There are many studies that define the difference in the kinematics of high velocity pitchers to low velocity pitchers but few of these studies mention the timing of the movements. When timing is used as a measurement of movements and how this timing effects the movements up the entire kinetic chain then these measurements expose the secrets to high velocity pitching.
Timing is why pitchers must use video analysis to discover flaws and to make effective mechanical adjustments to their deliveries. The entire pitching delivery of a high velocity pitcher from the peak of the leg lift to pitch release is less than 1 second. The human eye is not capable of recording the timing of all the movements a pitcher makes. This is why most young pitchers have a poor understand of high velocity pitching mechanics, like how the stride effects hip rotation timing and how hip rotation timing effects the rest of the pitching delivery.
Here is a study that reveals these high velocity pitching mechanics and more importantly the comparison of the timing of hip rotation between high velocity and low velocity pitchers.
Study Proves High Velocity Pitcher’s Use Early Hip Rotation to Increase Momentum
A study performed at the Institute of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan, called, Kinematic Comparisons Of Different Pitch Velocity Groups In, Baseball Using Motion Model Method, proves that High Velocity Pitchers rotate their hips earlier at front foot strike which allow them to increase momentum up the kinetic chain. Low Velocity Pitchers do not show an increase in momentum up the kinetic chain because of the late hip rotation. Here is a summary of the results from the study:
The pitching motion was divided into three phases by four events: the first phase was defined as a phase from the instant for maximal knee height of the stride leg (MAXkne.) to the instant for minimal ball height (MINball ), the second phase from MINbau to stride foot contact (SFC), and the third phase was from SFC to ball release (REL).
Figure 2 shows the angular velocities of the hip and shoulder rotation during the third phase. The angular velocities of the hip and shoulder rotation of high velocity group (HG) and low velocity group (LG) increased from 0% of the third phase. Hip rotation angular velocity of HG rose to peak at 27% of the third phase, while shoulder angular velocity kept increasing until 60%. On the other hand, LG could not increase shoulder angular velocity from approximately 30% to 50% of the third phase since LG increased hip rotation angular velocity until 48%. Stodden et al. (2001) indicated that when pitchers were in a position to optimally rotate the pelvis and upper torso, they could generate increased momentum and transfer it from the trunk to the throwing arm.
Read the entire study here: Kinematic Comparisons Of Different Pitch Velocity Groups In, Baseball Using Motion Model Method
This study is proof that high velocity pitchers not only rotate their hips earlier than low velocity pitchers but they put themselves into better positions at front foot strike to create earlier hip rotation than low velocity pitchers. This optimal position for hip rotation must be a product of the second phase from the case study which is described as from minimal ball height to stride foot contact, better known in 3X Pitching as the Stride Phase. 3X Pitching has also proven, through extensive video analysis, that high velocity pitchers are doing something in their stride phase to put themselves into this position for the optimal hip to shoulder separation.
The 3X component that is creating this early and explosive hip rotation is called Triple Extension (3X). Achieving 3X before front foot strike will put the pitcher in this optimal position by starting hip rotation just before front foot strike which will create early hip rotation and explosive trunk rotation like in the high velocity group from the case study above.
Notice in the animated sequence of the stride phase above, the pitchers 3X before front foot strike is opening his hips before he lands which is supporting his optimal high velocity hip rotation. 3X before front foot strike is the secret to creating early hip rotation and explosive trunk rotation which will then transfer momentum from the stride up the kinetic chain into the arm.
The Steps to 3X Before Front Foot Strike
Learning power pitching mechanics like with 3X Pitching and having a significant effect on increasing your pitching velocity is always easier said than done. Here are the steps to benefiting from early hip rotation and more explosive trunk rotation but it takes more than these steps. It takes a proven program to train the pitcher to have the power to move through these steps along with throwing drills to help the pitcher program these movements into his central nervous system so he can perform them in a game without thinking about the process. The 3X Extreme Pitching Velocity Program is that program but these steps below will help you get started!
- Start your leg lift with a linear first move.
- Align the Force Vector into a linear position.
- Load into good dorsiflexion of the drive leg.
- Use foot sync to trigger hip rotation before front foot strike.
- Triple extend the drive leg before front foot strike.