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I wanted to talk about what is called the Inverted W and the definition of what exactly it is in regards to pitching mechanics. We personally have not coined this phrase but we use it often and we feel it best describes a motion in where the pitching arm side elbow and glove arm side elbow get above the should before, at or after front foot impact. Most pitchers that have an Inverted W motion in their delivery have a bad timing problem and you will notice they foot plant on their heel.
After studying pitchers at all levels there has been a spike in injuries in pitchers that demonstrate their motion during their delivery. Some pitchers are marginal and others have big timing problems in which this Inverted W motion is more pronounced.
Let me be clear this motion in of itself isn’t detrimental of itself. However, when a pitchers front foot has planted and the hips/shoulders are at max separation the arm should be in the upright 90 degree throwing position. High stress on the arm happens when the front foot plants, the hips open and the pitching arm side elbow is still have the shoulder. The arm is late getting to the upright 90 degree position and is still in a “flat” position.
During my years of research I have noticed the Inverted W isn’t a natural motion when young athletes start pitching but a learned behavior as they progress. For advanced (HS, College or Professional) pitchers this Inverted W motion can only have a chance of being sustained in the bullpen. Any pitcher that is in the starting rotation with this Inverted W motion will ultimately wear down slowly or be susceptible to a single pitch injury which could be an immediate elbow or shoulder injury. To back up my findings think about past pitchers in the MLB that were in the starting rotation and moved to the bullpen because they couldn’t stay healthy. A few include John Smoltz and Kerry Wood.