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Champions aren't made in the gyms.  Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision.

 

 


 

 Basics of Pitching

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Click Here to Read the Psychological Science of Pitching

The following ideas represent what we teach as the "absolutes" as pitching.  There are many variables in a pitcher's motion which depend upon a pitcher's strength, balance, arm slot, and overall athletic ability.  Despite the differences in many pitcher's deliveries, the following ideas are the "absolutes" that all pitchers should have in common.

Part 1 - Load the Front Side
Regardless of whether you pitch from the wind-up or stretch, whether you have a high or low leg kick, you must load up your front side as you start your delivery to home plate.  This is easiest to accomplish by gaining some inward rotation with the front side of your hips.  This allows you to gain more hip turn in your delivery to home plate.

The following photographs illustrate pitchers loading their front side by gaining some inward rotation with their lower half, and in some cases their shoulders as well. Click on any photo to enlarge.
 


Tom Glavine


Bret Saberhagen


Eric Gagne


Bartolo Colon


Part 2 -  Hands and Feet Break Together
It is important that the hands and feet break together after loading the front side.  This means that the ball is pulled out of the glove in time to have the throwing arm going back as the front leg starts to move forward.  This will allow you to have your arms and legs in proper synchronization so that when your stride foot hits, you are in balance, and ready to throw.  It is also important to break with your thumbs down so that your fingers are on top or behind the ball.  Notice how each pitcher keep both their front side loaded (closed) as they break their hands and feet.  (By keeping the front side loaded as you break your hands, you will be able to lead with your hips as you start to deliver the ball.)

Roger Clemens




Billy Wagner




Part 3 - Stride to Load
Just as with hitting, we stride to load with pitching.  WHen the stride foot hits, the following are absolutes:
1. Chin remains over the belly button (balance)
2. Front side is closed (shoulders and hips)
3. Fingers are on top or behind the ball
4. Arms are equal and opposite (gives balance and direction)

Look for the four absolutes of stride to load in each of the following photos

Roy Oswalt


Bret Saberhagen


Billy Wagner


Bartolo Colon


Eric Gagne


Roger Clemens


Tim Hudson


Tom Glavine


Roger Clemens


Part 4 - Hips Rotate Before Shoulders
Just as in hitting, the rotation of the hips must come before the shoulders rotate.  This gives you more velocity and protects your arm from strain and injury.

Bartolo Colon


Eric Gagne


Tim Hudson


Dwight Gooden


Billy Wagner


Tom Glavine


Part 5 - Chin and Chest Straight Towards Home Plate
As the shoulders start to rotate, the pticher's chin and chest must go straight toward home plate.  Doing this allows two good things to happen:
1. You will increase the likelihood of throwing a strike
2. You will release the ball closer to home plate which gives you greater "perceived velocity" (the velocity the batter sees) and it will give you more movement on your ball.

Billy Wagner


Bret Saberhagen


Part 6 - Extension and Follow Through
When you follow through, the following things should occur:
1. Your throwing side elbow should go across your non-throwing side knee
2. Your back hip needs to roll over (this prevents you from slowing down your hips prematurely)

In the following sequences, notice how the arm extends toward hompe plate, then the throwing elbow extends past the oppostie knee, then the back hip rolls over

Trevor Hoffman






Dwight Gooden






Billy Wagner