Saturday, October 31, 2015
Every parent and coach wants to teach pitchers how to pitch a baseball with good mechanics, high velocity and pin-point control. But learning how to pitch a baseball with great skill requires a high volume of practice.
One of the most important things is to first teach your son the mechanics of pitching so he is using his body to produce velocity…not just his arm.
Here are 3 important tips on how every pitcher can pitch a baseball with pin-point control and at the same time with improved velocity and less risk of injury.
Do Not Catch For Your Son – Use a Target Instead
There are a number of reasons for this.
If you catch for him, more than likely his total focus will be on hitting the target in order to please dad, rather than on hitting the target with his best fastball. Make sure that when you are teaching him how to pitch a baseball with good control that he is throwing his maximum effort fastballs, rather than throwing at 75-85% intensity.
If you pitch a baseball during a practice bullpen at less than game intensity, this has proven not to work to help game performance pitching.
That is why I like targets rather than having the father catch for his son. Plus, the father should be back at the mound offering feedback to his son after every 5 or 6 pitches because the father is smart enough to videotape rather than just eyeball as most instructors do. The pitching delivery is too complex to just eyeball.
Is Your Son’s Body Lined Up to The Target?
This is pretty obvious, however what we often see while doing Video Analysis is pitchers who make a big turn away from the target. Some even sweep their lead leg out and around and then might not land on the mid-line.
How can you expect a pitcher to pitch a baseball and hit the target when he turns away from it? How many pistol shooters do this? Not only does all the turning affect ball control but it reduces velocity too.
Have you ever watched a cricket bowler? These guys get to run up as far as they want before getting ready to land and release the ball. Cricket bowlers can also throw 90-100 mph with a stiff arm.
But one of their biomechanical principles which most fast bowlers follow is to get lined up directly to the target so that the front shoulder it pointed that way when the front foot lands. Makes sense. You will not see a cricket bowler turning into landing as many pitchers do when learning how to pitch a baseball.
One other thing related to having the body lined up. Make sure the pitcher lands on the midline. The midline is an imaginary line you draw from the middle of the back foot right toward the target.
You want a RH pitcher to land within 1-2 inches of that line toward first base. A LH pitcher should land within 1-2 inches on the third base side of the line….but never across the line.
Also make sure that the front foot is directed right at the target or angled slightly no more than 10-15 degrees.
Are You Throwing Enough Volume of Practice Pitches During Each Practice Bullpen?
How on earth do you expect a pitcher to hit the target consistently if he is not doing enough target practice? Pitchers will not have good control or velocity by throwing 25-30 pitches twice a week. That includes professionals.
Do you know that MLB pitchers miss their intended target by on average 12″ and the best still miss by 9’6″? Is that good control? No, it is not.
But why? Because even major league baseball doesn’t understand that pitching a baseball is a skill activity, not a strength activity. Coaches believe that pitchers should save their pitches for the game thus why they do not throw enough pitches during practice bullpens. Makes no sense at all.
If you follow those three tips on how to pitch a baseball with great control you will help any pitcher improve dramatically, plus pitching velocity will improve almost automatically.
If you would like to learn the mechanics of pitching along with exactly how to throw a bullpen with pinpoint control you can check out our instructional DVD’s.
Article Source: Pitching.com
Friday, October 30, 2015
Coach Rich explains how the front leg is connected to the front shoulder. By landing, or falling into a flexed front knee, this can help with keeping your front shoulder down and slightly in resulting in more torque and more bat speed and power.
See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Improving pitching mechanics so that needed adjustments stick is challenging. Many pitchers, although they want to make changes in their mechanics and have good intentions, find that the improvements they hoped to make do not stick. So they revert back to their old way.
This is very common and probably occurs more often than not for many good reasons. It’s the main reason why most pitchers do not improve during the off-season.
Many pitchers are not able to improve their pitching mechanics during the off-season because of the following reasons:
1. they are working on correcting the wrong mechanical fault
2. they work on too many aspects of pitching mechanics at a time
3. they do not do enough repetitions of the new way during each practice session
4. they don’t take enough time in between each new trial pitch so that the brain learns the new way
5. they do not use video feedback to see if the improvements are actually occurring
This article will address #4 in the above list and why not taking enough time in between each new trial pitch is one of the big reasons why changes to pitching mechanics don’t work.
This is also true for ball control.
I am sure you have seen many pitchers simply throw their practice bullpens in a “rapid fire” fashion throwing pitch after pitch without taking time in between. In fact if you watch most high school bullpens you will see that pitchers do not throw enough pitches to not only warm up properly but to prepare themselves for the first inning.
If enough pitches are not thrown with time taken in between each pitch then the pitcher will normally not have good ball control during the first part of the game. In fact, you may have seen this happen often. The pitcher just can’t seem to get through the first couple of innings before he is walking hitters or giving up too many hits and runs.
The problem is he just did not take enough time so that his brain was able to teach his body how to control the ball. The brain is in charge. Plus there is no such thing as muscle memory.
When we do a lot of repetitions with time taken in between each trial we are able to learn something. If there is little to no time taken in between trials, then learning does not occur.
This is true in the case of baseball as well as other sports.
Here’s How To Improve Pitching Mechanics A Proven Way Based On Real Research
Above I outlined 5 ways to improve pitching mechanics during the off-season so that the new changes would stick and become unconscious. All of those 5 aspects should be taken into consideration for improvement to occur in mechanics during the off-season.
Most pitchers, as well as many coaches and instructors in my experience, do not understand that because pitching is such a highly skilled action that many more practice repetitions are required than most think.
If enough practice repetitions are not performed then relearning a new aspect of mechanics will not likely occur. Thus the pitcher reverts back to his old way. His mechanics nor his pitching velocity improve. Many just get closer to an arm injury.
The same thinking goes into understanding that enough time must be taken in between pitches during practice trials in order for re-learning of the new way to occur.
Thus instead of throwing practice pitches one after the other, time should be taken in between each pitch. This time could be used to take a deep breath, look around, have some water and possibly think about the result that the pitcher wants to produce on the next practice pitch trial.
One thing we know about pitching is that one way to avoid fatigue during practice, which can deteriorate mechanics, is to take at least 20 seconds in between pitches so that the body can physically recover before throwing the next one. The muscles must have enough time to recharge.
Plus now that we know that by taking this additional time based on the study below, the pitcher creates two benefits – less fatigue and more learning.
The study below provides the evidence about this new way of learning.
BETWEEN TRIALS ACTIVITY
Magill, R., & Lee, T. D. (1984, October). Interference during the post-KR interval can enhance learning motor skills. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology, Kingston, ON.
Several conditions of post-trial activity were evaluated for effect upon performance. After a learning trial (the “post-knowledge-of-results” interval) Ss were involved in no activity, verbal activity, related motor activity, or unrelated motor activity.
Performance was affected by the type of post-trial activity. Performance was either maintained by some form of post-KR activity or superior to when there was no post-KR activity.
It was advocated that after a practice trial of a skill, a learner should engage in some activity (not yet determined if that activity should be related or unrelated to the skill) before the next repetition of the skill.
Implication. For effective learning to occur between repetitions of learning trials there has to be a minimum amount of time to allow feedback from a trial to produce a learning effect. That effect does not seem to be modified to any great extent if between-trials activity is related or unrelated to what is being learned. This means that it is possible to repeat trials too close together. Such rapidity does not allow the full learning effects from each repetition to occur.
For example, when practicing basketball free throws, after each shot there should be some non-shooting activity (e.g., put the ball down, walk around the circle, recommence the pre-shot routine) before commencing the physical movement in the next trial.
There obviously is too short of a period and too long of a period that can occur between trials where learning is intended.
As a further example, when tennis players practice from behind a baseline and stroke at a rate of approximately one every two seconds, it is unlikely that effective learning will occur, that is shot accuracy and technique will not be improved. In that form of practice not only is one type of shot not developed because there are usually a variety of strokes played, but the lack of feedback utilization most probably will result in the player developing more consistency in performing both the good and bad strokes practiced rather than improving in any one class of stroke.
It is possible to practice repetitions at too fast a rate to the extent that feedback from one practice trial cannot be used to influence the performance of the next trial. Without that utilization learning will not occur optimally.
So it is important to make changes in pitching mechanics during the off-season to improve pitching velocity, ball control while also reducing the risk of arm injuries.
The key to making permanent changes that stick is to first of all find the correct mechanical fault, to do enough repetitions of the new way while enough taking time in between pitches do that new learning occurs. Plus coaches should be videotaping so that the pitcher gains valuable feedback on whether he is actually improving or not.
Article Source: Pitching.com
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Coach Rich with The Baseball Barn goes over stride direction and where to land with your front foot.
See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com
Monday, October 19, 2015
Sundays 12 Noon to 2PM
Come in and get a great hitting workout with our staff throwing soft toss in our hitting tunnels. A great way to get swings in for a very low cost!
Open Hitting is limited to 30 people per day. Cost $10 per session.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Rich goes over a great exercise to strengthen your back toe and leg for your baseball swing.
See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
By By Jim Ronai MS, PT, ATC, CSCS Member, USA Baseball Medical/Safety Advisory Committee / August 11, 2009
The institution of the pitch count in youth baseball represents a positive step towards ensuring that the game of baseball is safer both in the present and future careers of young pitchers.
As an adjunct to this new pitch count regulation and in an attempt to protect the health and safety of youth baseball pitchers, the following post-performance suggestions are offered. Since most youth baseball pitchers are typically removed from the mound, but not necessarily from the game, these suggestions are intended for post-game or for a time when the pitcher is considered done for the day.
1. Children learn most effectively with a consistent routine. All athletes need to have a routine that they perform both pre- and post-game. The routine should be monitored and consistent. Athletes need to know that the routine needs to be completed correctly before they will be permitted to participate in subsequent game or practice play.
2. Perform a “cool down activity.” Have pitchers jog for four to six minutes, to the point when they start to sweat. This increases general blood flow throughout the body and prepares the body for a post-performance flexibility routine. Increasing blood flow allows the body to circulate oxygenated blood to fatigued muscles. Oxygenated blood helps soft tissues recover and heal following activity.
Here is the entire article:
Coach Mills Comments:
This is a pretty good article with some good advice for the most part except for the #6 essential which says…
6. Having a cooler of ice available in the dugout is an important part of optimizing a pitcher’s recovery. Keep a few bags of ice available for pitchers to apply to their shoulders and elbows following a pitching outing. Never apply ice directly to the skin or for more than 12-15 minutes. Also be aware of the Ulnar nerve found in the area of the “funny bone,” and be sure not to apply ice directly over it.
The author, who has credentials needs to look at the research on icing. There is no research that supports icing. It is counterproductive and should not be used after pitching or should not be used for injuries in general. See my article and the research on icing.
3. Spend five minutes on a post-game, “static flexibility program.” Incorporate movements for the forearms, shoulders as well as the torso and lower body.
For those interested in a pre-pitching warm-up and post-pitching recovery routine, here is one we recommend. Watch the video for more information.
Article Source: Pitching.com
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Coach Rich goes over how to implement drills to improve your swing. See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Today's bats are made from aluminum or composite.
There are several different grades of aluminum. Lower price point bats are made with lower grade aluminum and are great for beginning players or recreational players.
If you're playing at a more competitive level, you're probably going to want a bat made with a high performance alloy. A high performance alloy will allow the bat to have a longer barrel, a bigger drop weight and lower MOI (or faster swing speed).
Bats made from Composite materials are usually the best performing. Composite materials are usually lighter than aluminum and can be engineered to maximize both barrel length (sweet spot), and the swing weight.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Rich demonstrates using a tee during a great drill to help improve a more compact baseball/fastpitch swing. See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com