Ok hope you guys have been keeping up with all the pitching posts up to this point. So far we've talked about pitching as a whole and how everything flows together. Now we will be heading into more specific parts of the pitching process that will build on previous post, and also debunk myths that hold no bearing in today's game.
The topic for today is arm slot. Correct and incorrect arm slots have been a discussion among pitching coaches for years. A great deal of emphasis is put on arm slots because of their perceived impact on arm health. The most traditional arm slot that coaches try to teach is the Overhand, 90 degree seen in the picture below. I'm going to tell you right now that it is impossible to have this arm slot.
The reason coaches believe this arm slot exists is because of the common belief that the arm slot is dependent on the angle of the elbow. At CSB™ we have studied and broken down pitching deliveries in slow motion to weed out myths like this one. We understand that the angle of the elbow is the same for every pitcher no matter what their arm slot is. The diagram below illustrates more realistic arm slots.
As I have stated, the angle of the elbow stays the same for all three of these arm slots seen in this diagram above. What changes is the shoulder tilt. The elbow will not be completely extended, but will come very close. This leaves the elbow, almost unnoticeably, below the shoulder. The common piece of advise to, "Keep your elbow above your shoulder" is actually an unhealthy and uncomfortable position to be in. Look at Jeff Suppan here with his shoulders slightly tilted and elbow just under his shoulder line.
Hideki Okajima is an example of a true 12 o'clock arm slot. His shoulders are notably tilted which creates an deceptive delivery. But don't let your eyes fool you, his elbow is still below his shoulder line. Looking at Pedro Martinez, you see how is shoulders are practically level which gives him a sidearm delivery. Just to prove the point, you could imagine all the pitchers at different arm slots by manipulating their shoulders line. The elbow angle is identical in all of these pitchers.
** CSB™ Side Note ** : This post's goal is to simply be informative. It would do no good to think after this, "Ok I need to keep my elbow below my shoulder". These are natural occurrences and should not cloud your thoughts when on the mound.
Next week I will talk about how to find your own arm slot, and how to do it in a healthy way.
We've been able to help a lot of people with their questions so keep them coming by sending them to CoreSavvyBaseball@yahoo.com