Having observed hundreds of pitchers on our Rapsodo Pitching camera during the past several years, it’s fair to say that there are a few tendencies that most high school and collegiate pitchers exhibit. While every pitcher is different with their skillset, we generally tend to observe similar opportunities for improvement in pitch movement.
Over the past few years, we have had hundreds of baseball players, specifically pitchers come through our facility. While they come in all shapes, sizes and technical ability, they all are looking to do the same thing, how to throw a baseball harder and do so safely working with a baseball throwing program. So, while this article is about how we build throwing programs, it’s important to highlight that the body has its own language and agenda, and you cannot learn it by only learning 3 or 4 words. You certainly can’t do it by slapping together some throwing drills with long toss and pull-down days. Continue reading “How to Build a Baseball Throwing Program”
Hip shoulder separation in pitching is a major contributor to efficient pitching and hitting mechanics, and a big piece of the puzzle to all things velocity. In this article, we are going to review the relevance of several metrics on hip shoulder separation in pitching using motion capture data charts as follows:
Whether we’re talking about throwing velocity on the mound or exit velocity at the plate, improving and better utilizing ground reaction forces with a lead leg block is paramount. Training the lead leg to both produce and accept force will help to create a stable base and facilitate hip and torso rotation up the chain. Continue reading “How to Create A Better Lead Leg Block”
A pitcher’s foot position at foot strike can provide a solid foundation to facilitate both knee extension and efficient transfer of energy. Foot strike is the moment a pitcher’s front foot makes contact with the ground and is the starting point of energy transfer up the kinetic chain. This energy is ultimately transferred to the ball at release, with efficient energy transfer being aided by the pitcher releasing over a firm front side. A firm front side provides lower body stability for proper upper body positioning through release. This stability is achieved by extending the front knee from foot strike to release and is why knee extension angular velocity at release is correlated with pitching velocity and an important metric to examine in pitchers.
The lead leg block is the act of slowing down your body’s momentum with your lead leg at landing. In biomechanics, deceleration and the lead leg block can be represented by peak changes in angular velocity. Think about your car. The gas pedal represents your drive leg at the start of the pitching delivery (power output) and the brakes represent your lead leg’s role at foot contact (power absorption and transfer of force). Let’s cover this in three parts:
On any given day you can log into your daily feed on Twitter and scroll through a plethora of verbal grudge matches between strength coaches, pitching/hitting coaches and movement gurus arguing. Yes, arguing and criticizing each other’s ideology about athletic performance and how to improve it. These verbal assaults are usually fueled by the fact that one individual’s concept, theory, protocol or whatever you choose to call it may not line up with another’s. In other words, “it’s different”. For those of you that have the insight to be able to “discuss” and not argue, this blog is not targeting you, however you may want to come along for the ride. Continue reading “How to Increase Athleticism… Develop Efficient Movement”
In conducting a pitching biomechanics evaluation and assessing a motion capture session, one of the most important things to examine is the kinematic sequence. This consists of the angular velocities and corresponding timing of the pelvis, torso, shoulder, and hand. These angular velocities can reach speeds upwards of 5000 º/s, and as such cannot be measured through standard 2-D video analysis thus requiring a 3-D motion capture system. This simple graph below off our Qualisys Motion Capture system is key to determining how efficiently an athlete is transferring energy from the ground up, through their body, and into the ball.
The Rapsodo Pitching camera provides an incredible amount of information by pitch type. Just as relevant, however, is how each individual pitch behaves versus the others. In evaluating our pitcher’s ball movement charts, we generally work with them to develop what we refer to as “clusters”. They form when a pitcher can consistently repeat the baseball spin axis and direction by pitch type. Continue reading “Why the Baseball Spin Axis Is Important for Pitchers”