Where to Start Your Pitching Mechanics

July 27, 2012

BY JASON SEKANY

With 28 years of pitching experience, Jason Sekany is the founder and lead pitching instructor at The Pitching Center (TPC). As a pitcher, Jason’s experience began by being drafted in second round of the 1996 MLB Draft and playing on the Major League Rosters for both the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds. In addition to his leadership at TPC, Jason also works with Team USA Baseball as a pitching coach.

When a pitcher walks through our door, there are usually 1 or more of the following they are looking to improve.

  1. Velocity
  2. Command
  3. Injury risk reduction

In most cases, their shortcomings on any of the above are attributable to the same general issues.

  1. Physical weakness which reduces the pitchers ability to produce force (GRF).
  2. Neuromuscular inefficiency which inhibits the sequence of delivery
  3. An existing injury.
  4. Lack of stamina which makes repeating a consistent delivery difficult.
  5. Flexibility limitations that reduce the time/distance to produce GRF
  6. Mental or emotional distress or management issues.
  7. Dietary and sleep management.

Once we have the key factors identified and have a plan of action in place, the mechanical work begins. In most cases we begin with a fundamental concept such as stride length. Contrary to popular belief, a longer stride is not always better. Optimal stride length is a function of many factors including the items we previously listed. We know we need the thrower to be in a position to produce a maximum amount of vertical force over the longest possible period of time, from landing to just before release.

Though precise identification takes scientific experimentation, a thrower with acute kinesthetic awareness can feel it through practice trial and error. Your stride length will be unique to you and will also vary based on the surface you are throwing from. Don’t lock yourself into the idea that you need to stride longer to throw harder. In many cases we find pitchers actually benefit from a shorter stride. Find your optimum stride from flat ground and then from a standard mound. From there you can determine the method to adjust when on a flat or steeper mound than usual.

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