One of the main reasons a pitcher the size of Tim Lincecum, can generate as much pitching velocity as a pitcher as tall as Randy Johnson, is because of how his linear drive transfers into core torque. The pitching key to Tim Lincecum’s ability to create optimal torque is in his linear speed and how he positions himself for a high release point.
Tim has an “Over the top” release point and Randy has a “Sidearm” release point. I am not saying that every pitcher should throw the ball with a higher release point, because there are benefits with all arm angles. What I am saying is a higher release point, following a good amount of linear stride speed, will potentially generate more core torque and in return increase pitching velocity.
Core Torque Pitching Key
The pitching key core torque is so critical to pitching velocity because it connects the lower kinetic chain to the upper kinetic chain. Without this connection very small amounts of the linear forces generated in the stride get into the ball. The reason high velocity pitchers implement “Triple Extension” of the drive leg into front foot strike is to generate as much force in the body as needed to accelerate the arm. These stride forces will only move into the arm if the hips open before the shoulders which gives these forces just enough time to move into the upper body and it also helps multiple these forces because of the elastic properties in the muscles of the core.
Now why would a higher release point generate more velocity?
This is because of the tilting of the body over the landing leg to allow the arm to extend up over the head at release. This tilting, shown in the pictures of Tim Lincecum in this article, works with gravity to add more weight to the back shoulder at the moment of hip to shoulder separation, which is a pitching key component listed in the 3X Pitching Velocity Program as “Separation.”
Just a small amount of force applied to the back shoulder during “Separation” and “Triple Extension” of the back leg, will create optimal core torque. It is like someone pulling your shoulders back after your back leg drives and just before your shoulders fire to the target.
Notice in the picture of Randy Johnson, his hips are still closed at front foot strike, therefore Randy’s core torque is minimal. An indication that Randy does not have as much linear speed transferring into optimal core torque. Randy’s hips are facing first base and Tim’s hips are facing home plate. This is because Randy’s upper body is tilted more towards first base, which is pushing his hips back towards third base, instead of giving them the freedom to fire with his back leg and send all that linear speed up the kinetic chain. Tim is tilted back over his glove side which is allowing his hips to rotate open with his drive leg supporting core torque.
At this point in the article please DO NOT run outside and start pitching with your head hanging way over your glove side because the head is not the focus of the “Tilt.” The pitching key factor in creating the “Tilt” is the position of the chest and the upper body. The chest must be centered and balanced perfectly over the landing leg and as the arm begins to extend out and up to release the ball, the chest must position itself farther away from the release point to balance this position. This is why Tim’s head moves more to his glove side the closer he gets to his release point. This is where balance is critical because anything more to the right or left initially, is too much and will effect pitching velocity and accuracy.
Another benefit of the “Tilt” is it helps prevent a shoulder impingement because the scaps are more pinched which pulls the clavicle back giving more room for the cuff to move without pressure.
The 3X Pitching Velocity Program goes into more detail on this secret pitching velocity components. It is covered in the 3X Pitching Mechanics Guide which covers all of the 3X Pitching Mechanics and case studies behind the revolutionary approach to increase pitching velocity called 3X Pitching.
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