Pitching Mechanics: Charting Progress

Back in August, my friend Grant Dawson filmed me pitching in successive weeks. Below are the video clips that we broke down and analyzed at the time. I had been working out for about a month, after not having pitched for 11 years–so nothing’s very explosive here.

We plan on doing video footage monthly starting Saturday, January 30th–so check back here in early February if you’d like to critique my mechanics now–I sure am hoping I’ve improved.

August 3, 2009

Grant and I analyzed my mechanics and had the following exchange:

Dan: I watched my mechanics and compared them to two lefties on Chris O’Leary’s site: Cliff Lee and Sandy Koufax (I focused much more on Koufax, both because he is better, but also because the angle is more similar).

Grant: Here are my notes, tell me if you agree… (these are based on the 1/3rd speed version).
At the top of your wind-up (first freeze frame) you’re loaded up nicely with your hips and shoulders closed and your weight on your back leg.

Dan: I think you’re right, I look pretty good here.

But you’ll notice that as you come out of that position you don’t drive with your rear leg at all, you simply keep it straight and fall forward on it (2nd freeze frame), sacrificing a ton of power.

Yep. I’m shifting all of my weight forward way too early. From looking at Koufax and Lee, they keep their weight back much longer and load up on their back leg. This contributes to producing a MUCH longer stride (like you mentioned). Interesting, they both drop their bodies down considerably, while I stay upright. I had a coach tell me to “keep my head still”, which I think contributed to this mechanical flaw. I think I lose a lot of power here.

And also as soon as your drop into you release, you’re dropping your front toe. Notice how its pointed toward the ground, when it should be pointed toward first base. The third freeze frame shows you fully extended, and its nice to see that you’re not completely opened up at this point, although both your shoulders and hips are in the same position, and from what I understand the hips should be leading the shoulders.

Yep. I think I need to keep reminding myself of the basics (toe and hips closed as long as possible, elbow pointed at the target w/ shoulders closed), but then REALLY focus on “keeping my weight back” while I load up the hips.

1. Keeping my weight back and “loading” up on my back leg
2. Keeping my weight back during stride, which will–I think–increase the length of my stride.

This was very helpful.
The next week, we filmed my throwing again–and I made slight improvements.

August 9, 2009

Grant: You’re getting more power from that rear leg, but I think there is room for continued improvement. In addition, your upper body is a little sloppy as well… Your glove hand releases an awful lot, and I think it should be kept closer to your body after release.

Anyway… I’d really like to hear your thoughts on video 2 and your progress.

Dan: I think I made good progress. I agree that I need to still load up more, keep my weight back, and then fall forward a much longer distance (my stride length should, I think, be at least an additional foot or two).


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