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Archive for Pitching Mechanics

I’ve seen over the last couple of years, kids doing reverse chaining with weighted balls to strengthen the backside muscles. It seems like they would help strengthen or increase range of motion of the arm. It does neither of those.

You can’t train decelerators reverse chaining, or with resistance training.

The reason for this is throwing is concentric, or shorting of the muscle. Concentric is accelerating your arm. The back of the shoulder, or decelerators is eccentric. Which means the lengthening of the muscle.

It is impossible replicate the speed of muscle strength, the amount the muscle is stretched, or time delay involved in throwing or striking. I know it may sound confusing, but this is how our body works.

Why is Reverse Chaining is Counter Intuitive

Our muscles shorten then lengthen when throwing; so reverse chaining is counter intuitive. It’s also very hard to find your exact arm angle when reverse chaining. The most effective way of training and balancing both decelerators and accelerators is doing the towel drill with a ball 20% heavier and 20% lighter. This will build parity in the pitcher’s arm while also working on his timing, kinematic sequencing, and mechanics. This has been documented and researched by biomechanics. This will also be skill specific. You can do it on the mound or on flat ground.

Another great strengthening exercise is the Wonderweight.  You can see all the info on my web site. It’s a great tool for almost any age and is safer then tubing. Studies have shown that it gets up to 20% more strengthening than tubing. Also, you can use it at different angles and weights. So go check it out, my students all love it and even some of the parents use them with frozen shoulders.

Our summer camp is going great — If you are interested in attending please email me at Redheadsox@aol.com  or call 281.773.6769.

Thanks and feel free to ask any questions and leave comments on my blog.

Reverse Chaining Pitching Tips

Kevin Beirne, Pitching Coach
NPA Certified

©Kevin Beirne 07/2012

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The Slide Step is the most misunderstood conventional wisdom and hardest for coaches to accept.

The most important job for a pitcher is to get the batter out. With runners on base, our job is to keep the runner close by using different looks and changing how long we hold the ball.

The major league average for catchers throwing out runners is around 20%. I’d like you to guess what the average of stolen bases is in a game? I guessed around two a game. Between 2002-2006 the average was .78 per game. That’s right, less than one a game.

I know, a lot people will say they are big leaguers. In the little league, they are going to steal the base anyway. Is it better to give up a two run homer or a stolen base? Strike 1 or ball 1?

Most importantly, the slide step messes up the pitchers timing.

Out of the wind up, what are kids told to do? Big leg kick, stay tall, stay back, and then when someone gets on base — They are told to be short and quick to the plate. This will also mess up their sequencing and this will lead to an injury. So, you can see why it’s hard for kids to find the strike zone with two different deliveries. If you get to foot strike in one second or less, you will be getting more energy and momentum going towards home plate.

Believe it or not, the ball will get to home plate faster and the delivery will become more repeatable. So find their right timing and this will enable them to be sequenced right. This will make the pitcher more efficient and effective.

So the numbers don’t lie. As long as you get to foot strike in one second or less in the stretch and wind up, this will help keep their timing more repeatable.

Inform, Instruct & Inspire,

Pitching Mechanics -- Slide Step

Kevin Beirne, Pitching Coach
NPA Certified

©Kevin Beirne 01/2012

**We are in the Houston, TX area educating and training pitchers so they can reach their greatest potential while  minimizing injury. Learn more about pitching mechanics, velocity and what about the slide step.

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Should Pitchers Pull The Glove?

Pulling the glove is one of the most misunderstood conventional wisdoms out there. Our eyes only see at 32 frames a second, so what we really see in a pitchers delivery and what is really happening can be confusing. It sure looks like pitchers pull their glove, but in actuality, the best of the best are actually taking their chest to their glove.

Most young kids have a problem dropping their glove because of the weight of the glove is fifteen times heavier than the ball. So these kids lack the functional strength to keep it up. If you are dropping your glove it will also have an effect on your balance and posture at release point. We like to call this a soft glove.

What your glove should be doing is what we call, swivel and stabilize. At foot strike you should be in your opposite and equal with the glove pointing down. But when your shoulders start to square up to your target, your glove should swivel up and firm up. Having a firm glove helps the pitcher track his body towards his target. Which will allow the pitcher to be as close as possible at release point.

What do Pitchers & Discus Throwers have in Common?

I like to think of it this way, a discus thrower and pitcher are both rotational athletes who are trying to use every ounce of energy into their implements they are trying to throw. Discus throwers are spinning as fast as they can and then they let the discus go. If a pitcher didn’t use their glove side arm to stop the energy and redirect the energy towards home plate, pitchers would end up just like a discus thrower. Pitchers would just keep spinning and have a very difficult time to have a consistent repeatable delivery.

I have students who have taken lessons from a minor league pitching coach who instructs his kids to pull their gloves. It’s not by coincidence that this organization has been one the worst in baseball in developing pitchers. Can you believe with all the technology and research today they’re still teaching the wrong stuff??

Most importantly, when you pull your glove, this causes your hips from going/moving forward to making your front leg lock out way too early. This will also cause your release point to be further away from home plate. From the side, you will be able to see at release point, that the ball is being released right around the front foot. If you don’t pull your glove but swivel and stabilize it, you will be releasing the ball 8-12 inches in front of the front foot.

Just remember, take your chest to your glove or I like to say, “Take your spine to the glove”. So the next time your watching a game, pay attention to the glove. The players that pull, will miss high or low, the ones that swivel and stabilize will be the most efficient repeatable.

Inform, Instruct & Inspire,

Pitchers Pulling The Glove
Kevin Beirne, Pitching Coach
NPA Certified

©Kevin Beirne 6/2011

*As your pitching coach, our promise is to stay on the cutting edge of what is best for our pitchers!

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Tall and Fall – Truth or Fiction?

I’m sure everyone at some point during their coaching or playing career has heard the saying “Tall and Fall”. Through my whole career my college and professional coaches have told me this. Come to find out that this conventional wisdom is also flawed.

Better Pitching Mechanics with Motion Analysis

I remember sitting in the NPA lab in San Diego going over a presentation when Tom came across the conventional wisdom of pitching. “Tall and Fall” was at the top of the list. He then went on to explain that for every inch of inappropriate head movement, whether it be left, right, up, down, or backward, you will lose two inches at release point.

He then went on to show pictures of some MLB pitchers in an athletic set up with little or no head movement, and some that stood straight up at set up with significant head movement. He then shows a picture of both, from the side view. At release point, the pitcher in an athletic set up with no head movement was releasing the ball 8-12 inches out in front his foot. The pitcher that started standing up with head movement released the ball right around his foot. If I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t have believed it!

Tom went on to explain that if you start standing straight up, you will lose a good 6 inches at release point and stride length with be shorter. Just by being in athletic position will get your closer to home plate but will also help keep your head on line.

The “Tall and Fall” theory is said to create more of a downward angle. Like I’ve said in our last article, would you rather be closer to home plate or worry about downward angle? Hitting is all about timing! The less they have of it, the better!

Research from the RDRBI 3-D motion analysis, shows there’s only one degree of downward plane of difference at release point. So the advantages of being to closer to home plate, or one degree of difference higher but 8-12 inches further away from home? It’s a no brainer!! If you don’t believe it, try it yourself.

“Tall and Fall” also shortens your stride length. By not having a nice long stride length puts added stress on the arm. The Research confirms this!! So just get in an athletic position and stay there. There’s less room for error, also your getting closer to home plate. It’s a Win, Win!!

Inform, Instruct & Inspire,

Kevin Beirne, Pitching Coach
NPA Certified
Tall and Fall or NPA Certified Coach Pitching Mechanics

 

 

 

©2011 & Beyond
Kevin Beirne Pitching & Research Center

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