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Thread: Internal Rotation

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    Softball Junkie Rick Pauly's Avatar
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    Default Internal Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by BoardMember View Post
    Rick, I might suggest you take a look at this clip frame by frame:

    Hillhouse Riseball

    Bill is obviously a high level pitcher. However, the fallacy that a pitcher can keep his/her thumb pointed at third thru the release as you suggest above, just isn't biomechanically possible while generating velocity.

    The Glenhumeral joint just won't allow it when using proper mechanics.

    If you notice, Bills arm/wrist internally rotate hard the instant of release, and his fingers actually points toward first for a moment, just as I've described earlier in this thread.

    He then re-routes his hand to a palm up position during the follow thru, long after the ball is gone.........

    What Bill IS doing, is attemping to minimize side spin by limiting the amount of internal rotation to the best of his ability. As all high level pitchers do.

    That was my point. We TRY. But the fact is WE don't.........

    The simple act of "trying" relates to a more "pure" spin......

    When we throw a riseball, we acheive slightly more supination (forearm/palm to the sky) on the down swing, keeping our wrist inside the ball longer. The index (control) finger is attempting to cut under and up the front of the ball which delays the internal rotation at the fingers for a moment in time and allows release timing to flow directly at the target with backspin.

    Some actually internally rotate and pronate (to palm down) the hand and fingers forward "across the bottom" of the ball, creating backspin. These pitchers usually show a "short" follow thru on the rise.

    I can show you a "familiar example"........

    There are many ways to achieve a riseball.

    But believe me, internal rotation occurs thru release, and the thumb must rotate with the hand/forearm/upper arm/shoulder.......

    Bill's clips are telling the real story.........

    Unless you are taught improperly to pronate the arm/hand (palm down) by 9:00, getting the hand on top of the ball and pulling straight down and up through release............Which are completly the WRONG mechanics for fastpitch anything.......

    The bottom line is, IF you are properly supinated in the down swing, the arm MUST/WILL internally rotate thru release to prevent unjury to the glenhumeral joint.

    The rotational torque created by the internal rotation of the shoulder/upper-lower arm/wrist and fingers with this "natual move" is the essence of velocity in faspitch.......The key is KNOWING WHEN TO LET GO to take advantage of maximum acceleration of this rotational torque......

    But that's a whole nother thread.........

    Can't wait to see Sarah's DVD..........Congrats........


    I guess I am splitting hairs here, but when viewed at 600 FPS Sarah's thumb is pointing toward third when the thumb begins its release-------it really depends on where in the release phase you view the thumb. Immediately after the thumb lifts off the internal rotation is very evident and your description is very accurate.
    When viewing high speed video it is amazing to see how much happens from the time the thumb first lifts off the ball until the ball finally departs the index finger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Pauly View Post
    I guess I am splitting hairs here, but when viewed at 600 FPS Sarah's thumb is pointing toward third when the thumb begins its release-------it really depends on where in the release phase you view the thumb. Immediately after the thumb lifts off the internal rotation is very evident and your description is very accurate.
    When viewing high speed video it is amazing to see how much happens from the time the thumb first lifts off the ball until the ball finally departs the index finger.
    I have ZERO doubt that Sarah's thumb points to third when loses contact the ball.

    This however, does not happen:

    keeping the thumb pointing at third base through release.
    That's all I was sayin.......Besides explaining the mechanism that creates velocity in fastpitch........

    Very few instructors seem to understand this.........

    Thus creating a huge pool of "pull pitchers" who will never reach their potential........

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    Certified softball maniac lhowser's Avatar
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    Very few instructors seem to understand this.........

    Thus creating a huge pool of "pull pitchers" who will never reach their potential........
    I know exactly what you mean and agree that my DD which began this thread is definately pushing. It is very obvious and leads to not reching velocity potential and control issues. I've been around many recognized instructors in my area and have heard many sympom treatments but not discussing the mechanics that BoardMember is describing. I've heard "long and loose", "rag arm", "snap and let the arm go where it wants to", "lead with the pinkie" and "lead with the elbow".

    It is obvious to see the difference in my DD's mechanics and in particular the arm from 12 - 6 compared the the clips BoardMember graciously attached.

    From those that have an understanding I would love to hear a discription of how to "throw underhand" vs "pushing" behind the ball. We are really wanting to work on it but she is having a tough time understanding and I am having a tough time explaining. Is there a sequence drill or isolation drill that can help her get the feel?

    An explanation of the tern "internal rotation" would be most beneficial.

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    Default Internal Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by lhowser View Post
    An explanation of the term "internal rotation" would be most beneficial.
    I can't teach you (or your DD) how to throw a softball over the internet because there are complex timing and articulation movements of the upper arm, forearm/wrist, and fingers that must happen in the correct order AND with the correct posture for the kenetic chain to properly execute the motion.....BUT........Here's a start......this could be a long post.

    "Internal" or "medial" rotation is the act of rotating an external part toward the mid-line of the body.

    Internal rotation of the upper arm (humerous):

    When this guy pulls the handle across body he is performing "internal" or "medial" rotation of the humerous (upper arm) in the glenohumeral (shoulder) socket.

    When he moves the handle back away from the mid-line he is performing "lateral" or "external" rotation of the humerous.

    Notice his forearm/wrist are NOT rotating in this clip.

    Internal (Medial) Rotation of Upper Arm Example.....

    Internal rotation of the forearm/wrist:

    When this guy rotates his forearm over to a palm down position, he is "internally rotating" his forearm/wrist. It is also called "pronating". When he rotates his forearm back to palm up, he is "externally rotating", also called "supinating".

    Internal Rotation (pronation) of the Forearm/Wrist Example......

    To understand internal rotation of the of the upper arm, forearm and wrist as it relates to fastpitch, we will use REVERSE CHAINING. (meaning we'll start a the end and work backwards),

    WITHOUT A BALL - Stand with your hips/shoulders/feet slightly more closed toward home, then fully open (toward third) to the target line. Do NOT stand completely open (shoulders inline with the target line) for this excercise. And do NOT stand more then 45 degree closed (toward the target line EVER).

    Rest your throwing arm comfortably (not "stiff") at your side, and your palm facing inward, against the thigh.

    Reverse Chaining/Motor Learning:

    Step One/POSTION 1. WITHOUT moving or rotating your upper arm, externally rotate the palm to facing forward toward the target. Maintain this position with the palm facing forward.

    Step Two/POSITION 2 (must be done from more then 45 degrees open to the target line to avoid injury to the shoulder joint). Move the forearm and the upper arm away from the side of the body so the hand is 4-6 inches out from the thigh. Not forward or back, but straight out from the thigh. Now externally rotate the upper arm in the shoulder socket, so the elbow is facing inward toward the body, and the bicep, forearm and palm are facing outward away from the body. You should feel your tricep resting against your body, and your elbow should be relaxed (slightly bent, not stiff/straight). You have now EXTERNALLY ROTATED the entire throwing mechanism (wrist/forearm, upper arm). THIS POSITION REPRESENTS THE BEGINING OF THE RELEASE PHASE of the pitch.

    Step Three/POSITION 3. From position 2, maintaining slight elbow flexion, move your arm backwards up the back of the circle to parallel to the ground (called the 3:00 position). NOTICE THIS: As you move your arm backwards up the circle, the upper arm is allowed to further externally rotate to a "palm to the sky" (supinated) position. You have now REVERSE CHAINED to the most critical position in fastpitch.......POSITION 3......

    Note: IMO, anyone being taught to throw a ball underhand should be started from this 3:00 POSITION 3, "palm to the sky".........

    FORWARD CHAINING the mechanism in slow motion:

    From the 3:00 position 3, palm to the sky, elbow slightly bent (flexed), slowly begin to move back down the circle "palm up", until you feel the tricep just meet the body, and STOP, maintaining the SLIGHT flexion in the elbow and palm up.

    From this position, and allowing the elbow to straighten slightly as you approach the bottom, move back down to the externally rotated position of POSITION 2, with the elbow in - bicep/forearm/palm out just at the back of the thigh.

    Release Phase: Continue internally rotating the upper arm, forearm and wrist AS YOU MOVE move past/through the release phase, allowing the hand to pass the thigh toward the target as it INTERNALLY rotates from out to in through the sequence. The hips/shoulders should be allowed to naturally rotate during the sequence. Do NOT force them closed.

    One problem I frequently see is someone who posseses the Natural move, but begins his/her internal rotation prematurely, resulting in the dreaded "flying elbow". Premature shoulder rotation will also cause a "flying elbow", and can cause injury in the most extreme cases.

    This sequence should be practiced gradually until it starts to flow naturally. The beauty of it is that IT IS NATURAL. As the arm moves from position 3 (3:00 palm up), through position 2 (release phase) it will SEEK THE NATURAL STARTING POSITION 1, causing a natural release phase, and what might feel like a "flip over" of the wrist through release.

    You can then begin at position 1 (palm forward at the bottom), "rock it up" to position 3, 3:00 palm to the sky, and back down through release without pause to build the natural flow of the release phase. THIS IS THE 2nd BEST DRILL IN FASTPITCH IMO........

    IF YOU CAN FEEL THIS, you've recognized the NATURAL movement of release that allows UNEO to throw over 70mph.



    KNOW THIS: External/Internal rotation (pronation/supination) of the forearm IS THE FASTEST MOVING PART OF THE HUMAN ANATOMY........One only has to hold the forearm out vertically and quickly rotate pronate/supinate back and forth the forearm with a lose wrist to see the speed of the action. The hand will actually "blur" from the speed.

    Moving foward from here..........

    IF you then move the arm up from the 3:00 position to the 12:00 position (4), above the shoulder socket and slightly past (forward toward the plate), NOT OVER THE HEAD, with the ball position UNCHANGED, and the elbow remaining slightly flexed, you will be "showing the ball to the batter" at the top. The arm will look like a wide open "C" maintaining elbow flexion. THIS POSITION IS CRITICAL to the success of pitching mechanics IMO.

    You can then begin practicing the "half drill" rocking up to just past the top, and back down through the release phase........Here is the "chant" when doing this drill to insure proper external/internal rotation of the sequence:

    "SHOW IT, AND THROW IT"...........THIS IS THE BEST DRILL IN FASTPITCH IMO.......

    All of this should be done WITHOUT A BALL intially........And from the sideways slightly closed position.

    A ball can then be added to both the 3:00 drill and the 12:00 "half drill" to begin working on the release phase with a ball. Timing of release is critical to the chain, and must be done in a fasion that imparts inward/forward spin to insure the pitcher doesn't "hang on to long" and miss the acceleration phase of the "natural snap". This is where an instuctor is invaluble to progression.......

    From the basic "show it, throw it" drill, progression to a position where the stride foot starts behind the pivot foot, weight is shifted back prior to the up swing "show it" phase, and then a stride/push/drive is incorporated during the "throw-it" phase of the down swing. This will insure the proper transfer timing of the stride/push/drive/throw.........

    Equating this to full windmill fastpitch:

    When the throwing arm rotates upward to start the pitch, the palm is facing the natural "inward" position. As the arm rises, it should rotate to/through the "show it" phase at the top, and the downward motion should feel more like a "pull down" then a "push down".

    As the arm passes through position 3 (3:00), internal rotation takes over, and the natural whip release phase results in tremendous acceleration of the sequence, resulting in NATURAL VELOCITY........

    Well, I see I've said WAY TOO MUCH here.

    I'll end with this:

    MANY MANY YOUNG KIDS/COLLEGE PLAYERS who I see/teach, NEVER have to be taught this NATURAL SEQUENCE........They somehow just "get it".

    Others, have ZERO CLUE as to how it should feel, until they are "taught".

    And MANY MANY OTHERS, have been taught by instructors a completely UNNATURAL sequence that COMPETELY UNDERMINES what the body wants to do naturally.........

    IMO, if your instructor isn't ALLOWING or TEACHING some form of this sequence, YOU SHOULD QUICKLY MOVE ON........

    Sorry for the LONG post........

    Disclaimer:
    Permanent damage or injury can result when dealing with complex movements of the shoulder. Not everyone is built the same, and not everyone possesses or maintains enough flexability to perform these complex actions.

    ALWAYS SEEK THE HELP OF A "QUALIFIED" INSTRUCTOR WHO EXIBITS AT LEAST SOME KNOWLEDGE OF THE SHOULDER COMPLEX AND INJURY PREVENTION........
    Last edited by BoardMember; 04-22-2017 at 02:44 PM.

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    Certified softball maniac lhowser's Avatar
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    Board Member, one of the most helpful and detailed posts I have ever read on a forum. Thank you.
    MANY MANY YOUNG KIDS/COLLEGE PLAYERS who I see/teach, NEVER have to be taught this NATURAL SEQUENCE........They somehow just "get it".
    This is very true. It is the same for hitting. I am not sure if they see someone do it when they are young and are blessed to naturally duplicate it or if it is just natural athleticism. We have a medium size girl on our highschool team that hits 240 foot bombs and has swung that way, smoothy and rotationally since she was 9.

    Embarassed to say in never saw the palm to the sky position until you explained it and I saw it in the Uneo clip. Thanks again for the post. I hope others benefit as much as I have.
    Sorry for the LONG post........
    Not long enough for me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lhowser View Post
    Board Member, one of the most helpful and detailed posts I have ever read on a forum. Thank you.

    This is very true. It is the same for hitting. I am not sure if they see someone do it when they are young and are blessed to naturally duplicate it or if it is just natural athleticism. We have a medium size girl on our highschool team that hits 240 foot bombs and has swung that way, smoothy and rotationally since she was 9.

    Embarassed to say in never saw the palm to the sky position until you explained it and I saw it in the Uneo clip. Thanks again for the post. I hope others benefit as much as I have.


    Not long enough for me!
    Your very welcome.........

    Here are a few examples of the highly misunderstood/mis-taught mechanics that are flooding our youth.

    Start with this one. This instructor clearly shows her student the "get on top the ball early, push it down and wave it up" mechanics. However, when the student throws the pitch, that ISN'T what she's doing, yet she is praised for doing it correctly!

    Clip 1........

    This is what she's doing that makes this instructor happy, and the instuctor doesn't even know it!



    Here is another example of reinforcing a mechanic that clearly DOESN'T happen in elite pitchers.......And she even adds OPENING the wrist to begin the pitch. NOT GOOD IMO.......:

    "Open it up, get on top the ball early, underhand wave-up" the snap

    Here is YET ANOTHER INSTRUCTOR who insists the hand gets/stays BEHIND the ball early, and through the release phase. She eventually says it's OK to roll hand AFTER the ball is gone, as long as it STAYS behind the ball for a long time! She clearly has NO IDEA why the hand "rolls".

    Wave it up!

    The point is, instructors who are very good, have ZERO understanding of the fundamental mechanics of the release phase of the pitch. And unless you are teaching a student who is "blessed" with natural mechanics, and who's body knows what to do DISPITE what you teach, you CANNOT begin to help her realize her potential.

    Video's like these are all over the softball world.

    I have YET to see an instructor who truely understands, and TEACHES what actually happens........

    "Get on top the ball early, and push it down, and wave it up"........AMAZING........
    Last edited by BoardMember; 01-16-2017 at 06:17 PM.

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    Certified softball maniac lhowser's Avatar
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    The point is, instructors who are very good, have ZERO understanding of the fundamental mechanics of the release phase of the pitch. And unless you are teaching a student who is "blessed" with natural mechanics, and who's body knows what to do DISPITE what you teach, you CANNOT begin to help her realize her potential.
    I had a similar situation recently with hitting. A college coach during a clinic gave a multi step mechanics instruction on hitting with each step demonstrated by a good college athlete. I was very concerned at what a swing combining those steps might actually look like. Then the instructor asked the player to demonstrate the swing...WOW...powerful swing with a great transfer, hand path, bat path, rotation and finish...problem is it had little in common with the step by step mechanical instruction.

    It's just a reminder to parents that often times "truisms" that are on the home page of your average instructional website or instructional handout sheet might just be repeating information from an old rec ball coaches guide or little league coaches guide. Before accepting something and applying it do more than simply accept stated credientials (played college ball, it's in a book by a former pro, teacher is Asst coach with...college etc). It really is no guarantee that that instructor fully understands how and why something works. I've seen pitching instructors who were excellent pitchers completely contradict what they teach when they actually pitch. Use slow motion video of your daughter and comparisons to successful players as a tool when you evaluate what is being taught before spinning you wheels and applying it to your daughter or other player you coach.

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    Certified softball maniac Mark H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhowser View Post
    I had a similar situation recently with hitting. A college coach during a clinic gave a multi step mechanics instruction on hitting with each step demonstrated by a good college athlete. I was very concerned at what a swing combining those steps might actually look like. Then the instructor asked the player to demonstrate the swing...WOW...powerful swing with a great transfer, hand path, bat path, rotation and finish...problem is it had little in common with the step by step mechanical instruction.
    Been there watched that. I can testify. In my case, I was in front off to the side. I stepped out and looked back at the audience. A bunch of heads nodding up and down though the demonstrated swing had zero in common with the discussion that came before. Go figure.

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    BoardMember, I have read your post 4 times and I have to say I have never heard it explained like that, and I wish I would have had it explained like that 3 years ago when my DD started pitching. At 1st I wasn't sure I understood what you were saying, but when you re read it and watch the clips, what you post is exactly what is happening. I am a novice and have never pitched but I try and learn from posters here like yourself, Bill and Rick only to name a few. My DD's pitching has always been a work in progress and the discussion here is invaluable in my opinion. Thanks.

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    Super Moderator sluggers's Avatar
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    BOARDMEMBER: Thanks! I understand, which is a big challenge for someone as dense as me.

    My DD started out learning what BoardMember refers to as the "wave". Somewhere around 55 MPH, we dropped the whole concept for no other reason that she seemed to throw more consistently if she just "let her wrist go". Her hand would flop all over the place, it looked like a butterfly.

    My other DD had a tremendous problem with "flying elbow" so much so that she gave up pitching. No one could ever explain the problem. She was an advanced tennis player and was taught the "body closed" (i.e., the body is more or less parallel to the net) forehand. That tennis forehand starts the internal rotation much earlier than in softball pitch.

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