What Bryce Harper Taught Me About the Lower-Half

Back in 2012, I really had no idea how the lower body worked. At the time, I just agreed with what I was reading and then realized that I was teaching everything wrong.

Here’s what I learned what Bryce Harper taught me about pitching that goes against everything you’ve ever seen, read or heard about effective lower-body pitching mechanics.

  1. Hip shoulder separation occurs from back hip-back elbow. (Not – Front shoulder-back hip)
  2. Fastest way to Unplug lower body output is using cues such as “Load the hips” and drills such as… “Hook’ems” – “Deceleration drils” and “Pronation”.
  3. Arm speed is instant and Arm Strength is not. (That’s why some kids can throw 4-7 mph (or more) off flat ground but lose it when they step on the mound.)
  4. The feet and the eyes are the first checkpoints when evaluating pitching mechanics for me.
  5. The back hip opens the front. (When Tim Lincecum and Trevor Bauer became famous mechanical models, an entire generation of pitchers suffered greatly… They killed effective hip rotation.)

I’ve got more but will get to it later.

Here’s the video I first saw that changed everything for me. It’s Bryce Harper hitting a ball 503 ft.

Nationals Outfielder Bryce Harper

At the time, My good friend Ron Wolforth was teaching “Load the hips” and the now-famous “Pelvic Loading“.

Like so many other coaches, Ron was fond of saying the reason Lincecum threw so hard is because the arm hitches up to the front hip and “Whaaaap”.

Problem was…

  • White Castle is more effective for Pelvic Loading and Tim Lincecum’s front hip had absolutely nothing to do with his velocity…
  • And everything to do with his hip injuries that would later de-rail his career.

Luckily, Ron’s a follower of the site and changed his stance, and learned the “back hip opens the front.”

That’s the great thing about pitching coaches, whenever info changes, so does philosophies.

That’s why I recommend you closely read what I’m about to show you next.

Push Hips

Here’s what a typical “Load the hips” teachings appeared as in the delivery..

  1. The inverted W became a common problem. (The inverted W is not an arm action issue in 99% of the cases I see, it’s stems from the feet.)
  2. Velocity dropped because whatever the hips do, the arm will follow. (Push the hips- Push the arm.)

Lance McCullers vs Bryce Harper - Lower Body

Watch the video above. (Lance McCullers vs Harper flipped around to right side.)

Do you see the similarities?

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. The back knee doesn’t get inside the foot. (This causes a pushing of the hips.)
  2. The back knee has slight flexion or bend throughout, it’s never really straight or locks out.
  3. The back hip is the driver of rotation and it’s the “Back hip that opens the front.” (Right Ron? lol)

——–

*Bonus: One of the fastest ways to fix pitching flaws with the lower-body is by putting a bat in the pitchers’ hand.. I’m betting you don’t see the same issues. Why?

  • Because most of the flaws you see inside pitching mechanics are merely learned association.
  • Most pitchers have been taught to do the wrong things, and it’s un-natural, goes against what the body truly wants to do.
  • A quick way to over-ride motor programs is by blending swinging with hitting.

——-

REXB Running Off Mound
REXB Swing

Watch these vids: Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Watch the difference between the hip action, swinging vs pitching. (Rex Brothers, one of my all-time favorite pitchers. Great story by the way, that I’ll share at a later time. )

Once this pitcher short-circuited the faulty motor programs, his velocity soared and he’s now blowing cheese for the Braves.  (This is merely an example of the difference between mechanics while swinging and throwing, it’s not the program he actually followed, wish it were that easy.)

Rex Braves Velocity

Just goes to show..

  • Most pitchers are better off with no instruction.
  • If you’ve got issues with your lower-body, the first step is identifying what you’re doing wrong.
  • Most of the flaws you see with the lower-body are “Man-Made”. Meaning they’re taught.
  • The drills and exercises you choose to do prior to pitching or training, will have a drastic impact on your pitching mechanics.
  • Arm speed is instant… Arm strength is not.

If you’d like to learn how to use your lower-half to throw harder, without having to OVER_think every move you make…

You better hurry because just about every spot is filled for my 3-Day Core Velocity Programs.

Inside the program…

  1. We will identify your velocity leak.
  2. Show you some quick and easy ways to make changes… Without ever mentioning the word mechanics one single time.
  3. Give you a customized program you can follow on your smartphone that’s guaranteed to eliminate the “What am I doing wrong… And what can I do to fix it” problem.

And that’s just on Day #1.

Wait until I share with you the secrets I’ve kept hidden out of fear of other pitching instructors taking them and putting their name to it. Unfortunately, that’s why I can’t allow you to video tape the group instruction…

Only your son’s.

Reserve one of the remaining spots for your son at my 3-Day Core Velocity Training Programs this summer.

 

 

Trust what you FEEL!

P.S:  Be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts and questions.

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