and shoulder separation, and stabilization of the landing leg – plus a full 16+ week program of training techniques to develop the motor coordination, strength, and speed to perform such a delivery. It is the best approach to lower body mechanics I have seen in my thirty years of studying pitching. What are your specific criticisms of the program and what is your alternative?
Assuming that he handled it respectfully, do you really consider a parent's interest in his son to be “interfering” or “meddling”? And as a test of your integrity, are you going to hold it against either Connor or his father if they bring this letter to your attention?
It has been my observation that the kind of mechanics that Brent advocates are now so widespread and embraced by the true experts that they are on the verge of becoming conventional themselves. However, I never cease to be amazed that the vast majority of coaches at all amateur levels are still stuck in their clueless, isolated, intellectually incurious world of completely discredited theories and techniques. That situation makes non-experts like me look like experts by comparison when what we teach young pitchers makes so much sense and is so effective. What upsets me about the situation is that those coaches stuck in the conventional past through their own lack of effort to learn are hurting young pitchers.
But, I'm no expert – just a learner. And I am hoping that Connor's dad will take this opportunity for all of us to learn and specifically to help his son by respectfully bringing this to your attention. And I want to be clear, Coach – I am challenging you to answer my questions on behalf of what I believe is an approach to pitching that is antiquated and invalid – and is harming young pitchers. I hope you have the courage to respond.
Proud father of a U.S. Marine (HOME from Afghanistan)
July 14, 2011
April 27, 2008
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