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Death To The Inverted V

8/27/2008
Updated 8/31/2010

Lately, I've been growing increasingly uncomfortable with my existing method of classifying arm action flaws. I have been feeling that the terms Inverted W, Inverted L, and Hyperabduction don't accurately characterize all of the types of flaws that I see.
     As a result, I have decided to start using a fourth term called the Inverted V.
     An Inverted V is basically half of an Inverted W. In other words, the Pitching Arm Side (PAS) action of an Inverted V is the same as with an Inverted W, but the Glove Side (GS) action of an Inverted V is different (and usually more traditional) than an Inverted W.

Jensen Lewis' Inverted V

Jensen Lewis' Inverted V

The photo above of Jensen Lewis is a perfect example of an Inverted V. Notice the fairly conventional GS arm orientation, but the PAS elbow well above and behind the level of the shoulders in a position of Hyperabduction and the PAS hand at the level of the shoulders.
     The Inverted V isn't (that) bad on its own. Rather, the Inverted V is bad because it can create a timing problem that can increase the load on the PAS elbow and shoulder.
     I don't know anything about his health history, but if you look at the photo above of Jensen Lewis you can see a strong hint of a possible timing problem. Notice how his PAS forearm is not yet even horizontal but his GS foot is just about to plant (and his shoulders are probably just about to rotate).

Joel Zumaya

Joel Zumaya

A significant Inverted V, and a resulting timing problem, is what you see in the clip above, and photo below, of Joel Zumaya.

Joel Zumaya's' Inverted V

Joel Zumaya's Inverted V

You can also see an Inverted V in the arm action of a number of other pitchers.

Billy Wagner's Inverted V

Billy Wagner's Inverted V

Aaron Heilman's' Inverted V

Aaron Heilman's Inverted V

Jake Peavy's Inverted V

Jake Peavy's Inverted V

This generally puts their elbows and shoulders at greater risk, although some of this risk can be mitigated by pitching out of the bullpen.

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