Strength Development Before Power Pitching Motor Skill Training

Strength Development, Power Pitching, Motor Skill Training

Photo by Dani Christensen

In the case of all power pitchers or athletes, to prevent wasting precious time when learning a power movement like pitching at high velocities, it is important to understand that strength or power development must come before the power motor skills of the power pitching mechanics. Attempting to train the power motor skills before the pitcher has the strength or power to move through them efficiently and effectively, is not just a total waste of time but it also can end ones pitching career.

The Detrimental Effects of Motor Skill Training Over Power Training in Pitching

There are many coaches, parents and athletes in the pitching world that believe pitching mechanics are more important than strength and power development. The truth of the matter is that this perspective may work for the elite athlete but NOT for the young pitcher. If a young pitcher is coached with this perspective, it could possible end his career. The reason for this claim can best be supported with the analogy of the crawling baby.

Why the Baby Crawls Before it Walks

The baby must first learn to crawl before it walks because it does not have the core and leg strength to push off of the ground when standing upright so it can practice the motor coordination of walking. Until it develops this core and leg strength all it is capable of doing is moving itself over the floor by pushing and pulling at the ground with what strength it has in its core, legs and arms. An act of moving on one’s hands and knees or dragging one’s body along the ground is defined as the Crawl. Even if the baby was able to understand and train the movements of walking upright on two feet, it still could not perform the skill because it lacks the core and leg strength to hold itself up during the movement. Crawling or standing up right overtime develops the babies core and leg strength which gives it the strength to train the motor coordination around the skill of walking.

This analogy is the reason behind the old expression, “Crawl before you walk!” The problem is most young pitchers want to “Run before they Walk” and some even want to “Sprint before they Crawl.” The reason this could end a pitchers career is because trying to walk before you crawl could frustrate the young pitcher to the point of giving up. Think of the baby taking his first steps without any help. The baby starts by using the furniture to pick itself up and then attempts take its first steps alone. This is the day that the baby will learn about real pain. Not only the pain of their face hitting the floor but the emotional pain of not accomplishing the goal of walking. If the baby continued to try and walk this way, without any support, the consistent beating of their face on the floor and the consistent emotional feeling of failure could force them to regress back to the crawl. This regression is the human spirit giving up in the face of failure and in the case of the pitcher this could be enough to change ones career.

If the coach, parent or pitcher could understand that it is easier and even possible to develop the motor coordination around power pitching mechanics, like the 3X Pitching mechanics, if strength and power development comes first then the game of baseball today would have less injury, more competition and better pitching education in all levels of the game. The problem is until this understanding of “Crawl before you Walk,” when it comes to developing the power pitcher, makes its way into the conventional wisdom of the game, there is going to be a lot of young pitchers, those even on this site, who are going to continue to beat their heads against the floor.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I think it is your best chance to save your career. It saved mine!

    Reply
  • Gage Upthegrove
    February 7, 2012 4:02 am

    I had rotator cuff surgery 16 months ago and my shoulder is still not right. Do you think it’s possible that your strength program can help me throw with out pain? I’m a 20 year old lefty in college. Everything was going good after about 20 innings in the fall a year out of surgery. Fastball was coming back slowly but surely 87. I know i have mechanical issues but now I haven’t thrown in Months because my shoulder hurts. I know my shoulders weak but do you think your strength program can help me? Maybe it tore again, who knows. No MRI’S for me. I’ll try your progam if there’s even a small chance my shoulder will get better. FYI you did watch my video.

    Reply

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