For years, I actually believed hip/shoulder separation actually increased your velocity…But when I learned the truth about hip/shoulder separation drills I quickly realized why so many pitchers never increased their velocity, even though they had tons of hip/shoulder separation inside their pitching delivery.
Before we begin…Are you familiar with the term/concept of hip/shoulder separation? I’m sure you’ve heard your pitching instructor or even your hitting instructor use the term, right? If not, no biggie, what about the term…Torque? Same thing.
If not, it refers to the pitchers ability to separate the hips from the shoulders.
Most velocity studies show a high correlation to hip/shoulder separation, watch this video.
So, here’s what we’re going to do today. First off, we’re going to watch Yu Darvish in slow motion to get a better sense of what it means to separate the hips from the shoulders. And then, I’m going to give you 4 pitching drills that will instantly increase your hip/shoulder separation and the best part is-you won’t even have to pick up a baseball.
Below is a video of Yu Darvish. Pause the video around the :07 mark.
Now, that’s separation my friends! It’s one of the reasons that Darvish throws so hard, or is it? .
Keep reading and at the end of this post, I will show you how you can instantly do the same thing seen with Yu Darvish.
If you’ve been following us, you’ve seen the drills where I explain the difference between pitchers being front hip dominated versus back hip dominant. If you missed it, you can watch them here.
The rear hip has to be the Alpha male in the lower body relationship!
However, with many of the pitchers I see, that’s not the case. Controlling the hips is the biggest obstacle I see with most young pitchers. I wrote an article about this earlier, it’s right here.
I’ve sat through 100’s of hours of pitching clinics and seminars and time after time, I hear the same definition for hip/shoulder separation.
You want to create distance between the throwing elbow and front hip.
Huh? Why, the last time I checked, I already had distance between the elbow and front hip. Why not tell the pitchers:
You want to create distance between the rear hip and throwing elbow.
Afterall, isn’t that what you’re trying to separate? Tell me if I’m wrong, but that’s what I see with both Papelbon and Kershaw.
Here’s what I see, tell me if you agree.
I want you to stand up and try something with me, have you stretched out yet?
Our body is connected from head to toe through connective tissue and muscles.
That’s what you’re feeling. Maybe this will help.
Picture pulling a rubber band in opposite directions and letting it go. The faster you can pull the rubber band in opposite directions, the more force and energy applied. (There’s the science lesson for the week).
Now let’s take another look at Yu. Watch the video this time from the :04-:07 second mark and watch how he gets to the point of separation. See if you see him doing the same thing as Ryan, Papelbon and Kershaw.
Do you see how they are separating the back hip from the throwing elbow? (Hip mobility is necessary, so maybe this will help.)
By getting the back hip to separate from the throwing elbow, it creates a need for the arm to speed up and get into position to throw, it assists the redirection.
I believe that most players struggle with separation because:
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P.S: So what have you heard about separation? How important is separation to velocity?