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I/R in the Classroom

Nov 8, 2018
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Nunthia said: “Lisa Fernandez does not turn her hand over on follow through”............Say it ain’t so Joe! Dude you have no clue what it’s all about. If you can’t see that Lisa is moving her forearm/hand from palm up to palm in/down using internal rotation (I/R) then you should probably just avoid the topic.

View attachment 14956
Kinda why I avoided the conversation. Didn’t think they would get it. Ha


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Feb 20, 2012
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I've received so many PM's and Emails about I/R I've decided to speak more about training Internal Rotation, and the progression we use to build a foundation for the underhand throw.

First of all, we all know that grip, stance, posture, wind-up/load and leg drive all contribute to pitching a softball. IMO, none of these are on my list of "absolutes". They are "styles". That is, not every high level pitcher uses exactly the same style any of the above listed requisites of pitching.

The ONLY thing I view as an absolute in pitching is Internal Rotation. Which is why I focus on it so much. If I can teach a young lady/man to "throw" a softball correctly and efficiently, and literally "play catch throwing underhand" as naturally as they would overhand, my job becomes so much easier when it comes to adding "style".

With that in mind, lets talk about I/R as a training method to that end. Using drills that isolate the motions of I/R, and are progressive in nature to involve more and more of the sequence.

First of all, I/R is a "motor skill". Whether natural or learned, it is a skill that can either be taught or enhanced by focusing and training the bio-mechanics and physics that cause the motion to occur, in sequence.........

One of the first things that has to happen for a proper I/R delivery, is that the upper arm (bicep) must be trained that it is the stability point for Internal Rotation. It rotates AND stabilizes vertically. It must be properly positioned in close to the body and vertical in order for the forearm to internally rotate on the tightest radius possible. It ALSO must be trained to pass kinetic energy from the proximal to the distal parts of the sequence. IOW.........The energy must be passed from the arm circle, through the upper arm (proximal part), to the forearm (distal part) and down through the wrist into the fingers and ball.

In order for this transfer to occur, the upper arm must be caused to decelerate to almost a stop when it reaches the stable vertical position close to the side, and then continue forward as a follow through energy dissipation result........That cause begins with Internal Rotation of the forearm "taking the energy" from the arm circle, causing decel of the upper arm........

Take note of these pitchers stable vertical position of the turning upper arm.....And how the elbow stops advancing through the circle for a split second........




In order to train the upper arm to stabilize, and transfer energy, we need to limit it's ability to do anything but turn away then face forward by responding to the commands of the forearm as it REMAINS in the stable vertical position close to the body.

The quickest way I've found to accomplish this is by using what I call the "lock it in" drill. A drill that keeps the elbow at the side, thereby keeping the upper arm stabilized and vertical and transferring energy to the forearm........



The student must throw the ball using External Rotation then Internal Rotation/Pronation of the forearm WITHOUT moving the upper arm (elbow) back/away, OR forward past the body until release causes follow through.........It can turn back but it cannot MOVE back.........



More in the morning as we progress to "Unlock It"..........
Mr. Board Member, I have been coaching now for over 30 years and was taught by the best Hall of Fame pitchers of all time including Eddie Feigner himself and I challenge what you say is not exactly right. When you teach the whip action the I/R as you call it is automatic that your arm will align up on the hip then the forearm fire then the I/R completes but you turn the ball over early and that I believe is not the best way to teach girls. Look at Jenny Finch. Her arm snaps completely across the body without turning her hand over like you do. You are snapping your forearm away from your left hip and I believe the best way is like Finch is doing. I'm 80 years old and if I get the chance I will put myself on this board doing some snap drills into my glove and I sure don't do it like you do. Anyway I decided to give my input on I/R and also say it is not difficult to teach? When you teach the whip you teach I/R.. I will check and see how to put my video on this forum so I can see how much I differ from what you do. Sincerely yours JJ
 
Jul 14, 2008
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JJ you've been watching too many rise-ball clips from Jenny. Here is a 3 minute video of Jenny Finch throwing for the USA team and doing exactly what you say she doesn't do. She uses Full I/R all the way through to palm down on EVERY SINGLE pitch in this sequence. If you really want a good look fast forward and watch the pitch at 3:09.

On the top right corner of the player you can click the menu and slow it down to 1/2 speed. View it with an open mind, and you'll see exactly what you don't believe happens actually does happen.. I'd bet you throw the same way, you just don't know it.


Mind you, this is the gal who teaches "finish with a high elbow". ;)

Best Regards...….
 
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Nov 8, 2018
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JJ you said you were taught by Eddie Feigner. Here is a clip of Eddie throwing a pitch taken from a video of him talking about the evolution of fastpitch. Can you see the hand finish palm down? I can.
Wow very clear IR, Palm down finish.


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Jan 17, 2020
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My dd has been pitching for 4 yrs and started to learn ir back in Jan 2019. She is pretty good with the lock it in and 9 o'clock drills but she is having trouble getting her arm in the right position during full pitching. She pronates way too early and doesn't come close to elbow down, palm up.. She has always been told by her pc fast arm speed. I'm just wondering if slowing her arm down to reach elbow down, palm up is a good idea? Also, her arm is past 12 o'clock when she detaches from the mound. Is this something we would want to address now or just focus on elbow down, palm up? Any help would be appreciated.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
6,058
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Dallas, Texas
My dd has been pitching for 4 yrs and started to learn ir back in Jan 2019. She is pretty good with the lock it in and 9 o'clock drills but she is having trouble getting her arm in the right position during full pitching. She pronates way too early and doesn't come close to elbow down, palm up.. She has always been told by her pc fast arm speed. I'm just wondering if slowing her arm down to reach elbow down, palm up is a good idea? Also, her arm is past 12 o'clock when she detaches from the mound. Is this something we would want to address now or just focus on elbow down, palm up? Any help would be appreciated.
Make a video of her from 3B and post it in a new thread. My guess is that you will get a lot more help.
 
Sep 29, 2014
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Just a novice here but slowing down never the right direction to go unless she is really got some odd jerky type action which isn't really typical.

As far as being past 12 when she releases from the mound that is really late I would have to see that to figure out what is up but definitely something off with her sequence if it is the case.
 
Jul 31, 2019
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Progression

By the time my students have become fairly proficient at throwing the ball underhand, we progress to the "Liberty Drill"......Simply MORE of the same? Well, an uneducated person might think so. But remember what I said previously.

Who's on first?

"And isolation WITH progression leads to continued non-isolated motor learning of the parts previously isolated."

In other words, when we progress NOT TO FAR, but just far enough, the learned motor skill is "close enough" to the whole of the next drill that it is CLEARLY still represented in that drill.........

For example, IF I allowed my student to progress to FULL MOTION practice drills from this point, the learned I/R motor skill would be so far away (at the end) from the full motion drill, I/R would deteriorate. I NEVER WANT I/R to deteriorate at the expense of progressing to far to fast.

Liberty Side and Rear......If you'll notice, this drill closely mimics the actions of the Magician drill:



Thanks to my wife who brought her glove to work and caught for the first time in 20 years so I could film these drills at work........With the sun in her eyes no less!

After proficiency at Liberty, we move on to "Show it And Throw it"........Or the 12:00 Drill........

This drill helps the student progress to what I consider the most important part of the pitching motion......WITHOUT sacrificing emphasis on I/R.......This drill places emphasis on ball position at the top and the "pull down" in the motion WITH an I/R delivery..........



Then on to relaxed "long toss" full circle drills.......



I hope these visuals help you to gain a better understanding of what I write about concerning I/R delivery and the importance of learning to "throw a ball underhand" before learning to be a pitcher.

One thing I've learned over my 30 or so years of teaching fastpitch. I could spend 3-6 months on posture, grip, wind-up and leg drive, only to find out you DON'T KNOW HOW TO THROW THE BALL in the first place........

Progressive training side effects include helping to train arm circle, posture and delivery methods that ensure the end product produces expected results.

Last.......Train them from WHERE THEY ARE.........NOT WHERE YOU WANT THEM TO BE.......
Is there a reason that you limit what the glove does in these drills?
 
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