Proper Pitching Mechanics
Up until 20 years ago or so, the phrase "proper pitching
mechanics" was implicitly understood to refer to those movements that allowed pitchers to throw, with control and command, while minimizing
the risk of injury.
Nobody really talked about injuries, but the assumption was
that nobody would teach pitching mechanics that significantly
raised the risk of injury.
That would be insane.
Thus The Epidemic
The problem is that, due in large part to innovations like
Tommy John surgery, that view of proper pitching mechanics has changed.
Thus The Epidemic
Movements that reduce the risk of
elbow and shoulder problems are now labeled as flaws.
It's the Timing, Stupid
While positions like the
Inverted W have gotten the most press, when it comes to proper pitching mechanics, the most
important thing is what I call
Justin Verlander and Anthony Reyes
By Timing, I mean the position of the pitching arm when the shoulders
start to rotate.
Tom Seaver, Daniel Winkler, and Nolan Ryan
If you compare the position of the pitching arm of dominant
and durable pitchers and frequently-injured pitchers at the
start of the rotation of the shoulders, you can see an obvious
Tom Seaver, Jose Fernandez, and Nolan Ryan
The pitching arms of dominant and durable pitchers are UP
when their shoulders start to rotate -- which is usually at
front foot plant -- and the pitching arms of frequently-injured
pitchers are FLAT when their shoulders start to rotate.
I use the term
Flat Arm Syndrome to refer to the tendency for
frequently-injured pitchers' arms to be flat at the start of
Justin Verlander August 21, 2016
Justin Verlander is probably the best current example of good
timing and proper pitching mechanics, and I believe his getting
back to his original mechanics helped to explain his success in
The Tragic Two
The definition of proper pitching mechanics is changing, and I believe Timing problems are becoming more prevalent
as a result and due to the proliferation of two cues.
The most problematic cue is one that is, tragically,
advocated by the
Mayo Clinic as being part of the mechanics of a
It's anything but.
Mayo Clinic Power Position
As I said above, if you look at the pitching mechanics of
dominant and durable pitchers like Nolan Ryan, Justin Verlander,
and Tom Seaver, their pitching arms are UP when
their shoulders start rotating.
What the Mayo Clinic is advocating is something you see in
the pitching mechanics of frequently-injured pitchers like
The obvious contrast between what Henderson Alvarez does
(did?) and proper pitching mechanics
made his injury problems sadly easy to predict.
Tommy John Twist
Tommy John Twist is taught using any number of cues,
- Point the ball at second base.
- Show the ball to center field.
- Feed the giant.
The idea of pointing the ball toward second base at the power
position is advocated by
USA Baseball, among others.
I was taught that great pitchers do some variant of pointing
the ball at second base. However, when I checked, I found that
was not the case.
However, if you look at pictures of pitchers who need Tommy
John surgery, they are often pointing the ball at second base at
Dominant and Durable
Every harder thrower doesn't get
The history of baseball is full of pitchers who were both
Dominant & Durable. That includes pitchers like...
- Justin Verlander
- Nolan Ryan
- Tom Seaver
I have spent the past 10 years identifying the differences
between dominant and durable pitchers and pitchers who have
trouble staying healthy, including...
I believe I have identified the -- in my opinion unnecessary --
movement patterns that place them at risk.
Proper Pitching Mechanics?
This is just an overview of my views on proper pitching
For an expanded version, see the essay on my client site
Proper Pitching Mechanics? It is part of my webbook that
pitcher injury and Tommy John surgery epidemic.