Throwing & Pitching Fundamentals

This a collection of my notes from Chapter 1 of Tuffcuff - an outstanding guidebook for young throwers, their parents, and coaches.

Some Myths and related Truths

- No landing on heel. Be balanced and athletic, landing position is personal

- Toe pointed down under knee @ leg lift. Leg lift is for balance and momentum, it’s flexible

- Thumbs down, elbows up @ landing. Elbows should be 180degrees apart @ landing

- Pull glove backward to rotate. Fix glove in front of body and drive/rotate chest to it

“Arm slot is a gift from God.”

Mechanical Imperatives

Dynamic Balance

- Weight in balls of feet, eyes level

- Keep moving towards home plate

- Land w/ weight back

- “Slide, glide, rotate” towards the plate after landing

- Head stays “still” above the belly button

Posture Stability

- Spine-to-hip alignment should stay consistent

- Rotational sequencing/kinetic chain: begins at foot strike, everything before that is a bonus; Feet -> legs -> hips -> torso -> shoulders -> arms/elbows -> hand/fingers

Elbow Positioning @ foot strike

- Elbows 180deg. apart relative to center of chest both up/down and side/side (1st/3rd)

- Prevents rushing and flying open

Late Torso Rotation: Creates power, protects shoulders/elbows from strain

- Land w/ weight back, hips + shoulders closed

- “Slide, glide, rotate” weight to front foot - increases momentum

- Delay shoulder rotation until hips are 75% open and 75% of the way to front foot

Fixed Glove

- Fix glove over front foot, squeeze & swivel to facilitate hip rotation after landing

- Pull chest to glove, not glove to hip (or lower)

- Both elbows in front of center of mass and head at release

- Glove arm stays in the “box”: Outline body from shoulder to shoulder, hip to shoulder, and shoulder to hip

Natural Differences In Pitchers’ Mechanics

- Angle/rotation of hips and shoulders

- Leg lift: height and foot position

- Arm path and arm slot

- Degree of flex in legs

- Glove position @ release

- Upper body angle

- Front foot positioning at strike. Approx. 11o’clock for lefty’s 1o’clock for righties

- Stance over rubber

- Tempo/cadence of delivery

Common Mechanical Flaws

- Slow lower half and/or fast upper half

- Dragging hands

- Collapsing back side

- Rushing/flying open

- Head falling off target

- Changing posture during delivery

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Marin County, California