Do you know what it takes to completely kill your pitching velocity? I get a lot of phone calls from guys who are desperate for help with their pitching velocity. Many of them are in college or pro ball who have experienced a major decrease in their pitching speed. I always try to reassure them that their velocity has not gone away, it has only been lost. I then inform them that it will take only a few minutes for us to discover what mechanical problems just killed their pitching velocity.
The key to discovering this loss in velocity is through video analysis, it is a critical tool to identifying what is killing pitching velocity. If you are experiencing similar issue or you are dealing with some of the issue listed below then post your video here in the forums for a FREE pitching velocity analysis and we together, will discover the number one issue that is killing your pitching velocity.
I have discovered many reasons why these pitchers, who have contacted me over the years, are losing their velocity. I have listed the top 10 reasons here outside of strength and conditioning. I will address training issues that kill velocity in another article. These mechanical issues are usually the result of a pitching coach who has made some big changes or a pitcher who has learned some misguided information. Read this list and if you feel any of these issues deal with your delivery then I highly recommend that you send in your video for analysis.
10 Ways to Kill your Pitching Velocity
- Changing your arm path – This has to be the most common mistake made for pitchers. Your arm path has very little to do with your velocity. What changing your arm path does is force you to slow down your stride speed to adjust to your new arm path. Because stride length to stride speed is such a big factor to pitching velocity this adjustment in arm path can be detrimental to pitching velocity.
- Pulling glove side – Trying to pull with your glove side or even trying to reach out with your glove side will have a similar effect of changing your arm path. It will force you to slow down your lower half to allow your glove side to take over. It can also force you to open your shoulders early which will decrease your hip to shoulder separation at front foot strike which is the component that is responsible for 80% of your velocity.
- Pull down throwing arm to release – It is a big misconception that pulling down your throwing arm generates more velocity. The opposite is true. Look at all hard throwers at release. They are releasing the ball above their heads over the tip of their hat and the arm is full extended. Pulling down the throwing arm during release will prevent early internal rotation of the throwing arm. Early internal rotation of the throwing arm after external rotation is listed as a high velocity component in the ASMI case study of a Comparison of High Velocity and Low Velocity deliveries.
- Reach out to the plate with your lift leg – This mechanical adjustment causes a pitcher to open the hips early which prevents optimal force production. Most coaches who take this approach are trying to increase stride length but what they are forgetting is the most important part to having a long stride which is stride speed. A long slow stride will do nothing for a pitcher but decrease velocity. A long stride is only beneficial if the pitcher is accelerating his speed through the stride.
- Feet closed power position – Most inexperienced pitching coaches will coach pitchers from the so called “Power Position,” this is the position at front foot strike. When the pitcher is in a full stride with glove elbow in line with target and throwing arm cocked. The mistake these coaches make is that they coach the pitcher in this position with the feet closed to the target. This means for a pitcher who throws right his feet are facing third base and for a pitcher who throws left his feet are facing first base. All hard throwers land with both feet facing the target. This is how they are capable of generating hip rotation immediately after front foot strike. If you have been coached to land with your feet closed and then to rotate your hips open after front foot strike, then this will destroy velocity because it does not support good hip to shoulder separation.
- The Balance point – Balance is another big misunderstanding in conventional pitcher mechanics. Balance is more a component of strength and conditioning the pitcher instead of the mechanics of the pitching delivery. There is no mechanical component in the pitching delivery that will help the central nervous system balance the body. It is already programed to do this and through strength and conditioning we can enhance the pitchers ability to balance itself through high velocities. This being said the conventional approach to pitching which says the pitcher should be balanced at leg lift, is absurd. The pitcher should be balanced at all points in the delivery. Coaching the pitcher to stop at leg lift to find his “Balance Point” will only decrease velocity because all hard throwers are moving forward during the lift leg position. Stopping to find your balance at leg lift will make it harder to build your optimal speed through your stride.
- Cocking arm high and back to second base – Having a high cocked arm angle through the stride and into front foot strike will not only hurt velocity but can hurt your arm. How it hurts velocity is it reduces hip to shoulder separation. When your front foot hits, the rotational forces begin to build torque in the body so by keeping your arms closer to your body allow for more rotation similar to an ice skater spinning around. The more the skater pulls their body into their core, the faster they spin.
- Drive leg rotation instead of extension – The 3X approach to pitching believes that triple extension of the drive leg is not only the best way to build stride power but it is the best way to create optimal hip to shoulder separation. Coaching the drive leg to internally rotate into front foot instead of drive and triple extend into front foot will reduce stride speed and not coil the body as well at front foot strike which will reduce velocity.
- Lean into your stride – Some pitching coaches will coach a pitcher to lean over their belt buckle during the stride. Some will even coach the pitcher to crouch inward at leg lift. This can hurt velocity if at front foot strike the pitcher is not tilted over the butt. It is easier and more effective to start in a tilt position. Tim Lincecum is a great example of this tilt and it is a big reason for his ability to create so much torque at front foot strike. To learn more about the tilt read this article called, The Pitching Key to Torque is in the “Tilt”.
- Droping your lift leg down before you begin your stride – I have seen tons of low velocity pitchers come to me with video of them lifting their leg to start their delivery and then immediately putting it back down before they start their stride. What is the point of the lift leg if you put it down before even moving forward? I have heard coaches teach this to prevent the lift leg from opening early in the stride. Slowing down the pitcher will never fix any mechanical issues. You are always better speeding up the lower half when trying to fix a mechanical flaw.
Pitching Velocity Information and Articles
If you have found yourself a victim of some of these velocity killers or maybe even all of these velocity killers, then you need to STOP pitching now and take a step back. You are wasting your time even pitching with these pitching velocity killers. I highly recommend that you schedule an off-season ASAP and use a program like the 3X Pitching Velocity program to re-program and re-develop your central nervous system and muscular system to that of an efficient, explosive athlete/pitcher.
What you will learn from this site and through the 3X program, is that no mechanical adjustment can help you develop the speed and power issues that are killing your pitching velocity. The one thing that all of these 10 issues that kill pitching velocity have in common, is that they all are the effects and problems that arise when a pitcher has speed or power issues. This is why you need a program that will train you, as much as coach you, to become an elite, explosive, high velocity pitcher. Post your video today to see if you have any of these issues that are responsible for killing your pitching velocity.
Here are some articles to help you increase your pitching velocity: