Most of you already know that while we are big believers in using data/tech, the human element should never be replaced, just simply “enhanced”. So let me start with this great quote by PT (and super smart guy) Bill Hartman:
Technology provides answers that are stored or calculated. It serves me. It is not creative or curious nor has the capacity to ask the important questions. Those qualities are purely human.
However, as I have said before there is great value to data, especially in areas where you can’t necessarily observe what’s happening during the delivery, but it can be measured. Today, we’re going to look at an example of the merging of the eyes and data. I decided to write this article after reading a recent thread posted by RPP Pitching Coordinator Justin Friedman.
Let’s use his example of the 2 pitchers with somewhat similar metrics physically, yet very different velocity ceilings.
- 220 lbs.
- Throws 87mph
- 230 lbs.
- Throws 80mph
While there are certainly several other factors that can differentiate these two pitchers and contribute to their ability to throw hard, according to a study by Tomoyuki Matsuo, Escamilla et al, two key metrics that have a high correlation to velocity stand out when comparing their mocap reports:
- Max Front Knee Ext. Angular Velocity
- Shoulder Horizontal Abduction @ Foot Plant (Scap Load)
As you can see from the table above, improving Max Front Knee Angular Velocity and Shoulder horizontal abduction would be two of the main focal points and lowest hanging fruits for Pitcher 2 inside the nets as well as in the weight room.
Max Front Knee Ext. Angular Velocity
An insufficient increase in the angle of knee/hip extension from foot strike to ball release combined with a poor deceleration pattern (force not being expressed in a posterior direction) with the front leg at foot plant are two of the main issues that can cause energy to be leaked out of that front knee.
This not only causes a less than optimal pathway for energy to be transferred up through the core and into the arm, but also affects the athlete’s ability to achieve complete hip rotation after ball release, placing added stress on the posterior shoulder and elbow at finish. Here are several ways inside and outside the weight room to help improve the lead leg block.
Weight Room – Later in the off-season shortly before throwing begins, we start to train transfer of power from the lower to upper half- and as far as the lead leg goes, this happens in a posterior direction.
Med Ball Stand-up Slam
1-Leg Reverse Hurdle Hops
Inside the Nets – The Post-Up Drill is a variation of the Rocker that teaches efficiently transferring energy up the chain and facilitates knee extension and full hip rotation into and through ball release by corkscrewing the lead leg into the ground, as opposed to letting the knee flex into the PVC pipe.
Shoulder Horizontal Abduction (Scap Load)
A good and well-timed scap load helps resist early trunk rotation while helping to maintain a good trunk stack into foot plant. It also helps prevent more provocative lever arms at the shoulder/elbow.
Weight Room – With the help of our friends at @proteusmotion, we can now train the posterior cuff with constant resistance through an entire range of motion…
Horizontal Abduction w/ Proteus
Creating good mid/lower trap strength is paramount to ensure proper retraction as well as upward rotation when getting the scap in the most efficient position to load
Rev. Cable Row
Inside the Nets – The Figure 8 Rocker emphasizes capturing the momentum of the arm-swing to float into scap load, instead of actively forcing the arm into position. This prevents “muscling-up” and allows for relaxed/timed aggression later in the delivery.
Figure 8 Rocker
Don’t misunderstand this article, there is obviously always more to the story with pitchers, but these two topics rear their head quite often with new athletes walking into our gym. They also correlate highly to velocity as well as injury prevention and should not be overlooked…
See ya’ in the gym…
Nunzio Signore (Owner RPP Baseball) and Justin Friedman (RPP Pitching Coordinator)
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