Dr. Mike Marshall:
What He Got Right
One frustrating thing about developing an insight or a full
analytical framework is seeing people using it without
attributing where they got it from. On multiple occasions I have
had people use my analytical framework, and in some cases even
my words, without attribution or even a hat tip...
When you use someone's framework to do an analysis and make a
prediction, the right thing to do is to let people know the source
of that framework.
It would be hypocritical in the extreme for me complain about
people using my analytical framework without attribution and then
not tell who my influences were, so let me take a
moment to discuss the influence that the work of
Dr. Mike Marshall
has had on my work.
First, I no longer closely follow the work of Dr. Marshall. As I explain in my piece
Marshall: My Current View, I believe that, at a minimum, many
of his claims don't hold up to
What's more, many of his solutions don't actually work and a number of
his ideas are simply indefensible.
They may also actually increase the risk of injury.
Having said that, there are a number of things that Dr.
Marshall was the first person to talk widely about and
that he got right, well before anybody else.
Late Pitching Forearm Turnover
When Dr. Marshall talks about late pitching forearm turnover,
when pitching coaches talk about rushing, and when I talk about
timing, we are all talking about the same thing.
If a pitcher's arm isn't up and in a good position at the
moment their front foot lands and their shoulders start rotating,
they will significantly increase the load on their elbow and their
shoulder. That may help them throw the ball harder, but it will
also significantly increase their risk of injury.
What I have
contributed to the discussion is an explanation of how Dr.
Marshall's ideas match up with the intuition of other pitching
coaches and the flaw that is commonly referred to as rushing. I have also pointed out that being early is just as much
of a problem as being late, which is something that I don't think
Dr. Marshall understands.
Palm on Top of the Ball
Another problematic movement pattern that Dr. Marshall
identified was the cue to keep the palm on top of the ball. He
correctly understood that the cue would tend to create a problem
with late pitching forearm turnover and a timing problem.
extended this idea and have identified a number of other cues and
movement patterns that create the same problem.
To my knowledge, Dr. Marshal was the first person to propose
that the activation of the muscles of the pitching forearm can be
used to help protect the UCL. While he may have gotten the exact
muscle group wrong, research suggests that he got the general
1. It's not possible to throw the ball hard
without experiencing Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce and Pitching
Forearm Flyout. They are simply a consequence of throwing hard.
All you can do is manage them, not eliminate them. When Dr.
Marshall says his pitchers' arm do not bounce and do not fly out,
he is mistaken. His own high speed video shows that they do.