For More Information About DVDs
ChrisOLeary.com > ... > ... > Essays > Adam Wainwright and the Inverted W

Adam Wainwright and
the Inverted W

2/23/2011

Adam Wainwright just went down with a significant elbow injury. I assume he is going to need Tommy John surgery. As a result, I have put together this updated piece that pinpoints his exact problem using more recent video.

Adam Wainwright

Frame 37

Toward the end of 2010, Adam Wainwright was shut down early. Now it's reported that he is having serious problems with his elbow and may need Tommy John surgery. Let's go through some frames from a clip of him pitching and see if we can identify the root cause of his problems.

Adam Wainwright

Frame 37

In Frame 37 above, Adam Wainwright has the ball at his Pitching Arm Side (aka PAS) hip and is starting to swing his Pitching Arm back toward Second Base.

Adam Wainwright

Frame 48

In Frame 3 above, Adam Wainwright has swung his Pitching Arm back toward Second Base and is just starting to bend his PAS elbow. However, and IMO critically, his PAS elbow keeps moving upward after this frame.

Adam Wainwright

Frame 49

Adam Wainwright

Frame 50

Adam Wainwright

Frame 51

Adam Wainwright

Frame 52

Adam Wainwright

Frame 53

Adam Wainwright

Frame 54

Adam Wainwright

Frame 55

In Frame 55 above you can see Adam Wainwright's PAS arm forming a fairly pronounced "M" or Inverted W with his PAS elbow above the level of his shoulders and his PAS forearm hanging down below it. This creates a timing problem and increases the distance over which, and the force with which, his PAS upper arm will externally rotate and in place an increased load on both his elbow and shoulder.

Adam Wainwright

Frame 56

Adam Wainwright

Frame 57

Adam Wainwright

Frame 58

Adam Wainwright

Frame 59

What you see in Frame 59 above is what led me to be concerned about Adam Wainwright's PAS shoulder and elbow. Notice that his PAS forearm is horizontal, not vertical, and his PAS elbow is still above the level of his shoulders as his front heel plants. What's more, if you look at the birds on the bat logo on his chest, you can see that his shoulders have been rotating for a number of frames (at least since Frame 57). That will increase the load on both his elbow and his shoulder.

Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright

You can see the same thing in the picture above of Adam Wainwright. Notice how his front foot is planted but his PAS forearm is horizontal and his PAS elbow is above the level of his shoulders.
     If you compare this picture with a picture of Greg Maddux at the same moment, Greg Maddux's PAS forearm will be vertical at this moment and his PAS elbow will be 6 to 9 inches lower. I believe that is a very significant difference and that if Adam Wainwright doesn't fix this, then his shoulder will go next.

Adam Wainwright

Frame 60

Adam Wainwright

Frame 61

Adam Wainwright

Frame 62

Adam Wainwright

Frame 63

Adam Wainwright

Frame 64

Adam Wainwright

Frame 65

Adam Wainwright

Frame 66

Adam Wainwright

Frame 67

Adam Wainwright

Frame 68

This is Just the Beginning

This isn't just an academic, post-engagement exercise in Monday morning quarterbacking. Instead, it actually represents an opportunity. Elbows can be fixed, but shoulders are much harder to fix. Adam Wainwright needs to improve his pitching mechanics if he is to realize even a portion of his potential.

about | contact | copyright | sitemap | liability policy