Adding Motion Capture To Help Create Better Fixes

By Nunzio Signore (Owner/Operator RPP)

Pitching is a MOVEMENT and should be analyzed as such. In a 3D analysis such as the mocap assessment that we use here at RPP, there are many important metrics.  Specifically there are timing and angular velocity issues that you can’t see with the same amount of accuracy when using a static assessment or 2D video analysis.  Knowing WHEN these movements are happening at various points in the delivery, and for certain metrics the SPEEDS at which they are happening, can be more telling than simply looking at static positions.

But, the value of the information, like every other piece of tech we utilize, is not in the numbers, but what we do with the information, in other words… the FIXES. This is where blending tech with great coaching can be a game changer.

Below is one such example.  A pelvic timing issue combined with sub-optimal firing of the lead leg musculature was contributing to a poor decel pattern that we couldn’t previously evaluate with our static assessment and 2-D video analysis.

This college athlete has been with us since his sophomore year of high school. He was ECC Baseball Pitcher and Rookie of the Year last year as a Freshman and sits 88-90 mph.  Unfortunately, last year he tore his meniscus coming down the mound. One year post-op, he came in this summer with:

    • Slight decline in throwing velo
    • Slight hip flexor pain

After reviewing his video and Mocap data, we noticed a poor decel pattern in his lower half, creating an unstable base of support to throw from, as well as draining transfer of force to the torso and negatively affecting peak pelvis to peak torso timing.

Let’s break down how we approached fixing these issues…

After a brief conversation with Randy Sullivan at the Florida Baseball Ranch, we worked the first couple of weeks on a better co-contraction of the front leg in the weight room to help him improve his deceleration and transfer force more efficiently.

(Lunge w/Pulse)

We then took the drill in week 3 and progressed it to the mound. By utilizing Lantz Wheeler’s  Core Velocity Belt, we worked on adding a bit of resistance in order to force the athlete to “dig in” a bit.

(CVB Hip Load Drill)

Beginning in week 4 until present time, we continued to use the Core Velocity Belt to progress to an over-speed training element to help improve hip rotation timing and speeds, as well as helping the athlete realize that he can  accept more force on that front leg.

(CVB Over-Speed Drill)

Below is a comparison of 2 Mocap reports 1-month apart, pre- and post-drill work/ throwing. Getting this athlete a better decel pattern combined with the work with the CVB improved all metrics, including better pelvis speeds as well as reaching those peak speeds later and closer to max ER. The timing differential between the pelvis and torso improved as a result as well.

Getting his hips to peak later also gave his arm more time to get into a safer and more efficient position at FP. The better decel pattern combined with a more efficient timing of the pelvis and arm; may be why he’s also getting much more Max ER as well.

While there is still more work to be done, this athlete has made great gains in a short period of time, improving metrics that may have “gotten by” the naked eye using 2-D video alone. This athlete is now pain-free and throwing harder with less effort.

See ya’ in the gym…

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