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3 sort of complex pitching mechanics questions

Sep 11, 2008
i do have a pitching coach but i was wondering if anyone here had answers to these questions. please tell me if you think my assumptions are incorrect!

1. does bending my elbow at or near the top of my arm circle, in order to create elbow snap at release (in addition to wrist/finger snap), effectively conflict with the want to maintain as long of an arm as possible throughout your arm circle? ("elbow snap" is when your forearm snaps forward as you release the ball, which creates a whip-like effect to add more speed to your pitch). in other words, does the extra velocity i get as a result of elbow whip from a bent elbow make up for the loss of velocity by having a shorter arm through much of my circle due to this elbow bend?

2. does having the weight of your upper body above your pivot/drag knee, and then leading with your upper body during your explosion off of the mound (in order to gain a greater stride length) conflict with the desire to obtain "reverse posture" upon your stride foot landing? ("reverse posture" is where your upper body/torso is supposed to be behind your center of gravity/belly button when your stride foot plants. this allows for your torso to more effectively slam forward at wrist snap to create greater velocity). in other words, would i gain greater velocity by having better reverse posture, with the weight of my upper body kept back during my explosion off the mound, even though this would or might hurt my stride length?

3. what is the best way to learn to be loose and relaxed while pitching...without slowing down your arm speed, which is what i tend to do? how do i let the weight of the ball propel my arm during the arm circle, instead of my arm propelling the ball? how do i make my arm more "rubbery" and whip-like?

thanks for any advice you may have!
Answer to #1: Who says arm needs to stay as long as possible throughout the circle? Look at video of most advanced pitchers and you will see an elbow slightly bent to create elbow lead to wrist and finger whip. A lot of coaches teach locked arm and focus on the wrist and kids tend to push and lose velocity. So the answer is you don't lose velocity by adding a elbow lead wrist snap, you gain.
Answer to #2: I teach a lean or a sprinters position start to get max force toward the target and I think the head stays over the right knee to finish. My pitchers tend to be tall with slight backward lean. I wouldn't over coach backward lean! Emphasis should be on force into the front side with balance to create better whip. If head stays over right knee you should be good. Adding backward lean for whatever reason shouldn't cause a shorter stride as long as you have the same explosion as if you throw a fast ball.
Answer to #3: Warm up underhand the same way you do overhand, relaxed. I call this relaxed throwing and progress into more effort and distance. When you go to the mound stay loose and relaxed. This is a pretty common problem that I like to call robot syndrome. Most kids stay loose until they get to the mound and then they get robotic and mechanical. You won't fix this overnight!
Hope this helps!


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
Answer to 1: Yes, it does. Why? Basic mechanical engineering.

Answer to 2: You are really asking whether "step and throw" is better than "drag and leap". There is a whole thread on this question.

Answer to 3: You have asked the ultimate question in sports. How does an athlete stay relaxed under the extremely stressful situation of a game?

To be relaxed, your focus should be on performance of the specific physical task, not on the outcome of the game. That is, if there are runners on 1st and 3rd, with nobody out in the 9th inning, you are to focus on "THE PITCH", not anything else. Everything else is meaningless.

My DD was told by a professional relief pitcher that "there is nothing but you, the ball and the catcher's mitt". All you can do is throw the ball the best that you can--which is true if it is your first pitch or your last. For a pitcher, there is nothing but the execution of the pitch.

The movie "For the Love of the Game" shows basically what should happen. The pitcher simply shuts out everything except the pitch.

There are some relaxation tricks that help get the feel of being relaxed. "Relaxed" does not mean asleep. Relaxed means that your body is not tense, and specifically the shoulders. To get the feel of what "relaxed" actually means, take a ball in your hand and stand with your hands at your sides. Focus on the weight of the ball. Tell yourself, "The ball weighs a 1000 lbs. It is pulling my arm down. It is pulling my arm through the floor." After a few minutes of this, look at yourself in the mirror. If you're a rightie, you'll see the right hand noticeably lower than the left, the shoulders are angled, and not level with the floor.

It takes a lot of time to master "relaxation". Experience is extremely important--both winning and losing.
Sep 11, 2008
wow! you guys are great. i am really looking forward to trying the ball weighing 1000 lbs drill. i am also going to try to get a more aggressive start where i lean forward more, but keep the head over the right knee.

i guess these were stupid questions in a way, except perhaps the relaxation question, but i needed to hear what i thought were the correct answers from experts!

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