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There is quite a bit of debate around what a pitcher should do with his front arm as he drives towards home plate.
Glove to chest?
Extend glove towards the plate?
Is it a front elbow thing or a glove thing when looking at the front arm?
You'll see effective pitchers using both methods. Below are photos of Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera. Both were two of the more healthy, durable pitchers of their generation.
In my experience and studying of the pitching mechanics, what I have found and teach kids is as long as you are controlled and consistent with strength plus rotational pull and rotational path, either one works. However what you see from a lot of starting pitchers these days is straight arm at t position and then pulling glove to chest or arm pit. I think it is the best way to make sure that the pitcher does not get tired and then front arm rotation path causing your throwing arm path to change as well. I call it strong elbow to elbow where you could put a broom stick from elbow to elbow that passes through both shoulders. I believe that the straight line should exist until the throwing arm passes the shoulder as it approaches the release point. I find that the early bent elbow is very effective for relievers because they don't have to go as deep into games where mental and physical fatigue will set in and starting pitchers can no longer focus about there mechanics through out their entire windup and just start focusing on the outcome and location of the pitch. s
I also believe that the importance of the front arm is under study, taught, and appreciated for success as a pitcher.
Glove Side activity is a response, not an action!
When you walk a balance beam and shift your weight to one side, you instinctively lose control of your Arms. You regain Arm control only after you get your weight back to center. The same thing happens during your pitching motion.
Mussina (just like most Pitchers) shifts his weight forward.
His forward weight shift forces his to lose control of his Arms. His Glove Arm position in this picture is his Mind's attempt to use this Glove Side to get his weight back to center or to keep his weight from coming too far forward too soon. Only after he completes his Foot Plant and he gets his weight back to center will he complete his delivery.
Rivera (like most elite Pitchers) keeps his weight centered.
By keeping his weight centered, he maintains conscious control of his Glove Arm. Just prior to this picture, you'd see him make a Glove Side action that creates the picture you see. Moving past this picture, once his Upper Body rotation fires his Hips, you'll see his throwing action become a physical response to his Lower Body rotation.
So to answer your question ... your weight distribution determines whether you control your Glove Side or your Glove Side controls you.
L.A. "Skip" Fast
Pro Pitching Institute
My question for you would be if do you see any benefit one from the other? Do you think any velocity is generated from the front side?
Forward Weight Shifts.
Based upon the way your Body works, your throwing action only begins after your Foot Plant and you bring your weight back to center. With a forward weight shift, your actual throwing action has nothing to do with all your activity leading into your Foot Plant.
You free your Glove Arm to trigger your Hips which physically pulls your Throwing Hand into release. With your weight centered, your one synchronized motion channels your energy from your Hips into your Throwing Hand.
Your Lower Body rotation channeling energy into your Throwing Hand maximizes your velocity (and, by the way, improves your location, ball movement and deception). It's a physical impossibility for your Front Side to enhance your velocity.
L.A. "Skip" Fast
Pro Pitching Institute
I don't know...
I don't know if the Tom House twist and swivel (and bring chest to glove) is the best, or if pulling the elbow to the side is the side is the best, or if it really matters. I do think that if it loose and flies to the side (before release) there is no way to get hip/shoulder separation, and they are leaking velocity like crazy.
So to answer your question Adam, I don't know if it is "generated" from the front side, but it sure can be lost.
With that being said, we focus on firm on the front side, both arm and leg, whatever that looks like for the individual, and we ignore what happens after release unless it is a symptom of something that is happening before release.
Kyle and Skip,
Thank you for the responds. My theory on front side pull and rotation helps activate a pitchers core on the left side and helps add shoulder rotation power adding a harder whip right before release point. My study of this has led me to believe that it helps stabilize the upper body from being out of balance. I see that the arm doesn't necessarily need to accelerate until after after the shoulders are pointing at 1st and 3rd. This allowing for less stress on the shoulder. I transitioned from being a position player to being a pitcher because I had a live arm and I felt that this thought process helped me with location, power and body control because I was transitioning from a short throwing motion to a longer throwing motion while being an undersized pitcher frame. I was able to generate power using by entire body after my front foot had landed. I thought about pitching steps and everything leading up to my front foot landing was just to create shoulder and hip separation. The momentum that I took from my stride was just to lower body drive. My steps after my foot had landed were:
Pull with my glove toward my chest/arm pit while my throwing arm was firm to be in the get in the throwing position
Shoulders lined up with third and first, accelerate arm. Push off with calf from rubber
I thought of it simple but if I tried to accelerate my throwing arm before my shoulders were in place I lost timing and velocity.
When I started pulling harder and harder with my glove arm I saw a just in velocity that is why I started studying front side and glove side more. It has been a theory of mine that is does help with velocity, hip torque, and shoulder rotation power when timed correctly but only helps with some pitchers who are having timing problems. If the pitcher is more linear I have found that it works more frequently. If the pitcher is more rotational I have found that he becomes more wild and I revert to his old form.
What are your thoughts?
There are no cookie cutter answers.
Every action comes from a thought. Every action produces a reaction. Without seeing a Pitcher's video, I can't explain their responses and I can't possibly know how they think. Without knowing how they think, I can't (in all good faith) recommend anything that would help them achieve their dreams of pitching at the highest levels.
L.A. "Skip" Fast
Pro Pitching Institute
Post script - Everyone is entitled to their own theories and beliefs, but not their own facts.
Your comments tell me your theories and beliefs fail to include how the human Body responds to weight shifts versus how it reacts when it keeps its weight centered.
I try to get my arm in the position that Rivera has his in. I do this when I initiate trunk rotation like a figure skater that brings the arms in close to increase rotational speed. Turns out that I only do this when I am thinking about doing it in the bullpen. While pitching live, I point my glove at the target as a continuation of hand break, then during and after trunk rotation. My front arm just goes limp "not using it" and my glove comes straight down and rests on my thigh. I know this by watching video and still shots. I don't think it is bad but just not how I pictured my mechanics should be. I just never thought the guys that keep the front arm straight and it winds up behind them were getting the best rotation they could.
BTW the two pictures above do not capture both pitchers at the same moment of delivery. Rivera reaches out with his glove during stride and Mussina brings his glove in to almost the exact position that Rivera has his in the picture. Notice The high cocked position on Rivera because he has already landed and is bringing the ball toward the plate whereas "Moose" is still in stride and weight is still back.