Inside this post we’re going to review the dramatic changes seen with Lucas Giolito’s arm action and how the smallest, teeniest tiniest adjustments are the ones that create the biggest changes.
You’re going to discover a much deeper layer behind pitching mechanics and how the body and brain are one when it comes to making any sort of change that sticks. In fact… It’s going to force you to question everything you know about pitching mechanics.
Here’s a sneak-peek of what we will cover:
And a whole lot more. Ready?
Here we go…
Just the other day I was watching the highlights of Lucas Giolito’s near no-hitter because he was one of many MLB pitchers who trained daily with The Core Velocity Belt.
Disclaimer: I do not know Lucas, nor have I ever worked with him. But, I’ve got to say he definitely is a smart guy and surrounds himself with forward thinking people.
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BIG thanks to @lantzwheeler25 for hooking it up with the #corevelocitybelt 🔥 I’m very excited to be adding this to my offseason routine! Also thank you to my guy @ethankatz8 for introducing me to the product!
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Right away I noticed a dramatic change in his arm action.
Lucas Giolito, 2018 vs 2019 overlay/Arm Action change.
2019 compact/2018 long arm action. pic.twitter.com/VZm7by06fU
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 31, 2019
Instantly, it reminded me of another MLB pitcher Neil Ramirez, who did the same thing in less than 3 weeks back in 2014. In the video on the left he’s 93 in early June and 97 3 weeks later with a cleaned up arm action.
Crazy thing is… This change occurred without even trying. It was natural.
I started digging up info on Lucas and this was the first thing I read….
“While he’s hoping the latest iteration of his delivery will serve to make his interviews a lot less interesting, the big change in Giolito’s delivery this offseason wasn’t a purposeful one. (referring to changes inside his arm action.)
“Naturally from doing that, early in the offseason my arm action started to shorten up. It went from stab out, behind my back, long, bring it back up to a more compact just out of the glove, up and fire.
The results have been great. It feels better, I feel healthier. It’s a more clean action. I feel like I’m much more consistent getting on top of the ball, especially my fastball. I notice my fastball spinning better, more efficiently, the data backs that up. I’ve been looking at the Rapsodo stuff we have. More consistent, commanding better. It just feels better.”
Lucas attributed the change in arm action to his weighted ball throwing program, and it’s partly true. I’ve seen it myself and I think Kyle Boddy has done a wonderful job bringing weighted balls into the world of development.
And you’ll notice in this video how Lucas has changed the position of his forearm at the starting position and the path at hand-break, which both can be attributed to weighted balls.
Just like The Core Velocity Belt, a weighted ball is simply another tool which enhances a FEEL for the task.
It improves movement quality of the arm by
But a weighted ball program by itself, won’t be enough to make changes like the ones I see with Giolito.
I know there’s a lot of you out there that are going to say weighted baseballs are dangerous.
So my advice to you is never pitch in the early morning when there’s dew on the field because you’re throwing a weighted ball.
Where was I? Sorry, got off track.
Oh yeah. Like most pitchers, coaches and observers it only makes sense to think arm action would change because of something you were doing with the arm, right?
But… When it comes to pitching mechanics, “Everything affects Everything” . (Paul Nyman www.Setpro.com)
But the mistake most make when attempting changes to their arm action is the fail to realize:
In other words…
Most pitchers and coaches waist the majority of their training time focusing on the position of the arm with the use of pitching drills and connection balls. By doing so, they constantly find themselves picking up the fallen dominoes over and over because they never addressed the problematic domino causing the rest to fall.
The biggest changes occur from the teeniest-tiniest adjustments.
And Lucas simply found a way, starting with his brain, to become more efficient at transferring kinetic energy. Here’s one of my favorite clips, the now World Famous Pitch-a-Palooza, featuring Wes Johnson, (Pitching Coach with the Minnesota Twins)
So, how did Lucas make these changes to transfer his kinetic energy more efficiently?
Based on everything I read, Lucas was like so many pitchers who are obsessed with becoming a better pitcher…
In other words…
His computer was running slower because he had way too many tabs open.
And here’s how he closed those tabs…
“A lot of mental stuff,” Giolito said. “I did a – it’s called a neurofeedback program where basically they read your brain waves. You work to build better neural pathways. Everyone is different.
“For me, it was about focusing on breathing, being confident at all times, just things like that where I kind of put it all together on the mental side. Always have that confidence, always feel good when I’m out on the mound, compete and kind of let everything else take over.”
Like I Said… The Kinetic Chain Starts With The Brain!
It’s why it’s the first place we start inside my 3-Day Core Velocity Programs.
Here’s three things I want you think about:
Breathing is the Invisible bridge between the mental and physical game.
Hopefully, you’re starting to understand what I said earlier about the science of pitching mechanics being a dynamic, chaotic system where everything affects everything.
And it all starts with the brain.
If you’re having to think about every move you make, obviously you’re not going to move very efficiently.
Fortunately, Lucas started there first instead of jumping straight into pitching mechanics and drills.
Most of the “highlighted positions” pitching coaches strive for to increase velocity and improve pitching mechanics, are merely bi-products of efficient movement.
Each of those should happen naturally when a pitcher is moving efficiently, and should never, ever be the primary goal of your delivery.But unfortunately way too many pitchers and coaches get caught up with pitching mechanics, and fail to realize the body works as a dynamic system and fail to realize…
Inefficient movement anywhere will affect the quality of movement everywhere!
I heard Paul Nyman say this years ago..
“The body wants to match, it craves equals and opposite.”
Hunter Bledsoe calls this phenomenon, “Matching the hands and the feet”.
But the problem is…
We attempt to coach a rotational sport using linear cues!
And because of that…
We often disconnect what the body/brain would naturally do. It’s why I’m always saying…
Most Mechanical Flaws are Man-Made!
Here’s a few examples of both hitters and pitchers taking advantage of how the body naturally craves symmetry.
Hunter Bledsoe calls this, “Matching the hands and feet.”
Hanley Ramirez: Notice how as the front leg raises, the hands drop. As the front leg moves forward, the hands move back. (Body is maximizing the storing of energy and stretch effect of fascial tissue.)
Overall, a much faster tempo from start to finish. (See that below)
He’s changed his lower-body patterning and timing to become back-hip dominant in 19 compared to an inefficient front-hip dominant action in 18′.
(Video 2: Lower-Body Review)
Here’s a better view of what I’m referring too on the difference between a front-hip dominant lower-half versus a back-hip dominant action of the lower body.
Video 4: Ride the Slide Comparison
Isn’t it crazy how it works?
What’s really important to know is this:
The type of lower-half changes he’s made were of a product of learning to move through the middle of his body. To do so, you’ve got to begin by FEELing the movement and from there, challenge it.
This level of change didn’t happen with pitching drills. Nope.
Watch the bi-products of his delivery after making changes with the movement of his pelvis in the video below.
Video 5: Lower-Body Review
Do you know why it’s not typical to see most taller guys, especially a guy 6’6, to see this sort of efficiency with his pelvis and hips?
Because he’s probably been told his entire life to stay tall. Throw down-hill. Whenever that’s the goal, you’re going to see pitchers with very passive lower-bodies and most FEEL as if they’re throwing the ball with all arm.
Crazy to think Lucas got greater extension and more efficiency by throwing like a midget.
Think about it…
Ever seen a short pitcher who doesn’t maximize the use of his legs?
Because short pitchers are never instructed to stay tall so they naturally get more from their lower-half.
That’s why I’m always saying…
Most mechanical flaws are Man-Made, the body would never organize itself in that manner had it not been confused.
So, how did Lucas maximize his lower-half?
For one, he spent time training with The Core Velocity Belt to increase core stability and better FEEL his lower-half working to enhance his FEEL for the lower-half and transfer the so called “muscle memory” to the mound.
“Basically what it does is it gives you that real feel of getting into your hip, getting into the back side of your leg and feeling that drive down the mound, which is something I feel like I’ve always been searching for. I feel like I’ve been that tall-and-fall guy, not really using my legs to the fullest capabilities. It’s a tool that really helps create that muscle memory for it.”
So, it’s like creating that exaggeration of that feeling which is what I’m always searching for. I’m doing drills where I’m exaggerating this feeling. When I take it off, it’s, ‘Oh, the feeling is right there.’
“My lower half is working much better, much cleaner,” Giolito said. “I’m staying over my back side better.”
Giolito says he’s seen immediate results with his new workouts
Next thing you know…
But here’s a little brain science behind the transformation and how it all works together as a system. (I’ll let the Director of Neur0-surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center, Dr. Allen Sills explain more.)
Without proprioception, coordination doesn’t exist.
Next, he heightened his kinesthetic awareness of his hips: (Here’s Dr. Allen Sill, the director of Neurology at Vanderbilt U and featured speaker at Pitch-a-Palooza
Watch How Lucas Rides the Slide and Mirrors his hips to the slope of the mound compared to years past
Because of higher levels of mind-muscle connection this happened…
“The results have been great. It feels better, I feel healthier. It’s a more clean action. I feel like I’m much more consistent getting on top of the ball, especially my fastball.
I notice my fastball spinning better, more efficiently, the data backs that up. I’ve been looking at the Rapsodo stuff we have. More consistent, commanding better. It just feels better.”
In the end…Both pitchers paths to changes are very similar.
And I had a pretty good idea, Lucas did the same… And I think I was right?
And the best part about this story?
He did all this without ever Over-Thinking or Over-Analyzing his pitching mechanics. Unfortunately, most pitchers and coaches never address the brain. Instead they go straight to the body and before you know it… We’ve got pitcher after pitcher Over-thinking and Over-analyzing every single move.
The real key is learning how to put your pitching mechanics on auto-pilot and that’s exactly what Lucas Giolito did.
There’s a lot to be said of reaching higher levels of performance, once you learn to…
Trust What You FEEL!