The term mechanics actually refers to the movement patterns within the swing or throw.
The movement patterns (pitching mechanics) are unique to everyone and no two people are alike.
Now that you have my definition of mechanics, here’s what we are going to do this week.
For the next couple of days, we will discuss two main ingredients in the development process.
The two ingredients are the power of intent and the importance of a narrowed focus.
But, before we can discuss the actual movement patterns, we need to understand what influences our mechanics?
Let’s start with Intent. Our body moves with a purpose based on what the brain tells it to do. The brain gives the body a goal and the body executes the movements based on the intent of the goal. Here’s an example:
1. Before reading any further, I want you to jump. That’s right, jump.
2. Now that you have jumped, I am going to give you a specific goal. Jump as high as you can and try to touch the ceiling with your hand, forearm, it doesn’t matter. I want you to jump as high as you can before continuing reading.
3. What happened, which jump was higher? Why? It’s really that simple. You gave yourself a clear and concise goal and that was to jump higher. Because of the goal, you jumped higher. It’s the same with anything else that you do, give yourself a goal and that becomes your intent.
For some reason or another, people and coaches like myself, are guilty of over-coaching athletes.
Unknowingly we begin to mold and shape an individual’s mechanics based on what we view as pleasing to our eyes.
Remember, there were Major League Pitchers and Hitters long before there were scientific studies and specialized coaches. Tweet
If you look back years ago, the pitching deliveries and swings were much different than they are now. There were knees and elbows flying everywhere, high leg lifts at the plate and on the mound. The commonality they all shared was freedom of movement.
There were no pre-conceived notions or studies to dictate how a player should look or move. The following videos and quotes from Feller and Gossage were taken from Hired Guns, a member on Letstalkpitching.com. He has some really good stuff when he posts, check it out.
“I just reared back and let it go.”
Bob Feller, recorded the 2nd fastest pitch ever in 1946 at over 107 mph.
“I remember pitching to my brother Jack in his front yard winding up and trying to throw the ball as hard as I possibly could throw. He’d say, “You’re not throwing very hard. You’re throwing like a sissy.” I’d have tears in my eyes I’d be trying so hard, but looking back, that’s where my wild delivery came from, all arms and legs, flailing, coming right at you.”
Goose Gossage, Hall of Fame Inductee Speech
“I use my single windup, my double windup, my triple windup, my hesitation windup, my no windup. I also use my step-n-pitch-it, my submariner, my sidearmer, and my bat dodger. Man’s got to do what he’s got to do.”
“Ain’t no man can avoid being born average, but there ain’t no man got to be common.”
Just in case you didn’t know, both Feller and Gossage were power pitchers. Their delivery reflects an intent to throw hard.
Satchel was a guy who played in the old Negro League and it required him to travel from town to town. He was a big name and realized the only way he was going to get paid, was to pitch.
Therefore, his delivery was much less violent and incorporated more deception. He had to remain healthy if he was going to eat, bottom line. It was not uncommon for Satchel to start 5-6 games per week. Imagine that today, WOW!
Well, what about the hitters? Let’s start this one right by showing Babe Ruth. The guy was the HR King for years and he did it on “Beer and Hot Dogs.”
Next in the lineup is Ted Williams. He was one of the first to really talk about the “Science of Hitting.”
The difference between the two hitters? You guessed it, INTENT. Ted Williams hit for a high average and his approach and swing was much simpler than you saw with Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth’s intent was to hit HR’s. That’s what the fans wanted to see and that’s what he gave them.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I wanted to talk to you about guys of a past era? It’s because, it was a much simpler game back then. Players relied on their instincts and allowed their intent to formulate their movement patterns (mechanics).
In my opinion, the worst thing that can happen to any player is for him to become reliant on coaching and therefore taking away from what he does best.
Bottom line, have intent with everything you do!
* Is Intent part of your daily vocabulary? Let me know what you think about today’s players versus yesterdays. Who are some of your favorites? Leave a comment!
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