Here’s a pitching mechanics tip for you…
The fastest way to solve a movement problem is by creating movement problems.
Honestly, I can say I’ve been wrong so many more times than I’ve been right. Between me and you, I feel like writing an apology letter to some of my previous pitchers. Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I doing now that I’ll be shaking my head at 7 years from now?”
I’ve got several. I can honestly say I was doing more damage to the lower half, and arm action, than I’d like to admit. Since that time, I’ve created a couple of rules for any drill. Enable and promote. The movement has to both enable achieving the end result correctly, while also promoting the goal. Is it an efficient drill if you reach the end goal, incorrectly? I don’t think so but I did 7 years ago.
Keeping The Train On The Tracks
Starting in late October of last year I wanted to invest in more testing, so we hired a 3rd party biomechanics lab. We initially considered investing in our own lab equipment and hiring a full-time biomechanist. However, I felt those results could be skewed. Plus, I wanted a fresh look from the eyes of a knowledgeable professional, to view the data from a lens void of built-in beliefs. One of the tests we conducted at her biomechanics lab in Newport Beach, CA was positioning of the back foot. We tested the effect of turning the back foot inward (hooking the rubber) to start versus turning the back foot out (as positioned on the rubber).
Basically, by starting the back foot pointed in, I was derailing the train before it ever started chugging.
Meet Dr. Emily Ferree
Cont @LantzWheeler convo on toe in drill:Here’s video w/ backside internally rotated. Note relatively fixed pelvis propositioned towards target, upright trunk and hinged thoracic extension. You’re asking the train to come off the tracks. Pelvis inefficiency=torso inefficiency pic.twitter.com/kj7knDYW0v
— Emily Ferree, PT, DPT (@FerreePt) May 9, 2020
In the blog post, “Who’s Your Baby’s Data”, I shared how a player dramatically made changes in minutes versus weeks. We see this all the time inside our facility. Does this mean we have some drill secret, or we’re smarter than everyone? Not even close. We’ve simply failed enough to realize the best drills always begin by asking the question, “What if?”.
What if we tried this?
What if we tried that?
At the end of the day, player development is a system of trial and error. Nobody has the answer and I’ve found it’s best to view players as 100% unique. What works for one player doesn’t mean it will work for another. So, whenever you gather data on a player, ask “What if?”
In the following examples, I’m going to show you some very creative ways to see night and day changes in the middle of the afternoon. The purpose of these drills is to impose demands on the body by creating a problem for the body/brain to solve. The answer will be reflected in a specific adaptation or change. Hence the acronym SAID. In other words, it’s a specific adaptation of the body based on the imposed demands created by the environment. (By the way, follow Zach Dechant)
Don’t worry about what to do. Worry about the ADAPTATION you’re trying to create then fill in the details with what method. Adaptation rules all.
— Zach Dechant (@ZachDechant) May 12, 2020
Here are a few guys I think do a great job in player development. Greg Vogt. Dan Cauling and Ben Brewster.
Let’s start with Greg’s team first. The best thing about this “movement problem” is you don’t need a Core Velocity Belt. All you need is a PVC pipe. The drill works like this. Have your pitcher start in the setup position and move out without his back knee hitting the PVC pipe. Pretty technical, I know. (Give these guys a follow!)
And @LantzWheeler with emphasizing small movements, PVCs, and hops.
Coach @T_Grim29 already shared his work with adding PVC with belt work to maintain hinge/vertical shin.
Watching these guys learn at Palooza and implement it do well with our athletes makes you (contd) pic.twitter.com/DVEH5Fd24U
— Coach Vogt (@GVogt31) December 18, 2019
One of the biggest problems I see with the lower-half of many amateur pitchers is
— Ben Brewster (@TreadAthletics) September 13, 2019
The Kinetic Chain Starts At The Brain
Now, let’s change gears and move to The Core Velocity Belt testing we’ve performed over the past nine months. During Palooza19 we shared our testing results for “feeding the mistake”. It wasn’t even my idea to test, it was first presented by Scott Brown based on what he was seeing with his pitchers doing the same thing, at Vanderbilt. Next thing you know, I’m on the phone with Eugene Bleeker and he suggests the same thing. I guess the saying is true, great minds think alike. It’s just that my mind wasn’t involved in the conversation.
Here’s what Scott and Eugene suggest we test first:
Here’s were the results:.
I’ll let Dr. Emily do the rest of the talking…
At the end of the day fellas, the fastest way to solve a problem is by creating problems for the brain and body to solve. We’ve got to get away from mindless drills. Muscles don’t have memories, but the brain does. The only way to truly make changes is by addressing the nervous system and constantly shaping the environment, forcing the body to answer by moving more efficiently. The worst thing any pitcher could do is the same thing every single day.
Trust what you FEEL!