The Pitching Mechanic
Real-Time Illustrations and Analyses of
Proper and Improper Pitching Mechanics
The Pitching Mechanic -
Frame By Frame Analysis: Dan Haren
I just completed a frame by frame
analysis of the pitching mechanics of Dan Haren, who is one
of my favorite young pitchers. I like him because he shares a
lot of similarities with
Greg Maddux and
Roger Clemens. That includes his superior arm action and the
amount that his ball tails. Let me explain what I mean.
Dan Haren - Frame 393
After breaking his hands, Dan Haren drops his hand to behind
his Pitching Arm Side (aka PAS) butt cheek.
Dan Haren - Frame 403
Instead of reverse-rotating his shoulders, Dan Haren then
breaks his hands pretty much directly in line with Home Plate
and Second Base.
Dan Haren - Frame 406
One thing I like about Dan Haren's arm action is how his PAS
elbow always stays below the level of his shoulders. This is
about as high as his PAS elbow gets. From this point on, his PAS
elbow stays level and then drops as his PAS upper arm externally
Dan Haren - Frame 407
Dan Haren - Frame 408
Dan Haren - Frame 409
The thing to notice in this frame is Dan Haren's tremendous
hip/shoulder separation. It's got to be close to 90 degrees,
which means that he throws the ball with his entire body and not
just his arm. Also notice that at this moment his PAS elbow is
well below the level of his shoulders.
Dan Haren - Frame 410
This frame also suggests that Dan Haren's timing is good;
that his shoulders don't start rotating until his PAS forearm is
vertical. Notice how his PAS forearm doesn't start to lay back
until the next frame.
Dan Haren - Frame 411
Dan Haren - Frame 412
Dan Haren - Frame 413
Another thing I like about Dan Haren is that -- like Greg
Maddux -- rather than leaving his PAS foot behind on the rubber,
Dan Haren brings his PAS foot and knee forward. This increases
the distance over which his hips rotate.
Greg Maddux - Release Point
You can see the same thing in the photo above of Greg Maddux.
At the release point, his PAS foot is 3 feet or so off of the
Dan Haren - Frame 430
About the only thing that Dan Haren does that I'm not a fan
of is that he doesn't finish in a great fielding position.
Notice how his glove is behind his body in this frame. At least
he finishes sideways to Home Plate, which will make him a
By Frame Analysis: Nolan Ryan
I find the clip below of Nolan Ryan so interesting, and so
instructive, that I just used it to create a frame by frame
analysis of Nolan Ryan's pitching mechanics.
Pitching Myth Busters: The Balance Point
One of the most prevalent pitching myths out there is that
pitchers must come to, and pause at, the balance point during
their leg lift.
this may be what some young pitchers do, it's not what major
league pitchers do.
Instead, what major league pitchers do is start their
hips moving sideways toward the target before or at the top of
their leg lift. This helps to increase their linear momentum
which then gets converted into rotational momentum in the form
of the rapid
rotation of their hips (which powerfully pulls their shoulders
Perhaps the best example of this that I have found is the clip above of Nolan
Ryan. The thing to notice is how his hips start moving sideways
toward the target before he reaches the top of his leg lift.
While it's less dramatic, you can see the same thing
in the clip above of Mariano Rivera. Notice how his hips start
to move sideways toward the target at the top of his leg lift.
Now, let's look at this in greater detail using a
number of still frames of Curt Schilling.
As the photo above shows, as Curt Schilling nears the top of
his leg lift, he pushes sideways off of the rubber (back toward
2B) with his Pitching Arm Side (aka PAS) foot. This gets his
hips moving sideways toward the target.
Curt Schilling continues to push sideways off of the rubber
as his torso starts to drop and he breaks his hands. During this
time, Curt Schilling basically leads with his Glove Side (aka
GS) butt cheek.
As I have said elsewhere, this motion is better
described as "Drive and Drop" than the
more popular "Drop and
Drive". In the case of Curt Schilling, Nolan Ryan, Mariano
Rivera and others, they start driving their hips toward the
plate before their torsos start to drop significantly.
As the two photos above show, as Curt Schilling's GS foot moves down hill, he leads his
stride with the side of his foot. He only points his GS toe at
the target just before his GS foot lands. This helps to keep his
hips closed as long as possible and maximizes the force with
which his hips pull his shoulders around.
The Pitching Mechanic -