Updated: Dec 17, 2020
The Body-pitching connection is a key element of our baseball performance programs. This concept refers to the relationship between your body's movement and your pitching mechanics. Did you know that we can predict what your pitching mechanics will look like just by observing how you move?
Here's an example of this concept and how we can make this connection. Below is a video of a pitcher who sways during his delivery. As you can see during leg lift his body will move away from the hitter (away from the red line). You can observe as the athlete gets to max leg lift he compensates by shifting his weight to the outside of the foot instead of loading the inside which will make it difficult to maximize ground force and energy towards home plate. This move can create issues with timing and also cause problems with loading and stabilizing the lower body. It also makes it difficult to maximize ground reaction forces. This can lead to problems with both control and velocity.
What does this have to do with this player's body and movement? When screening this players movement with the OnBase University Pitching screen we found significant limitations in the right ankle mobility and stability. The ankle plays a crucial role in being able to balance and stabilize on the trail leg during the delivery and also to create ground reaction forces and load the leg as well. When these physical limitations are present it is very common to see compensations such as sway. As you can see in the video above when his movement screen was entered into the OnBase University app it predicted there was a 72% likelihood that he would sway in his delivery.
Could this just be due to poor technique or mechanics? Yes, that is a possibility, although it is likely that the physical limitation in this case is a strong contributing factor. Trying to ask the player to simply quit swaying or provide drills to help with this will likely lead to less than ideal results as the player doesn't have the physical capabilities to perform what you are asking them to do. This can lead to frustration for both the player and the coach.
Working with a physical therapist or strength and conditioning coaching to remove the physical limitation first could make it much easier on the coach and player to improve this in his delivery. It is important to note that just because you improve a physical limitation this does not mean that it will automatically translate into your delivery. The player has created a movement pattern around that physical limitation and will likely need to learn a new pattern once the physical limitation is removed. This is where your coaching can be very beneficial in helping create this new feel and movement pattern. Working together as a team this way can significantly improve the learning process for the athlete.
This concept of the body pitching connection applies to a wide range of pitching characteristics such as getting out front, flying open, short stride or collapsing front knee. We work closely with all pitching coaches and instructors in this process. They are responsible for identifying the technical issue that they want to focus on. We will then focus on seeing if there are any underlying physical limitations contributing to the technical issue that need to be addressed. Based on this process, we can help differentiate if your problems are mechanical or physical in nature (or both) and help get you on the right path to achieving your goals
Contact us today to learn about your Body-Pitching Connection.