How Hunter Pence Throws Hard and Deadlifts Made Me Short

Brent Pourciau:
On this episode, we break down Hunter Pence‘s throwing mechanics.

Steven Guadagni:
And do squats and deadlifts make you short?

Brent Pourciau:
Brent Pourciau and Steven Guadagni here on The @TopVelocity #PitchingTips show. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, musically. @TopVelocity #PitchingTips #BaseballTips. Ask your question, it may end up on the show. Same old week here in the fall. Cool thing, we got the DA coming on Sunday. Getting excited about the DEA. Going to crank up the grind. If you haven’t seen the 2 episodes of the grind, go back and watch them. Pretty cool, we are going to show you every day activities here and grinding away at top the loss of the. Also, to come check out the 2×3 program at topvelocity.net. If you haven’t got into the program, this is a big time for you before your spring to make some big gains mang. Going to make some big gains.

Steven Guadagni:
I’ve never heard you do that, that’s awesome.

Brent Pourciau:
Cool, so check those out. Topvelocity.net. Also, too, the camps. We got a October 9th camp coming up. Hurry up and book that camp, it’s not that… Typically, the fall camps don’t really fill up that much. I think I got 4 spots left. We only take 10. Normally they are almost sold out by at this point. I still got spots left. A lot of the guys training here, right now. If you want to come down and train, you’ve got to come to the camps. Love to have you. Check out with Stephen, he’s got a place, if you need a place to stay.

Steven Guadagni:
I really got one spot left.

Brent Pourciau:
Got one spot left, though.

Steven Guadagni:
The DA coming in and taking one, too.

Brent Pourciau:
Then we are supposed to have the Wheatly’s down, which is going to be called or at least one of them. Getting our program is down, which is pretty awesome. Let’s get started for today. What’s our first question for today.

Steven Guadagni:
darkpiano23 asks, “any chance you can analyze Hunter Pence? Laughing out loud. I need someone to make sense of his mechanics.”

Brent Pourciau:
All right, Hunter Pence, one of your boys here, give them some good information on Hunter Pence, whatever you know, here we go.

Steven Guadagni:
It’s 64, 235. From what I know, if you listen to the Giants games, the announcers Mike [inaudible 00:02:27] and Wayne Kuyper, when they talk about him, all the talk about his after the game, how he is just got the craziest work ethic. The game ends, and he’s in the weight room lifting heavy. A time. That’s the biggest thing that I know about him and then he just has really weird mechanics, as everybody knows.

Brent Pourciau:
Here’s the thing, Hunter Pence, I think hearing that he lives a ton is really what it’s all about. This is a tightly wound rubber band and being a tightly bound rubberbanded, you are strong. This guy is probably a beast of a man. Has that Paul Bunyan appearance to them, the way he moves. It’s like good force on everything. I think that’s why, I mean, I know that’s why he’s injured a lot. If he had more mobility, his joints could more freely wrong, and because they can’t, they got to go quicker. That means more torques, more forces, that’s typically where you get more injury.

Steven Guadagni:
He has recently, only this year and last year, is when the injury started. Before that, he was never injured.

Brent Pourciau:
Yeah, to me, it’s end of his career. I think this guy, unfortunately, I don’t think he’s going to have longevity in his career, unless he’s just a fricking beast of a man, which could be, if he could just grind through it. I don’t see this guy playing until he’s 40. He’s had a really good career, so far, so I’m not taking away from who he’s been. I don’t think is going to stay healthy as he ages. Just the fact of the way he moves.

Steven Guadagni:
He’s 33. I didn’t know he was that old.

Brent Pourciau:
33, that’s pretty impressive. Once again, I think he’s a beast of a man but maybe the next 2 years, you might start seeing a limping Hunter Pence.

Steven Guadagni:
He keeps tearing his hamstring is what’s going on.

Brent Pourciau:
Which means what, it’s probably his glutes are shut off, he’s more quad dominant. He’s probably just a very quiet dominant.

Steven Guadagni:
Also, he’s playing and if he really is just lifting heavy after every single game, that’s a lot of stress.

Brent Pourciau:
Yeah, but it keeps his power up.

Steven Guadagni:
It keeps him at that level.

Brent Pourciau:
He needs to balance it.

Steven Guadagni:
Is that type of athlete that he needs that to compete at that level.

Brent Pourciau:
We are doing this for throwing mechanics. Hey guys, were doing a show here. People don’t really care. We’re just shooting here and they talk right in the middle of it. Here we go, we are looking at him making a throw. He serves this guy out 3rd base, so this is coming from left field. You can see, he’s not like guy who really goes in with a lot of momentum. He’s waiting for the ball. I feel like that so high school. You normally see them get some momentum going. That shows you the fact that this-

Steven Guadagni:
This play is also way over by the file line, though. At AT&T, they play really right-center, to keep it from the triple Valley. He’s probably had a long way to run to get to this ball, that would make it harder for them to get to behind it.

Brent Pourciau:
Even coming into this, you can see here, he was just drifting. He was way under the ball.

Steven Guadagni:
I know what you mean, completely.

Brent Pourciau:
It’s probably just a high trajectory, but still, he doesn’t do a good job of getting momentum, which takes away from ball speed. In this throw, it’s on a line. We are not going to watch the throw. It’s on a line to 3rd base, so with Hunter Pence, it shows how powerful he is. I’m just seeing the same thing, you are going to see at the beginning here. A lot of brute strength but not getting it from his momentum, so it just forces it to the ground. Watch as he receives the ball here. He then quickly, little shuffle step to turn his shoulders, then he plants his feet right here. Actually, he turns his shoulders then he shuffle steps. That’s a good little pushoff that back leg.

We are looking at this leg right here. Good little push here to form. You can see it right there, that’s pretty distinctive, or pretty decent little push to get his momentum going. Then he shuffle steps behind, now he plants. He plants hard. He puts that leg down, he sits into the hip really good. I don’t like how he leans into the ipsilateral. He loads into that leg really well and he stays back on that leg. He starting to put front foot down and he’s still on that back leg, which is good. You can see as he cocks the arm, he drives the knee forward at the same time. Arm up, and the full. He’s trying to drives the hips through, through the ground, we would look at his 2x extension, the ankle and hip flexor as he drives the hips through.

End of that, he cocks and tries to separate, but here’s the tightly wound rubber band. As the hips open right here, the shoulder quickly catches up with it, now it passes it up. There was just a delayed moment right there of some separation of shoulders to hips by like a few degrees. [inaudible 00:06:56] you don’t see a lot of position players get pitching separation. It doesn’t happen because it just delays the motion, and mostly field throwing is relying on time to where you’re going, that has a lot to do with it. Ball speed isn’t as significant, even though it’s the same thing on the mound. Unless you got a guy on base, if you don’t have a guy on base, it’s just once it comes out of your hand, how fast he gets up late, and that’s purely velocity.

Here, it’s not so much on speed over time to release, it’s a good combination of both. Here’s what he’s trying to do. He still, obviously, gets good force to the hips up the chain, because he doesn’t even fully externally rotate. Once again, I just think tightly wound rubber band. Let’s think of 2 rubber bands, think of the long and floppy one, that’s easy to pull back but you gonna pull up far to get it going. Let’s think of the short and thick one. Hard to pull it back but was you don’t have to pull it back far. You pull it back just enough and you get your power out. I’m thinking tightly wound rubber band. Then look, the arm doesn’t even pull down much.

It’s a healthy arm path. It continues to rotate and it’s a little slide on for him. That’s the only negative I have for him, he’s a little too rotational. It shoots out to the side but there’s no pulling down and it quickly goes out to release and it entirely rotates around. I think if he would’ve had his trunk more upright when he hit front foot, he could have pushed his trunk out as opposed to rotate often extend his I. The only criticism of him is I don’t like his transposition, it’s making and rotation, but what I’m seeing is just brute force, pure brute force coming out of his hand and throwing this BB over to 3rd base and he has that good arm. Same thing we looked at Sesbudus in the last out fielding one, same thing.

Besides Ankeil, I think Ankeil’s a retired outfielder who was a converted pitcher who had some really good biomechanics, good separation, late arm movements, really good momentum, good front leg activity, you saw a lot more biomechanics of a high velocity thrower in there, then you see of Pence and Sesbudus because what you see is just be strong powerful brute force guys that that’s how they’re beating you. They are beating you because they are stronger and more powerful than you. Anything you want to add?

Steven Guadagni:
I mean, yeah. Watching Hunter Pence, I don’t even think he’s an above-average arm. I think he’s an average I’m from the outfield. From what I’ve watched with them, you compare him to [inaudible 00:09:39] Sesbudus, watch each Ichiro Suzuki back in the day, that dude had a hose. What I watch pants, it’s not that dynamic. I would say an average to maybe slightly above average arm. It’s just crazy because of the way he throws. It’s so unorthodox. Like Brent’s saying, this dude, we touched on a little bit, he sold max effort in everything he does. You see how he plays the game, he hustles on every play. When he swings, he does that funky swing in the on deck circle and that he gets up there and he’s taking hacks, every single pitch, as hard as he can. He really is just this brute strength athlete.

Brent Pourciau:
There something else he does, I was looking. When he’s in the outfield, obviously, he gets ready for the pitch and then right when the pitcher throws the pitch, he hops. I like that because it’s that moment where you don’t want to be sitting on your heels, you are activating yourself to be ready for the play to go any way.

Steven Guadagni:
That makes sense.

Brent Pourciau:
I think you’re right, I think this is a guy who is an overachiever. 120 percent, max effort guy. Really strong but not agile and athletic. Like I said, that’s why he’s going to be more injury prone. It’s just right here. The guys all appear. I think he is just a big mental game is what he is, and that’s why he is known, in the locker room, being such a motivator in the locker room. I think that’s who Hunter Pence is. He really not seeing, you’re not going to see great athlete, you are just seeing-

Steven Guadagni:
Hard work.

Brent Pourciau:
Big man, because he’s a big man, right?

Steven Guadagni:
64, 235.

Brent Pourciau:
Big man with just a heart, a passion for the game.

Steven Guadagni:
He just maximizes it. Like you said, 120 percent on everything.

Brent Pourciau:
It shows you, if you’re a little guy, use his mentality. He’s got the perfect attitude. You’re going have to do things a little bit better biomechanically, athletically, healthwise, mobility. He needs a lot of mobility work to clear up his hips, to clear up everything. He’s probably got ankle mobility, knowing this guy, being this baby. So he’s not so injury prone. Every time you hear about Hunter Pence, he’s hurt.

Steven Guadagni:
It’s just been recently, man. It sucks, because it feels like the Giants have a lot of those guys. They gave him a pretty big contract. I didn’t know he was 33 and then getting all these injury issues, and that is something of a concern as he’s getting older. Is that what is going to be with Hunter Pence, now, is he going to be injury prone for the rest of his career?

Brent Pourciau:
Yes, it is. I’m going to call it from here on out.

Steven Guadagni:
That’s sucky for the Giants. It’s not looking good for my boys right now.

Brent Pourciau:
Yeah, because people forget, I remember watching Pence with the Phillies and the Astros, he’s been around the block, but we all think of him as a Giant right now. That’s really been the end of his career.

Steven Guadagni:
That’s because he came in and 12 World Series with us and that led the 2012. He was the motivation when they were down in both series, they were facing elimination they came back both series.

Brent Pourciau:
You watch the interviews-

Steven Guadagni:
He’s a legend.

Brent Pourciau:
He seems like a good guy, too. He seems like a really good guy. Cool. Like I said, if you’re going to emulate, emulate his personality, his attitude. I wouldn’t emulate-

Steven Guadagni:
Work ethic.

Brent Pourciau:
Work ethic. I wouldn’t emulate his mechanics. And his athleticism and his mobility, right. Cool, all right, next question.

Steven Guadagni:
Nikhil Venkat asks, “Can deadlifts and squats make you shorter? I’ve been hearing both sides of this.”

Brent Pourciau:
Do deadlifts and squats make you shorter? Yes. They make you shorter. Nah, I don’t know. I don’t know if you’re being serious, if you’re having fun, so I’m just a go at it both ways. Serious, no, it’s not going to make you shorter. Just like we’ve talked about this before, we are talking about this. Gymnasts aren’t short because they’re gymnasts, and basketball players aren’t tall because they are basketball players. Typically, tall people have an advantage in basketball, the 20 typically writes the top levels. Short girls typically have the advantage in gymnastics, that’s why they rise to the top, as well. Of course, for girls, there is studies that show it stunts the physical development, it affects the mistress cycles and all that.

It’s going to be different for guys. Typically, it’s something I talked about before, as well, and I love telling the story of the gladiator graveyard that they dug up in the Middle East somewhere. It was all adolescent boys that were being trained there, and it was their graves, and they were all pretty mutilated. I think the average age was 16. They found out that every boy had one arm longer than the other and they didn’t know why. Then they dug up their training devices and they found out they used to heavy sword. 10 times the weight of a normal sword. They believe that was causing the arms to grow longer. In that case, the resistance caused growth.

At the same time, too, it’s a fine line. Then we would say Jim this should grow taller later in life, which we know they don’t. I think it’s how the stress is applied, that was obviously to them, not just your whole body. We do know when bones break, they calcified and they thicken, it just wouldn’t create growth, it would create thickness within the stressed area. You are talking about this, too. It’s like Matt Bruce said that he likes the joke that, he’s an Olympic lifter … He’s short because he’s an Olympic laughter, as opposed to he’s an Olympic lifter because he short. Which is really the way you look at it. He had more success because he was short, they don’t have to move the bar as far.

It gives him, once again, the advantage. There is no studies that show this growth plate damage to lifting growth plate damage to any form of resistance. There’s no studies that show that, even though we get a lot of concerned parents that come in here voicing their concerns about the 13, 14-year-old doing some form of lifting, specifically with ours, Olympic lifting because they’re very concerned about growth plate damage. Which, thank God, they’re not concerned about growth plate damage in baseball, because if they ever learned all the studies which show that youth baseball is loaded with the growth plate damage, they would never put the kids in it.

Unfortunately, they just don’t know the information, because if they are really concerned, I’m assuming that once they learn how bad it is, it’s an epidemic of growth plate damage in travel ball for 12, 13, 14-year-old, they’re all going to pull them out. I guess travel ball doesn’t want them to know that, because then they lose their business. Why do you think it’s that way, Stephen? Why do you think parents come in here so concerned about growth plate damage with their young youth were their son lifting and then they are comfortable putting him in travel ball where they are at high risk of growth plate damage? Why do you think they are that confused?

Steven Guadagni:
It’s just the mentality of our culture and how, what we are brought up doing. If you go to Europe or Asia and they have these kids at 5, 7 years old working on technique for Olympic lifting. Usually like 7, I think, is when I hear that they start teaching them technique and start doing lightweight doing that. Then you come over to America, 5 years old, that’s about the time we start playing baseball. It’s just completely different culturally and a different attitude.

Brent Pourciau:
What’s accepted and what’s not accepted.

Steven Guadagni:
Exactly. Then everybody hears these myths, it stunts your growth, it ruins your growth plates. Then you go and work and try to find one study words proving that it stunts your growth or ruins your growth plates, you’re not going to find it. There’s no evidence backing up that it does that. I think that’s just a myth that, unfortunately, we have in the United States, when there’s really no evidence to support it. You could have a kid who’s as young as 7 years old, not going crazy with the weights, not going as heavy as he can go, but with a broomstick or a light little kids bar where they are working on technique, where they are working on performing a good squat or performing a clean movement. Just working light and learning the technique.

Brent Pourciau:
I think it is, it’s just a weird social experiment with how we perceive what’s good and what’s bad. I don’t know. Look at the football. The movie on the concussions, I haven’t seen it, with Will Smith. I heard it’s horrible. I’ve seen a lot of the studies. You look at the studies, it doesn’t take much for your brain to go into severe trauma. Once again, I typically speak from experience a lot. I had a concussion in football, my senior year in high school, that was so bad they put me in the hospital overnight, I didn’t know anyone, I lost my short-term memory for 24 hours. For 24 hours, I can’t remember any of it. I asked the same question over and over again, like a robot.

I didn’t know who anyone was, except my girlfriend’s sister. That’s it. I knew who no one was. Then they wouldn’t let me play football again for a week, because if I got hit, again, I could have died. This horrible concussion that I had. Is one of the worst that you can have before you died. You look at football, you look at these older guys like Jim McMahon with the bears who is 50 something years old and he’s full blown dementia. What it is they found that the brain come from that movie, I just heard about this. It’s not dementia, the brain is dying. It gets to the point that, for some guys, that it dies off so much that you physically kill yourself.

Your body is healthy but your brain is dying and that’s what happened. You have this urge to end your life. That’s why Junior Seau and then they think a lot of them finally took that step. Of course, those parents and there’s guys who have quit football, but can you really see a big impact on the game? It’s still a very popular game. For some reason, if it’s trendy, that’s part of a culture-

Steven Guadagni:
That’s with scientific evidence that really backing up that it’s this is a pattern of injury. This is-

Brent Pourciau:
Right, but it doesn’t seem to be curving the attendance.

Steven Guadagni:
There is no pattern of injury with weightlifting but it’s like, I know what you’re saying-

Brent Pourciau:
No, what I’m saying is, on the other hand, when the science does come out and show how bad it is, it doesn’t seem to change the culture. For example, when ASMI put out the extreme long toss program, that ASMI who is respected, or as an advisor in major league baseball and the NCAA, Little League who operates on all the arms, the ones we listen to all the time came on and said caution for using these throws rehabilitation and training, like caution in use of these throws rehabilitation and training and no one listens or people discredit it. They respect them on everything else but not on that thing. The point is, when it’s so embedded into a culture, I don’t think the science can shake it.

It’s called the Kool-Aid. We’ve heard this before. It’s the Kool-Aid. I really think, once the people, once it becomes a trend and want to create some movement, behavior, an attitude, an environment-

Steven Guadagni:
When it becomes common knowledge, where it’s like, “That damages your growth plates.”

Brent Pourciau:
I don’t think you can persuade it. Then you’re asking people to step away from the masses, which is conventional listener. You’re telling them to step away from the masses and not follow the trends. For example, how hard would it be to be a youth football coach today pushing your team to be good and hit hard and then a parent, tier and say, “My son keeps blacking out, what should I do?” You’re stuck. Unfortunately, ma’am, your sons in a sport that could kill him. I know he’s 13, but he could die. It’s the sport. I don’t know, that’s a top position to be in. Thank God, with this approach, with what we do, we found a place of very little injury.

Thank God in this, I’ve been 10 years doing this business and I rarely have to sit down and talk to someone about how we going to go into surgery and recover from this. I’ve never done it before. I’m so lucky that I don’t have that here. The crazy thing is, I’ve got a good thing going and I’m trying to tell the world about it, I’m trying to tell the community, but it’s so thick, this is so different from the culture, it doesn’t matter if I have the science that says it’s good, because on the other hand, I’ve got all the science that says it’s bad and they don’t give a crap. They really don’t care. They are never going to care. If there’s a study that comes out and weighted balls are ripping, destroying everyone’s arm, taking 10 years of their career, they’re going to keep doing it, because it’s going to be one study and they’re going to find a way to put it in the back of their head and forget about it, and they are going to keep doing it because they like it. Because they like to do it.

Steven Guadagni:
Or it’s a easier approach, like it’s a easier way out. Just going back to the weightlifting, go and check out the interview we did with Matt Bruce at his CrossFit gym. If you don’t know who Matt Bruce is, he’s a two-time Olympian, or two-time Olympian alternate, seven-time …

Brent Pourciau:
World team member. That’s right, world team member.

Steven Guadagni:
Seven-time world team member, exactly. He talks about it. We asked him about it doesn’t lifting or Olympic weightlifting stunt your growth and he was saying, his response to it was … God, I always screw this up. “If you go and play basketball, right, it’s going to make you tall right?” It’s a pun on saying he’s short because he’s an Olympic weightlifter, because it gives an advantage. Basketball players are tall because it gives you an advantage in basketball to be tall. Just because he’s Olympic resting anti-short, doesn’t mean that he’s short, it’s just an advantage for the sport. I think that’s where people, it starts with you look at those weightlifters, they are all small and they been listing forever. No, they get an advantage from being short for the sport. I think that’s where it’s coming from.

Brent Pourciau:
I get it, but my point is studies or not, people are going to believe what they want to believe.

Steven Guadagni:
Oh yeah, especially when you have, like you said, it’s rooted, you literally talk to parents and the thing it comes with weightlifting, it’s going to hurt you and it stunts your growth, especially a young age. That’s the conventional wisdom.

Brent Pourciau:
What we know is what’s going to hurt them and what’s going to damage the growth plate is baseball.

Steven Guadagni:
When there’s actual studies that are showing this growth plate damage and little kids that are playing in Little League. The other is growth plate damage, and there’s no study showing growth plate damage with lifting yet, that’s what we are concerned with is the weightlifting. As already studies out on a sport that we play, that we tell kids to play when they are 5 years old that shows that the actual growth plate damage and it’s not uncommon. It’s backwards, man.

Brent Pourciau:
Yeah, backwards. Your question, series or not, you got a serious or not answer. Cool. If you have a question, twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, Snapchat, musically @TopVelocity #PitchingTips #BasballTips. After question, may end up on the show. [inaudible 00:25:37] can’t coming up in October, see you next episode.

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