Our Influences – Pitching
Lots of people email me and ask me what “camp” I belong to for pitching or hitting or strength and conditioning. I respond that I don’t belong to any “camp” as that would imply that I subscribe to 100% of the views of those “camps.” However, I love to do research and learn from people who have done their own research and experimentation, and so I’ve absolutely been influenced by the work of others. I’ll list a few instructors, coaches, and organizations that I think are credible whose material has made its way into my pitching-specific programming and recommendations in many ways:
The National Pitching Association
The National Pitching Association (NPA) is a group dedicated to the education of baseball pitchers, their parents, and their coaches, so that they can pitch more effectively, stay healthier, develop a positive mental attitude, and a greater love of the game. The NPA was formed by leading coaches, athletes, and management teams to help pitchers of all ages safely develop to their fullest potential.
I have taken and passed the online pitching mechanics course offered by the NPA, and I own many of their books, including The Art and Science of Pitching.
The NPA is a great place to start your pitching-specific education and includes highly-regarded instructors like Tom House.
Dr. Mike Marshall
Controversial? You bet. Dr. Marshall has reinvented the pitching motion and has been teaching it for years in his Zephyrhills, Florida complex (recently closed). Their pitchers stand facing the batter, step directly straight forward, and utilize a unique arm action that focuses on getting the arm up early and forcefully pronating through release. His training methods include heavy wrist weights, lead balls, and plastic javelins to train his concept of a straight driveline towards the target.
While many will disagree with his methods and his dogmatic ways (and I count myself in this group), to reject all of his ideas because of his personality is a big mistake. Driveline Baseball uses many of the conditioning implements that Dr. Marshall advocates, such as wrist weights, and we believe that some of his theories on pitching mechanics have solid merit.
Eric Cressey – owner of Cressey Performance – runs an excellent blog available at EricCressey.com that all pitchers and parents of pitchers should follow. He is a former powerlifter, holds an MS in Exercise Science, and wrote the excellent book titled Maximum Strength.
Eric’s work in the exercise science field is unparalleled. He has written on topics ranging from Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) to deadlifting to band work for pitchers. His pitchers consistently see major strength and velocity gains, and Eric’s reputation for his tireless work and research is well-deserved.
Those are our “influences” when it comes to pitching-related philosophies and work. We don’t take an equal amount from each, and we certainly read and consider more sources (ASMI is a big one, but we felt it wasn’t applicable as an “influence”) when we develop our programming and concepts for our pitchers.
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Powerful pronation can reduce release velocity IF it is executed too soon in the delivery. When practiced to perfection, pronation can actually ADD to velocity. Most players who first learn to pronate perform the action too soon during the forearm drive. With practice you can learn to “hold back” pronation until just before release and drive your fingers powerfully through release with additional veloecity being achieved. It’s an acquired skill, but it does work.