Velocity Training: Perfecting the Overhead Medball Throw

Plyometric training is a key component to developing explosive power that can be applied to the throwing motion. This revelation is nothing new – coaches have been using medicine ball drills for years, but a vast majority of athletes miss the boat when it comes to performing these movements properly, losing out on some of the biggest benefits of these exercises. Not only that, many athletes have no clue how to progress medicine ball throws once they have mastered the basics – do you add weight? Do more reps? Let’s cut through the crap and make you an expert on one of the most effective medball drills for pitchers that you’ve probably been doing wrong:
What We Know:

Elite level throwers effectively transfer their bodyweight from back leg to front leg, while minimizing energy leakage up the kinetic chain.
Front leg bracing and upper body extension out over the front leg are positively […]

By |December 9th, 2014|Articles, Training, Video|3 Comments

Understanding Internal Motivation – Driveline Baseball’s History

On occasion, this blog can get a bit too heady with the science jargon and lack of personal feel, and I don’t want it to turn into that. So today, instead of talking about the issues that typical players have, I’ll try to relate to you the challenges I’ve faced to show you that there are plenty of doubters and haters in all areas of the game.

When I first started Driveline Baseball, I had recently been fired as a coach at Roosevelt HS. I remember it fondly, because the head coach of the Varsity had gone 1-19 with his program and the Junior Varsity similarly only won a single game. Meanwhile, my assistant Jacob and I won nearly half of our games on the Freshman team despite the roster being gutted by the JV program. The reason given was: “I want to bring in more guys who played at a […]

By |April 7th, 2014|Articles, Rants|1 Comment

Why We Don’t Teach Equal and Opposite (Or a Firm Front Side)

There are a lot of over-simplified cues when it comes to pitching mechanics in the hopes of making the art of throwing 90+ MPH with precision a simple task. Obviously this isn’t the case, considering how few people can actually do this, despite a massively growing industry of pitching instruction and coaching.

As far as we’re concerned, universal cues range from cute and worthless to terrible and worthless. There simply aren’t any good universal cues that involve positioning the body in specific areas and spaces, because not everyone has the same proprioceptive system. No two pitchers feel the same way about throwing a baseball, and no two pitchers have identical anatomical structures.

Let’s talk about two major cues that we’ll never use, and why.
Equal and Opposite
So first of all, the idea that pitchers that throw hard and throw strikes have equal and opposite arms can be immediately discredited by this image:

This is […]

By |October 14th, 2013|Articles, Mechanics|4 Comments

Locating Up in the Zone – Better for Amateur/Recreational Pitchers

Pitchers at all levels of the game are told to locate their pitches in the bottom half of the zone so they can get hitters to swing over the top of the pitch and produce ground balls. As everyone knows, ground balls are the best way to prevent runs, since you can’t hit ground balls over the fence and it’s tough to hit them into the gaps for extra bases. Apologies to all coaches of youth, high school, and many college pitchers, but: You’re wrong. Pitchers should locate their fastballs and breaking balls in the top half of the zone to get the most success when competing against average youth, high school, and most college hitters.
Ground Balls: Be Careful What You Wish For
It’s happened to everyone – including me – you get a ton of ground balls, your defense boots the ball around, you end up giving up 1 or 2 earned runs but a plethora of unearned runs. When your coach comes and pulls you from the game, he says: “Nothing you could have done, kid. Defense just didn’t play behind you,” pats you on the butt, and tells you to get your running in.

Your teammates apologize for booting that easy ball in the hole, for not picking that ball at first base, and dropping that easy double play opportunity. Being a good teammate, you say “Ah, it happens. Get ‘em next time.” Then while running your poles, you reflect on how particularly unlucky you were that day. If only Bobby hadn’t lost that ball in the sun and Roger didn’t sail that ball from shortstop, you would have gotten out of that long inning. But were you unlucky? Think about it: You did everything you were supposed to – get a few strikeouts, not walk too many, and got a lot of ground balls. And what were you rewarded with? Hasn’t this happened before? What if you got fly balls instead? Don’t hitters swing and miss on your fastballs up in the zone – and when they make contact, don’t they often go for fly ball outs? How many home runs does the entire school have, anyway? Four? But what’s the team batting average – .380? Here are the two major reasons you want to get ground balls at the MLB level:

Sluggers often hit fly balls over the fence.
Defense at the MLB level is insanely elite.

Think about those reasons for a minute. Do either of those reasons apply to your high school league? What do you think the average HR rate on fly balls is in your league? I guarantee it’s not 11%. (MLB Average HR/FB rate.) We’ve already established defenders at the HS/College level are orders of magnitude worse than the Dominican and Venezuelan infielders of MLB (to say nothing of the local product), so why are you applying a heuristic to a completely different game?

Tons of data and a shattered myth after the jump… […]

By |May 14th, 2012|Articles, Sabermetrics|2 Comments

Reviewing ASMI’s Biomechanical Analysis of Dr. Marshall’s Pitchers (Focus: Performance/Velocity)

I’ve been meaning to write on this subject for quite some time, and if it’s received well, I’ll write more about ASMI’s report. A fair warning: This post will be very long and will likely contain a lot of scientific jargon that might be tough to understand. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments at any time.
Understanding ASMI’s Biomechanical Analysis
First and foremost, we need to understand what the biomechanical report actually means. The American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) offers high-speed video biomechanical analysis of pitchers. (Driveline Baseball offers a comparable product using similar technology.) Using this technology, ASMI analyzed four of Dr. Marshall’s pitchers, settling on three of them for a grouped analysis report (the fourth was not similar enough to the other three and had significantly lower ball velocity). If you are unaware of who Dr. Marshall is and what his theories are, you have a long road […]

By |October 10th, 2011|Articles|7 Comments

Why it’s Called the “Inverted W” and Not the “M”

“Why is it the Inverted W? Isn’t it just an M?”

This is an age-old question that gets asked pretty much every time I see it on a blog or messageboard that’s unfamiliar with the history of the term – “Inverted W.” So let’s get this out of the way – yes, an Inverted W is simply an M. Obviously. But this terminology didn’t come about because someone forgot the fact that M was a letter – the focus is too much on the “W” and not the “Inverted” portion of this term. Like phonetics, the emphasis is on Inverted and not on W when it comes to this term.

Paul Nyman coined this term when he did much of the first amateur video analysis of pitchers available – on a VCR, no less! He counted frames using his VCR and did stop motion work with crude technology long before the proliferation of the Internet. […]

By |September 8th, 2011|Articles|1 Comment