Pitching Mechanics 101
When it comes to pitching mechanics and pitching instruction, a number of myths and misconceptions get in the way of
developing pitchers and keeping them healthy.
Many of the myths and misconceptions about pitching mechanics that exist do so because
people don't understand what a pitcher's arm (actually) does
when they throw the ball.
The Epidemic, my analysis of
the pitcher injury epidemic, I include a piece entitled...
...that breaks down the pitching mechanics of Jeff Suppan and
that explains what a high-level pitcher's arm (actually) does
when they throw the ball.
Many people -- including and most likely because of Tom House
-- believe a pitcher's arm slot is determined by the angle of
the pitcher's elbow at the release point.
Arm Slot - Perception
If a pitcher wants to throw sidearm, they
fully extend their elbow, if a pitcher wants
to throw from a 3/4 arm slot, they bend their elbow 45 degrees,
and if a pitcher wants to throw from an overhand
arm slow, they bend their elbow 90 degrees.
Jeff Suppan's Arm Slot
However, If you spend any amount of time studying photos of
pitchers at the release point, you will find that their elbows
are always fully extended -- and their elbows are just below the
level of their shoulders -- regardless of the arm slot that they
Arm Slot - Reality
That is because the truth is that, as the diagram above
shows, the primary driver of a
pitcher's arm slot is the tilt of their shoulders at the release
point, not the angle of their elbow.
Where to Go From here
If you are interested in learning more about pitching
mechanics, and how the most dominant and durable pitchers
(actually) throw the ball, I offer a number of options.
and as I mentioned above, I have put together a piece that
discusses what I believe are the root causes of the pitcher injury epidemic
that is plaguing baseball at all levels. It is
people can, and often do, go into excruciating detail about
pitching mechanics, at the end of the day pitching
is just throwing with less margin for error. As a result,
the way to learn to pitch well is to learn how to
throw well. To that end, I have put together
Throwing Mechanics 101, which explains the keys to teaching
just as there are some things a pitcher should do,
because they will improve your ability to throw hard and well, there are
some things a pitcher should not do because they increase the
risk a pitcher will injure himself. Unfortunately, many of these
things are taught by many well-meaning, but ill-informed,
Mechanics 101 discusses what
pitchers and, just as importantly, what
not to teach pitchers.