T Nation

Pitching For Power

Growing up playing baseball I always wanted to be like Roger Clemens or like Nolan Ryan. In the beginning I threw hard for my age, then as I got older I never seemed to get it above 82 mph. I read everything I could, worked w/ pitching coaches, Jeff Schwartz, he pitched for the White Sox back in 94’, got pitching newsletters from Dick Mills & even went to Az. to work w/ him. Workouts like a demon! Still, no velocity increase. And always reading “Baseball America” I would read about guys who were not throwing that hard got onto a workout program or threw weighted baseballs & then all of a sudden started throwing in the mid 90’s!

So what’s it take to throw hard? Also, I think working w/ pitching coaches is somewhat of a waste. Good for some things though! I believe it’s better to not think so much about the angle of your arm or how high your leg kick is & ALL of that. You just have to that damn ball. Thinking get in the way! I was thinking sooooo much that I looked like a robot when I pitched. Your thoughts!

I think the importance of the leg drive is overrated. Great pitchers fall off the mound. Look at Schilling. He could throw great despite his bad ankle injury. if you watch the movement you notice that there is little knee flexion or extension (same with hip) until you land on the lead leg (afterwards) to catch yourself. There is a decent amount of rotation involved though.

Leg drive is still extremely important. The great pitchers look almost effortless but that is because their mechanics are perfect. Their whole body works together but it starts with the leg drive. Kicking higher will allow for more leg drive.

Ok, but do you push off the rubber or do you pull of the rubber? Is there a difference?

When I don’t think & just throw it’s effortless. I’ve been out of baseball since 98’. Since then just playing b-ball & tennis & of course working out hard. My dad & I always joke around saying that I should get some kid to catch me & I’ll most likely be throwing the shit out of the ball from all of these yrs. of working out & getting stronger.

And over a month ago I ended up throwing w/ a kid that I personal train w/ wts. for baseball. It had been at least 7 yrs. since I threw a baseball! I didn’t think about anything, was very effortless & it felt great! We got about 55 feet from each other.

So, I need to go out & see what happens, would be very interesting. Also, from all the tennis that I’ve been playing the past 6 yrs. I’m sure has built up my arm strenght. Will see…

A key to pitching power is landing with your weight shifted back…and then upon landing, forcefully rotating your hips towards the plate. Power comes from the rotational power in your lower body, which transfers up to the arm.
I wouldn’t recommend using weighted balls…rather, concentrate on the part of the chain that is lacking…(lower body explosiveness, core, etc).

[quote]TheZ-Man wrote:
A key to pitching power is landing with your weight shifted back…and then upon landing, forcefully rotating your hips towards the plate. Power comes from the rotational power in your lower body, which transfers up to the arm.
I wouldn’t recommend using weighted balls…rather, concentrate on the part of the chain that is lacking…(lower body explosiveness, core, etc).
[/quote]

Thanks! I remember back in the niddle 90’s about this one pitcher Jason Bere! Man! What a badass he was w/ the Whit Sox! I heard about him not throwing & then suddenly he was doing alot of medicine ball throwing & alot of rotation drills, so I went & bought 3- medicine balls & did all the drills w/ my dad. I do believe it helped some but maybe I wasn’t going all out, not sure. I always think back and am asking myself what did I not do, what maybe should I have done different. I still have the medicine balls, maybe I’ll start up the throwing & rotation drills again. I remember from all the throwing from the medicine balls I did build up some major serratus muscles! :slight_smile: Thanks for the replys. More are welcome.

Also! I was always on the lookout for anything about or how Roger “ROCKET” Clemens did for his strenght & power. Over the past 15 yrs. I saw an article in some mag about what he did, but I didn’t keep it or steal it. I widh I would have.

P.S Whatever happened to the pitcher Jon Wettland? Not sure about the spelling. He was awesome & the POOF! He was gone!

The most interesting post I’ve seen in a long-time and glad to see some people still play baseball around here.

I think one thing that needs to be emphasized in this thread is that first and foremost you need a quality pitching coach to ensure you have the mechanics down. Throwing heat is not a weight-room manufactured event and you can never underestimate your skill work.

From the standpoint of your athletic training, your focus becomes dynamic range of motion, core / rotational work, leg drive with an eye most importantly towards speed the retraction of the shoulder scap.

All the best and good luck in the art of pitching.

In faith,

Coach Davies

[quote]Coach Davies wrote:
leg drive with an eye most importantly towards speed the retraction of the shoulder scap.

[/quote]

Can you please clarify what you mean by this. Thanks. It’s great to have your input on this…

[quote]TheZ-Man wrote:
Coach Davies wrote:
leg drive with an eye most importantly towards speed the retraction of the shoulder scap.

Can you please clarify what you mean by this. Thanks. It’s great to have your input on this…
[/quote]

Leg drive, the ability to explode off the pitching mound with the retraction speed of the scap (along with of course skill related mechanics) are the influencing factors of throwing at top velocity. Unfortunately many will confuse training protocols/exercise but can’t visualize that is the underlying concept to help you produce heat.

I hope that helps.

In faith,

Coach Davies

Very interesting…

Another thing I found to help is wrist flexibilty. Doing drills where you pull your hand back and hold for 5 secs, then releasing it and let the wrist explode forward helps with this. I believe the increased rotation you can accomplish on the ball, through greater ROM in the wrist, will add a little to anyone’s fastball.

[quote]BRUCELEEWANNABE wrote:
Growing up playing baseball I always wanted to be like Roger Clemens or like Nolan Ryan. In the beginning I threw hard for my age, then as I got older I never seemed to get it above 82 mph. I read everything I could, worked w/ pitching coaches, Jeff Schwartz, he pitched for the White Sox back in 94’, got pitching newsletters from Dick Mills & even went to Az. to work w/ him. Workouts like a demon! Still, no velocity increase. And always reading “Baseball America” I would read about guys who were not throwing that hard got onto a workout program or threw weighted baseballs & then all of a sudden started throwing in the mid 90’s!

So what’s it take to throw hard? Also, I think working w/ pitching coaches is somewhat of a waste. Good for some things though! I believe it’s better to not think so much about the angle of your arm or how high your leg kick is & ALL of that. You just have to that damn ball. Thinking get in the way! I was thinking sooooo much that I looked like a robot when I pitched. Your thoughts![/quote]

BTW - i just wanted to commented on your last paragraph because there is a great deal of accuracy to what you say although it may be confusing within this topic. Oddly enough to be a great pitcher with velocity your movement needs to be fluid, your body working in unison and of course you are not “thinking”, just doing. Pitching is truly an art in sports that is rarely looked at.

In someways a young pitcher needs (and maybe for yourself when you were younger) continued instruction with skilled coach and equally time off the mound just throwing and becoming comfortable.

Again - best topic in a long-time on the art of pitching.

In faith,

Coach Davies

[quote]TheZ-Man wrote:
Very interesting…

Another thing I found to help is wrist flexibilty. Doing drills where you pull your hand back and hold for 5 secs, then releasing it and let the wrist explode forward helps with this. I believe the increased rotation you can accomplish on the ball, through greater ROM in the wrist, will add a little to anyone’s fastball.
[/quote]

I agree with you totally on the issue of wrist flexibility and thats where you get that fine line with SPP. In my posts I didn’t want to confuse a young hurler to think by doing a certain lift because so much of this relates to truly understand pitching.

In faith,

Coach Davies

What do you mean by “most importantly towards speed the retraction of the shoulder scap.”? Keep my shoulder blades squeezed together?

Bruceleewannabe-
The difference between throwing low 80’s and 90 mph is often hard to see on videotape and even more difficult to accomplish.
That you worked with Dick Mills is a very big clue that your mechanics are a limiting factor.
Dick Mills is the self-proclaimed internet guru of pitching. but what he teaches, if followed religiously, will lead to exactly what you got - low 80’s with no sign of improvement.
What you have learned is a set of self- limiting mechanics that will be extremely hard to unlearn and replace with mechanics that will possibly allow you to throw 90 mph.
The only place I know that has a clue about this process is www.setpro.com.
Paul Nyman is the real deal and knows how to get that last 5-10 mph.
He has also been an outspoken critic of Dick Mills for years. And Mills takes every opportunity to denigrate him as well.
However, if you are willing to learn and do the work, Setpro is the absolutely best place to go to achieve your goal.
Tell Paul Major Dan sent you.

[quote]Stronski wrote:
What do you mean by “most importantly towards speed the retraction of the shoulder scap.”? Keep my shoulder blades squeezed together?[/quote]

no, definately do not pinch the shoulder blades together akin to say how you would in many weight room movements. I hope that wasn’t confusing.

Again (and I hope I’m phrasing this correctly) many who look at velocity development off the mound tend to think its a weight room derived event, i.e. “arm strength”. But development must occur with a understanding of technical needs of pitching under the watchful eyes of a qualified pitching coach. Leg drive, the explosive action of the rear leg with proper landing, pelvic tilt will allow for proper rotational core/arm speed and thus velocity.

I hope that helps.

In faith,

Coach Davies

velocity potential is linked to your genetics more than anything. you either have a cannon for an arm or you don’t.

that being said; developing fluid mechanics, long tossing, sport specific strength training, proper coaching/guidance etc etc etc can help add a few miles here and there… and/or help you realize your full potential if one area of your pitching fundamentals has been holding you back.

[quote]Major Dan wrote:
The only place I know that has a clue about this process is www.setpro.com.
Paul Nyman is the real deal and knows how to get that last 5-10 mph.
[/quote]

i checked this site out. its just logical to assume that specific training and correcting mechanical flaws will help a pitcher reach his velocity potential. if it was so easy to add 10 miles an hour…most guys even at division 3 schools would be pumping high 80’s/low 90’s. that is why gentetic potential will always be the limiting factor when it comes to velocity. i’m not saying all the specific training methods do not work…they do! but they only work to help an individual acheive his potential…if it is 82, then its 82.

[quote]juice20jd wrote:
that is why gentetic potential will always be the limiting factor when it comes to velocity. i’m not saying all the specific training methods do not work…they do! but they only work to help an individual acheive his potential…if it is 82, then its 82.

[/quote]

I agree to a certain extent…What is in the genetic makeup of mariano rivera or pedro martinez that allows them to throw in the low-mid 90’s?

juice20jd-
I agree that everyone has an upper limit.
The problem is that so few achieve that upper limit and those that do are top level pitchers in MLB.
For most (99.9%), it is failure to reach their potential.
There are many more who could throw 90+ mph than do. A solid % of the college pitchers throwing 85 mph could increase their velocity.
The biggest gap is mechanics. Though there are great athletes that pitch, there are also many successful pitchers who are not elite athletes. watch some of the NL pitchers hit. some can but some are pathetic. Pitching can be taught. It is not reactive. THe pitcher controls the event until the ball is released. the pitcher initiates the play. Pitching is potentially a taught skill.
And unfortunately many pitching coaches even at the top levels don’t really understand the inner workings of the body in throwing at near-max human levels.
Tom House, the published pitching guru of the past 20 years and the dean of modern pitching coach theory, got a lot of it wrong. The posts about not pushing off the rubber, you stand tall and fall, are his creations and his errors as well.
but he wrote the ‘bible’ and way too many pitching coaches, local to hs, to pro believe his stuff and ruin the potential of pitcher after pitcher.