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Proper Pitching Mechanics

3/24/2008
Updated 12/27/2010

I am frequently asked what I think are proper pitching mechanics and which major league baseball pitchers best exemplify proper pitching mechanics.

What are proper Pitching Mechanics?

In terms of the first question, I believe that proper pitching mechanics are those that allow a pitcher to throw the ball...

   1. As hard as necessary.
   2. With exceptional control.
   3. With exceptional movement.
   4. With exceptional deception.

...while minimizing the risk that the pitcher will experience an injury.

Who Has the Best Pitching Mechanics?

It's not a coincidence that I advocate and teach the pitching mechanics of pitchers with long histories of being both durable and effective. That includes pitchers like...

   - Randy Johnson
   - Greg Maddux
   - Nolan Ryan
   - Tom Seaver

I believe that those pitchers' superior pitching mechanics were the key to both their effectiveness and their durability.

What Not To Do

The problem is that the really great, durable pitchers do not do many of the things that modern-day pitching coaches and pitching gurus say are critical to developing proper pitching mechanics. In particular, durable pitchers do not...

- Show the ball to 2B/CF.
- Feed the giant.
- Keep their fingers on top of the ball.
- Break their hands with their elbows.
- Break their hands with their thumbs down.
- Make the Inverted W.
- Make the Inverted L.
- Make the Inverted V.
- Get their elbow up above their shoulders.
- Push off the rubber near the release point.

As I explain elsewhere in my piece on pitching injury prevention, I believe that commonly taught ideas like the Inverted W, Inverted L, Inverted V, and getting the elbow above the level of the shoulders (which I call Hyperabduction) are not necessary to throwing well or hard and significantly increase the risk a pitcher will experience an injury.

What To Do

When I study the pitching mechanics of great, durable pitchers like Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, and Tom Seaver, I see them do a number of things that contribute to both their effectiveness and their durability. This includes things like...

- Showing the ball to 3B (1B for lefties).
- Keeping their elbows below their shoulders.
- Not reverse-rotating their shoulders.
- Not leaving their PAS foot on the rubber.

I believe that by doing these things -- which virtually all great, durable pitchers do -- pitchers will increase their effectiveness and decrease the risk they will experience a serious injury.

Where To Go From Here

For those of you who are interested in learning more about the topic of pitching mechanics, I recently completed an essay that explains pitching mechanics and some of what I teach.

Pitching Mechanics 101 DVD
My Pitching Mechanics 101 DVD explains proper pitching mechanics in detail and how to teach pitchers of all ages.

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