Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Breaking down Anatomy of a Pitch

March 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Pitching

In yesterday’s post I provided a link to a piece on the ESPN/MLB website called Anatomy of a Pitch.  If you have not been through the short videos of the Diamondback pitchers involved, I hope you do.  It’s tremendous.

When I watched the videos and listened to the pitchers talk, a number of things jumped out at me.  Here are a few:

They keep it simple.  There was no talk of biokinetics, torque, or explosive rotation.  Simple terms like balance, feel, on their line, rhythm, and smooth was all they needed.  Each pitcher has their own keys they focus on.  What are yours?

A small step to get started. All the pitchers who started in the wind-up began with a very small rocking step back and a little to the side.  No big steps back or to the side that would throw off their balance or their line.  Their step was designed to just get the process started.

Anatomy1

Balance.  Virtually every pitcher mentioned the word “balance” and the importance of it.  They all focused a lot of attention of making sure they reached the balance point of getting all their weight up and back on their back leg before coming forward to throw the pitch.  A couple mentioned that going forward before getting to the balanced position led to troubles.  Even the side arm guy got tall and balanced on his back leg before going forward to deliver the pitch.

Anatomy2

Separation.  Every pitcher separated their hands at the same time – when the foot started to come down.  Do it late and pitches will end up high, especially off-speed stuff.

On the line.  A number of the pitchers mentioned the importance of staying on their lines.  Where have you heard that before?  Click HERE.

Leverage your pitch.  Each pitcher had a pitch that they felt was their go-to pitch.  Each gave the indication that they had mastered it to the point where they could throw it at any time in the count.  What pitch have you mastered to that degree? 

Finish like a pitcher.  Every pitcher finished with their body in the correct finished position – shoulders rotated (back shoulder now facing the catcher), head up and eyes level, body at its lowest point in the delivery, glove tucked and arm under the glove, and back hip rotated forward towards home plate.  What does that tell you if every single pitcher does it?

Anatomy3

Every pitcher in the series has differences in arm slot, hand/ball path, leg kick, release point, and finish.  That is to be expected.  Every pitcher is going to be different in some way.  However, as listed and explained above, there are certain procedures that every successful pitcher must do.  How they do it (the techniques) will vary but the procedure is the same.

And that’s a lesson for coaches and instructors.  Teach the procedure and give every pitcher the freedom to search for techniques that suit their own needs.

Rarely do I come across a piece that shows so much great stuff in a short period of time.  They better not take it off their site!

Next post:  10 strikes a game

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