The Pitcher Development and Design Program is specifically designed for pitchers whose main priority is developing into a complete pitcher. Through correcting energy leaks in the delivery, improving kinematic sequence and pitch mechanics, analyzing and realigning pitch movement patterns through data analytics and high speed video, improving mobility and arm care, and becoming more explosive through strength training, pitchers will be given the opportunity to excel to their fullest on the mound. The following are the various components of the program:
Movement and Physical Assessment – Pitchers move in all three planes of motion so their program and assessment should reflect that. The Assessment is an extensive anatomical evaluation of the pitcher’s overall physicality and mobility. Physical limitations and imbalances, from a strength and mobility standpoint, can have profound effects on a pitcher’s ability to perform at his max potential. The assessment covers a variety of topics, including anthropometrics, mobility / stability, strength and power testing, and power/ force production testing.
Kinematic Sequence – Not all throwing motions are the same, but close analysis reveals that there is one common denominator as to why hard throwers create effortless velocity. Generating and transferring speed throughout the body requires a specific transfer of segmental peak angular velocities that allows pitchers to transfer force more efficiently. This timing pattern is referred to as a “Kinematic Sequence” and as a part of the program, every pitcher’s sequence will be evaluated for maximum efficiency.
Energy is transferred through the lower extremities, pelvis and thorax and culminates with elbow extension into shoulder IR. Each segment of the chain slows down to allow the next segment to “grab on” to help produce and increase speed up the kinetic chain. Each segment of the body builds off the previous segment as the next segment continues to accelerate.
This high-speed sequencing can only be viewed through motion capture sensors placed on the athlete’s body prior to the initial throwing/video analysis. For pitchers, the kinematic sequence is the most effective method of evaluating the efficient transfer of energy from the lower half (Pelvis) to the hand. Correct sequencing can not only help reduces stress on musculoskeletal structures of the throwing arm but help maximize ball velocity as well.
Video Analysis / Pitching Mechanics and Delivery – Every pitcher receives a complete bio-mechanical analysis of their delivery covering a dozen different elements in their mechanics. Our 4-camera video system is a state-of-the-art technology that captures delivery from 4 different angles simultaneously and is an invaluable tool, not to mention a big part of how we evaluate a pitcher’s timing and postural disconnects from both a movement and mechanics standpoint. Features include:
- 4 high speed cameras
- 4 views: Top view, left side, right side and front side
- Simultaneous recording from all 4 angles with pitch-by-pitch playback
- 120 frames per second slow motion playback
Every pitcher will be prescribed a set of pitching correctives to help address their disconnects. Furthermore, during each session we will be addressing deficiencies in the delivery to help improve overall mechanics and delivery.
Pitch Design – Pitch design is about using cutting edge technology by incorporating data analytics and high-speed video capture to help pitchers develop their pitching delivery and movement patterns. Pitching is about many things, including strength, mobility, mechanics. However, the advent of technology is also demonstrating that the point of release is just as relevant in being successful as a pitcher as anything else. Movement pattern analysis includes a pitch-by-pitch review, spin rate and spin axis analysis, movement pattern review and potential realignment, pitch sequencing and tunneling.
Often times, a pitcher’s movement pattern isn’t exactly what he thinks, or what he has been told, it is. However, new tech is now enabling us to evaluate each and every type of pitch with a high degree of certainty. Every single pitch has a certain velo, spin axis and spin rate and they all contribute to ball movement in various ways. The key is understanding what the data is telling you and being able to properly cue pitchers to improve their delivery.
The chart below (on the left) provides a good example of a pitcher with limited differentiation. However, with trial and error and hard work, pitchers can develop improved movement patterns that can help them be more effective on the mound (chart on the right):
The program also utilizes high-speed video, when necessary, to demonstrate each pitcher what release points look like for different types of pitches . The visualization is an important element of the program as each pitcher will observe how they are releasing a specific pitch vs. how it should be released to generate the desired movement pattern. Here are some examples:
(Various Pitches – High Speed “Point of Release”)
Strength and Conditioning Program – Our strength program for pitchers is 100% designed around the pitcher and is highly specialized and customized for each pitcher’s strengths and imbalances. It is the cornerstone of our programming and it is designed to go hand-in-hand with pitch development.
The reality is that every pitcher is different in every way and each needs a different approach to developing their strength and power. Our programming takes pitchers out of their comfort zone and trains them in all three planes of motion, sagittal, frontal and transverse. 100% of our programming reflects the rotational yet linear aspect of the sport and it’s 100% designed for pitchers. The following provides a brief summary of our weekly training program:
- Upper /Lower Body strength training
- Tri-planar core development
- Movement (eccentric, concentric power development)
- Energy System Work (specific to game-time performance and time of year)
Recovery – When talking about a complete or comprehensive training or throwing program, the conversation has to begin and end with “recovery”. Fatigue is the enemy of mechanics. In other words, when an area of the body is fatigued or sore, movement is compromised throughout the entire chain, causing a negative effect on bio-mechanics and increasing the risk of injury.
Being that throwing is a repetitive movement, along with it comes the possibility of overuse injuries. By expediting the recovery process immediately following a workout or bullpen you:
- Reduce muscle fatigue or soreness
- Help maintain pitching bio-mechanics
- Enhance future performance
- Reduce the risk of injury
Active Recovery is an integral part of our programming and EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulation) was designed for just this.
In addition, upon request (and subject to coach availability) our pitchers can also take advantage of manual therapy. The majority of pitchers need work on soft tissue quality. After throwing, the posterior cuff can get tight causing the arm to lose as much as 10 degrees of IR, even after a single outing or a 30-count bullpen. If soft tissue work is neglected this lack of mobility can become cumulative over the course of a season, greatly inhibiting the ability to decelerate or slow the arm down after ball release.
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