Want to generate momentum and great direction down the mound? “Stack ‘em”!
This is a common statement our pitchers will hear me say. In our program, we talk often about stacking the hips (hip drive, pelvic loading, etc.). Now the first question to answer is why do we talk about it and what does it do for you?
In an ideal delivery, the hips work separately from the torso during the stride phase. A disconnection needs to occur for proper torso rotation to take place. The hips have to go first, with the torso close to follow. Some of the verbal cues (which I try not use a ton of) we use are, “show the back pocket” or “drive the back hip through the front hip”. For the record, I am more a fan of pitchers physically learning how to move, rather than learning how to listen [to cues]. When done correctly, the athlete should feel either a pinch in the back hip and/or pressure on the inside part of their lead leg.read more
By Rob Friedman
While there are no absolutes or magic bullets, here are a few lower half cues that I’ve found work well to get pitchers to use their lower half correctly. Remember: Verbal cues can mean different things to different players, so be careful just using one cue for everyone. And some pitchers are visual learners, some are auditory learners and yet others are kinesthetic learners—so explore to find out what works best for each particular pitcher.
1. “Rotate into footplant.”
The pitcher should concentrate on his back leg rotating into foot plant. Don’t allow the front knee and foot to open up too early.
2. Show your “sole” (shoe/front foot): Step over move.
This allows you to delay hip rotation and be very aggressive with hips and lower half.read more
Ask most pitching coaches at the amateur or even collegiate and professional levels about injury prevention and you’ll find the conversation default to mechanics. Where the elbow needs to be, how long their stride length should be compared to their height, or having their head in ‘XYZ’ position at late-cocking. Indeed, biomechanics provides us with a large pool of information. So large, in fact, that sometimes we blind ourselves to the rest of the pitching injury paradigm. However, the complexity of the biological system cannot be dwindled down to biomechanical analysis, as it is just one component of athletic performance. Let’s step back from this narrowed viewpoint and consider what we are gaining from breaking down pitching mechanics and what other pertinent information we may be skipping over along the way. read more
“It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” –Abraham Maslow
Too often, coaches can tend to be one dimensional, focusing on one aspect of pitching as the key to success. To some, almost all problems can be solved by one particular cue or mechanical adjustment or letting the pitcher rest or whatever they were taught years ago, depending on their own mindset and biases. In short, for many coaches and pitchers, the only tool they have is their personal “hammer,” so everything they see is a nail. read more
One area I believe that is often overlooked is mechanics at the youth/little league level. Let me first say mechanics are crucial at any age and any issues should be corrected immediately. That being said, I believe coaches have a tendency with youth pitchers to either make too many changes or none at all. This can allow pitchers to develop bad habits that become harder to break as the pitcher ages or the pitcher becomes too robotical in his delivery due to over overcoaching.
I believe both of these issues can be fixed in a very simple and easy way: Focusing On The Fundamentals. Many of you coaches may remember legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. If you know anything about Coach Wooden's philosophy it was that he emphasized fundamentals every single day. He believed if a player mastered the fundamentals, s/he would be abound with confidence. I agree 110% with Coach Wooden. If pitchers are taught early on in their careers the very basic actions of the pitching delivery (hip drive, arm action, rotation, follow-through) then the pitcher can become much more confident in his ability, he can establish a "FEEL" for his mechanics so he can adjust when something is wrong, and he can keep his arm healthy.read more