Archive for December, 2009

Nolan Ryan’s pitching tips

Posted in Pitching Mechanics on December 28, 2009 by tccsp

Recently, I read a section from “Nolan Ryan’s Pitching Bible” (published in 1991), and he had the following 8 mechanical tips. I think No. 6 is a good one to keep in mind even as I seek to keep my weight back and generate more power. He encourages a “tall and fall” approach as opposed to a “dip and drive” approach, which can result in arm injuries.

These are helpful guidelines for pitching mechanics. They are the mechanics that I try to focus on in my training.

1-keep head over pivot foot throughout entire delivery

2-Don’t start forward momentum toward home plate until your lift leg reaches its apex

3-Lift-don’t kick-your leg up to its maximum height

4-Hold your hands at the center of gravity—from belly button to upper chest level

5-Maintain the same upper-body posture you achieve in the balance phase of the delivery

6-Always adhere to the “tall and fall” (taking a controlled fall toward home plate in the tall posture you achieved at balance) instead of “dip and drive” (pushing off the rubber as you reach your balance, dipping down, and then releasing the baseball).

7-As you begin to move toward home plate, make sure your entire front side—foot, hip, elbow, knee, and glove—is aligned with home plate. This is what is known as a closed, compact delivery. Hips must stay directional (toward home plate) until the landing leg hits; all hip rotation happens after this point.

8-Land with your front side directional but your landing foot “closed off”—a left-hander’s left big toe should point slightly toward the third-base side of home plate; a left-hander’s right big toe should point slightly toward the first-base side of home plate—blocking off your forward movement. This transfers your forward momentum up through the body and into the arm at your release point, and ultimately ensures a less stressful deceleration of the arm.

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Mr. October – a paltry first showing

Posted in Pitching Mechanics, Training/Workouts on December 28, 2009 by tccsp

In October, I pitched in two games for a men’s league. My command was terrible at worst, and erratic at best. I was falling behind batters left and right–relying on my fastball exclusively, since I couldn’t get ahead of anybody.

The first game, I pitched two innings. In the first inning, I struck out two guys, walked one, beaned one, and gave up two runs. Nerves, I thought. The second inning, I was even more wild and four or five more runs scored.

The second game wasn’t much better. I pitched five innings and felt good at times–but I was still very wild. Here is a breakdown of what I recall my pitching lines looking like.

…………….Inn….H…..R….ER….BB…..K….HB
Game 1……2…..2…..6…..4…….4…..5…..1
Game 2……5…..5…..9…..6…..10…..9…..0

I have to admit that after the second game, I was ready to throw in the towel. Most of these guys were just playing for fun, and I fit right in–a regular old joe just throwing meatballs. The only thing that was encouraging was the strikeouts (14 in 7 innings), and my teammates telling me that I had “the best stuff” of all the pitchers, and that “you throw harder than anyone in this league”. There was still a small kernal of talent, apparently. It was just hidden underneath years of disuse.

I have a long way to go, and lots of work to do. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping to be able to improve command through regular throwing–possibly in my basement, though I only have about 25 feet to work with.

What pro scouts are looking for

Posted in Scouting/Minor Leagues on December 28, 2009 by tccsp

When I started this process, I came across this helpful discussion by Steven Ellis at TheCompletePitcher.com about pro tryouts–and what scouts are looking for.

Ellis included a graphic of this form, which is apparently the Twins scouting form.
Twins Scouting Form

I know the Twins have at least one of these forms on me from when I was in high school–and I certainly wasn’t drafted out of high school. So I must have been scoring in the 3-5 range on their forms then. In order for me to look interesting, I’ll have to be in the 7-8 range. I clearly have a lot of work to do in the next six months.

This past October, I pitched in two games in a men’s league. Based on my performance–and the fact that I haven’t thrown a baseball since November–I would currently rate very poorly in almost all baseball categories like velocity, overall control, and command–I might get higher marks for pitch movement, poise, and baseball instincts; and would look okay in the non-physical qualities like work habits and off-field habits.

Intangibles that I can control also include my eyesight–I wear glasses, but will be getting Lasik.

New Year’s resolution–actually do this

Posted in Personal/Family on December 28, 2009 by tccsp

Ever since spraining my ankle in November playing basketball, I all but gave up on the baseball comeback. Work and other more important things took precedent (I have two 19-month old twins and my wife is pregnant, for goodness sake’s!).

But for the last nine days my wife and I have been on vacation in Birmingham, Alabama, and I have been running and doing  workouts. It’s warm, I have plenty of time, I don’t need to get up early. Now if I could only find a way to stay down here for six more months.

But the workouts and the turning of the calendar have me dreaming again–and I’ll set my mind once again to getting ready for going to these tryouts. Once we get back to Minneapolis, I’ll have to corral a group of friends willing to take turns catching me.