Pitching

A lot of time has been spent on researching and writing about strengthening the arm for pitchers, and deservedly so. With players getting $140 million deals, it is clearly a valuable topic. “How to add Velocity” has become the holy grail of sports with people claiming to have found the secret to adding however many mph to your fastball in 4 weeks! I even saw one contraption that claimed to add 10 mph in 12 minutes. I wish I was making that up.

While no one has found one formula that worked for everyone, there are some basic principles that will help with arm health, control, and might even add a few mph on the radar gun.

First and foremost, every athletic movement starts from the ground. The scientific term used when discussing the sequence of events of any body movement is kinetic chain. Because every athletic movement starts for the ground, the kinetic chain begins with the feet. Think of the kinetic chain as the cord for the energy to flow through to, in this case, to the arm. If something is wrong anywhere in the kinetic chain, the maximum amount of energy will not get to the arm. This topic could be developed into a book so let’s start at the bottom of the chain. One of the first things I like to do with a pitcher when I first working with him is see how he is on one leg. In pitching, you are on both legs for a split second and it is a very awkward position. As you can see from yours truly, the lead leg is about to hit as the back leg may possibly still be down for a millisecond.

Point being it is a single leg activity. Have the pitcher jump forward and laterally on one foot, noticing the ability to push off and create power from each foot and the ability to control the landing. Also focus on asymmetries, like which foot creates greater power (greater distance) and which one is more stable in the landing. Something as simple as an orthotic could help the pitcher push off the ball of the foot more which would fire the glute more which leads to more power.

Moving up the chain, the next major area is the hips. As the pitcher begins his stride towards the target, the lead hip externally rotates as the push-off leg internally rotates (pictured above). Limited external rotation on the lead leg could affect the landing position of the foot and possibly lead to compensation of the back or arm to properly align the hips and shoulders to throw at the target. If the hip opens too early, then the arm cocking phase is started early and causes an energy leak. Tightness in the adductors, hip flexors, and/or lack of internal hip rotation can shorten stride length.

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Comments
  1. ExcelCord® says:

    Great, succinct explanation of the kinetic chain. The third paragraph of this article is the entire premise on which ExcelCord was created! Check out our website (http://ExcelCord.com), I think you’ll really like our product! 🙂

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