Weird Submarine Guys

By Jon “Jonny Baseball” Bouza

How I Got Started:

About 3 years ago I decided to get back into baseball after I stopped playing just before the start of High School ball. Pitching just comes naturally to me and I love it. However, ever since I hurt my shoulder in Little League I struggled to keep my arm in a comfortable three-quarters which was why I decided not to play in High School. So I decided to throw sidearm for a little while because even prior to hurting my arm it felt natural, even though I always got yelled at for doing it, which is why I, and a lot of other kids didn’t. By the way, if anyone reprimands you for throwing in a way that is comfortable and natural for your shoulder, tell them to bite you (respectfully of course). However, always be coachable and open to suggestions.

After about a week of throwing completely sidearm, I began to get a little bored with it. I mean, Side-arm is utilized a pretty fair amount of the time and I wanted to be different. I wanted to be useful because going into college after never having played high school ball, I was already at a disadvantage. So I looked up the five pitching styles and found out about submarine style.

I found out about Chad Bradford, and Shunsuke Watanabe and I thought to myself “Wow, this is cool! I’m going to try this.” So the next time I had a catch, I dropped down really low and smashed my hand into the ground while throwing. This was in an effort to emulate Bradford and Watanabe’s style and get a feel for the delivery. The second time I threw, I dropped a sinker right onto my dads foot sending him to the ground. It was at this exact moment that I knew I’d found my pitching delivery. After months of fiddling around with how I wanted to throw, I settled for a knee high release point and stepped on a mound.

The Mechanics:

As with any change, always start with flat-ground work when perfecting with your mechanics.

The basics of loading up as a submariner are pretty much exactly the same as every other delivery. Load up, bring your glove up in sync with your drive leg, break hands in sync with your drive leg starting to stride etc. However, when you start your stride you bend over to your throwing hand side and try to get your drive foot to land exactly in line (or more open or closed if you have the extremely common falling over problem). Also pointing your foot directly at the plate is not as big of a deal as some people like to make it with pitching, if you are a submariner. This video is pretty much how it should look, but throw how you want to throw. I just use this as a visualization tool.

The falling over problem is a major reason why people give up on submarine and raise their slot. When you “fall over” its because you aren’t balanced, and that is bringing the moment forward for a short time, and then going towards the dugouts. Thus taking away energy and velocity from behind your pitch, not to mention you have to over compensate to make it back to the plate and you are going to hurt your arm in doing so, or hit a batter or throw a wild pitch.

Also keep in mind, jumping to the side to catch yourself is not falling over. Falling over looks a little violent and looks like you aren’t in control of your delivery. If you can’t tell if you are falling over, record yourself throwing, or ask your catcher.

TIP: I actually recommend landing with your foot at about a 60-ish degree angle towards 3B (or 1B if you are a LHP) because it helps prevent you falling over, but that is just me.

TIP: DO NOT bring it in to your side as a side-arm/submariner because you will blow your arm out faster than Clayton Kershaw gives up bombs in the post-season. A little trick I like to do is to punch myself in the chest when I pitch, LIGHTLY.

As you pull your glove in you turn your trunk to face the plate and throwing sidearm, or three-quarters or over-hand as you are tilted to the side, with insanely fast arm-whip to get what velocity you can, and revolutions for the filthy break on the ball everyone is used to seeing from us.

You won’t normally hear this as a pitcher if you throw overhand, or even side-arm depending on what/how you throw, but working on fielding grounders as a submariner is just as paramount as your delivery itself. What is the point of being a ground-ball pitcher if you cant field grounders? After-all once that ball leaves your hand you are no longer a pitcher until you step back on that mound with the ball in hand against a new hitter.

Important Exercises For Submariners:

Dead Lift’s: Single-handedly the most important weight lifting exercise for pitchers becomes 100x more important if you are a submariner. Any type of dead lift works best for us. I actually suggest your basic every day Barbell Dead Lift coupled with Romanian Dumbbell Dead Lift’s and the reasoning is simple. Submariner’s deal with an increased amount of tension and force in our backs and hips than typical over the top pitchers do. I like to consider it a trade off for the lessened force on our shoulders and arms. So that being said, our legs and our backs, specifically our Lower Backs and the entire posterior chain need to be extremely well supported and durable. Elliot Hulse – How to Rebuild Your Dead Lift Properly *Some Profanity.

Russian Twists (Weighted): For the same exact reasoning stated above with Dead Lifts. The core does not only support our Anterior half (Front) it heavily supports our Posterior. This hits the Ab’s and obliques at the same time as well as getting yourself used to the the Rotational strain that will be put on you. Scott Herman(Fitness) Alternating Russian Twists

Medicine Ball Throw: One way to to this is through your delivery. You “Push-throw” the ball in your delivery, meaning the same exact way you pitch, or you can just do it with a stride. This will help train you to keep your balance and build up strength from your shoulder through your core and into your legs. There are a bunch of different Medicine Ball Throw variations, all of which help with explosiveness. Jon Huizinga Pitching Coach – Top Velocity 3X Camp Medicine Balls

Alternating Medicine Ball Plyo Push-up: You can start this as a beginner from your knees instead of your feet if need be. Believe me, if you haven’t done them before, you will want to start on your knees just to get used to the fast paced motion that this exercise is supposed to be performed at once you get to a higher level. This is probably the single best body weight exercise out there for submarine pitchers that I have found so far. It works everything from your shoulders to your your legs while keeping everything explosive, if you can keep the motion going that is. Not to mention, it really tests your core stability which I can not stress enough as a submarine pitcher, heck for any type of pitcher really. Scott Herman (Fitness) Single-Arm Medicine Ball Push-Up. (Alternating starts at about 0:58 seconds)

Front Squat: A lot of people will tell you that back squats are great for pitchers. That is true, if you aren’t a submariner. They are just good. Back squats really compress your Lumbar, which isn’t a good thing for us. It’s extra stress that we don’t need in that area. So I heavily recommend Front Squats. They expose pretty much every weakness that you aren’t even aware you have. Elliot Hulse – Why Front Squats Are Better For Athletes.

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