Proper Throwing Mechanics
I first became interested in the topic of proper throwing
mechanics as part of my research into
My older son decided he wanted to try his hand at
pitching. I had pitched a bit when I was a kid and, since in the land
of the blind the one-eyed man is king, I took on the role of
pitching coach for his team. I then became the pitching coach for
my younger son and his teams and then the instructional
coordinator for our entire youth recreational program.
My Younger Son
In working with my sons and their friends on their
pitching, I found that the best throwers tend to make the best
There's no point in working with a kid on
their pitching if you haven't first worked with them on their
The problem is that, when it comes to teaching throwing, people
- Over-coach arm action, which most kids do
- Under-coach things like the starting position, which many
kids -- and especially girls -- don't naturally do right.
What's worse, I have found, as a result of 10 years of
research into kinesiology and the biomechanics of throwing, that the things that
many/most people teach with respect to arm action are dangerous and are
likely contributing to the pitcher injury and tommy john surgery
Proper Throwing Mechanics?
If you Google "proper throwing mechancs," the first result that comes up, for me at least, is a
Baseball Factory coaching tip on throwing. The key teach in this clip is a saying that is fairly common,
but comes in different forms across the country.
- Thumb to thigh, show it to the sky
This clip encourages what emerging research suggests are two
problematic movement patterns.
Prolonged Internal Rotation
The research of Dr. Cynthia LaBella has demonstrated
that a significant risk factor for throwing is
prolonged internal rotation. Similarly, a study by Dr. Weimi
Douoguih, team physician for the Washington Nationals, has found
delayed external rotation relative to torso rotation is also a
The problem is that the "thumb to thigh" portion of the
arm swing puts the thrower in a position of internal rotation
that Dr. LaBella has found to be problematic and will tend to create the
Timing problem that Dr. Douoguih has
found is problematic.
As I explain in
Pitching MRSA, while the "show it to the sky" portion of the
arm swing may have helped to fix a problem in certain pitchers,
I believe it
puts the arm in a position of what I call
Premature Pronation. Recent research into the physiology of
throwing, and how the muscles of the forerarm can help to
protect the ligament that is repaired during Tommy John Surgery,
suggests that showing the ball to the sky, pointing the ball at
second base or center field, or whatever it is called can interfere with this
process of protecting that elbow and/or create a timing problem.
Thus the Epidemic
I have put together a number of pieces that discuss the topic
proper pitching mechanics in general and
the pitcher injury and tommy john surgery epidemic in
Throwing Mechanics 101
I have spent the past 15 years researching the
best way to teach kids how to throw both safely
and effectively. In fact, this page started out as an extremely well-received essay
into proper throwing mechanics. I have since expanded it into
Throwing Mechanics 101,
addresses topics like...
- The biggest mistake that throwers make.
- How to fix dropping the elbow and pushing the ball.
- How to reduce the likelihood of throwing injuries.
Throwing Mechanics 101 costs only 29
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