Pitching Mechanics and Warning Signs

As the second article of this 3 part series, we will cover the basic baseball pitching mechanics and warning signs that are associated with incorrect mechanics. If you missed the first part of this series, you can read it here.

Here is an obvious statement: Incorrect pitching mechanics can cause major injury to a pitcher. This is, however, a statement that needs to be made. As parents, coaches and players, we need to pay close attention to pitching mechanics INSTEAD of where the ball ends up. Yes, when you throw the ball mechanically correct, the chances of throwing a better pitch is higher. However, pitchers are also capable of throwing “well” with poor mechanics. I think I can speak for everyone in saying that we don’t want anyone to get hurt. And, sometimes, this means that we need to focus more on mechanics and less on throwing strikes.

There are a few things to keep in mind when pitching. In doing so, it can help prevent injury. Our Diamond Dreams baseball pitching coaches got together and discussed the basics of pitching and what we should be focusing on. Please help us stress the importance of the following:

  1. Using more body and less arm!
    1. We generate more power by using our trunk (more specifically, our back leg).
    2. It helps us keep stress out of our arm.
    3. Lifting your leg higher generates more energy.
    4. Initiate the pitch with the front leg lift.
  2. Timing!
    1. When your trunk finishes before your upper body, stress is put on your arm.
    2. When your foot plants, the ball and arm should be up.
  3. Balance!
    1. Finding a balancing point in the wind up.
    2. Limiting head movement.
    3. Maintain upper body posture.
    4. Head stays over spine and belly button as we move forward.
  4. Rotation
    1. Just like hitting, we do not want our front shoulder to fly open too soon! Don’t fly open! Stay closed!
    2. Rotate the trunk just before the front foot hits, while remaining the posture. THEN the upper body rotates.
  5. Finishing and Following through
    1. When front foot hits, fingers should be over the ball, glove side elbow pointed towards home. Arm parallel to ground.
    2. Slightly closed with his front foot 15 degrees. Toes should not be pointed towards third, not quite to home.
    3. Chest tracks forward and squares up to target into release.
    4. Continue to rotate the back hip through over a stiff front leg
    5. Follow through helps a pitcher stay long and ensure that momentum can continue forward.
    6. The follow through allows the energy and stress in the shoulder, elbow and wrist to be dissipated instead of stopping the arm or recoiling it back.

At Diamond Dreams, we are in possession of a baseball pitching poster board created and assembled by Dr. Bollier, an Orthopedic Surgeon in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Iowa. Next time you are at Diamond Dreams, take a look at it as it features a lot of excellent information for parents, coaches and players on baseball pitching. On this poster board, Dr. Bollier highlights 5 worrisome mechanics that parents, coaches and players should look out for in baseball pitchers. They are as follows:

  1. When the pitcher’s arm goes above the shoulder during cocking (or separation).
  2. An inverted “W” or hyper-abduction. (high elbow and low ball)
  3. Premature truck rotation (lower body closing too soon/ before upper half).
  4. When the pitcher’s shoulder falls behind the plane of the scapula (Shoulder dragging arm through instead of elbow whip).
  5. A dropped elbow during late cocking (or separation).

As stated before, incorrect pitching mechanics can be detrimental to a pitcher’s career. Focusing on mechanics first, in addition to keeping track of the number of pitches thrown, can help keep a pitcher’s arm healthy. We encourage you to talk with one of our pitching coaches for more personalized information for your young pitcher, as well as stopping by and checking out the poster board created by Dr. Bollier.

Please let us know if you have any questions about this article here info@ddsportsacademy.com

This article is broken into three parts to be featured in the three monthly newsletters: Preventative (November), Mechanics and Warning Signs (December), and Throwing Progressions and Pitch Counts (January). We hope you enjoy and take something from these articles. Please note that these are intended for general and basic information and are not the end all say all. We encourage parents and coaches to do research.

If you have any questions about this article or would like more information on baseball pitching, please contact Diamond Dreams at info@ddsportsacademy.com.

For more information on throwing injuries or if you are interested in seeing a specialist at the University of Iowa, contact University of Sports Medicine 319-384-7070 or visit http://www.uisportsmed.com/


One thought on “Pitching Mechanics and Warning Signs

  1. Pingback: Throwing Progressions and Pitch Counts | Diamond Dreams Sports Academy

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